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05GUATEMALA545 2005-03-01 22:18:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Guatemala
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 GUATEMALA 000545 



E.O. 12958: N/A


B. 04 STATE 274736

C. 04 STATE 154857

D. 04 STATE 273089

1. Summary: The Government of Guatemala (GOG) achieved
remarkable success in its efforts to combat trafficking in
persons (TIP) during the reporting period, particularly in
the development of new legal instruments to criminalize TIP
activities. We note that Guatemala has achieved or made
significant progress on every point of the 2004 Tier 2 Watch
List Action Plan. For this reason, we recommend that
Guatemala be removed from the Tier 2 Watch List and we also
nominate two of Guatemala's chief anti-TIP activists as
"heroes" in the fight against TIP. We also recommend
Guatemala's establishment and use of an Inter-Institutional
Working Group on TIP as a "best practice." End summary.

Success in fighting TIP


2. The Government of Guatemala (GOG) achieved remarkable
success in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons (TIP)
during the reporting period, particularly in the development
of new legal instruments to criminalize TIP activities, as
reported ref (A). We were pleased with the positive tone of
Guatemala's interim report provided ref (B) and note in this
submission that Guatemala has achieved or made significant
progress on every point of the 2004 Tier 2 Watch List Action
Plan, provided in ref (C). For this reason, we recommend
that Guatemala be removed from the Tier 2 Watch List.

3. As requested in the Action Plan, the Government of
Guatemala has:

-- increased investigations, arrests, and prosecutions of

-- achieved Congressional passage of penal code reforms to
stiffen anti-TIP penalties,

-- continued to work with Casa Alianza to identify centers of
underage prostitution and conducted raids of those locations,

-- prosecuted traffickers arrested in 2004,

-- named an official to keep track of prosecutions,

-- issued a request for bids to rehabilitate the TIP shelter
in Coatepeque,

-- taken steps to identify and rescue trafficking victims,

-- sought data on numbers of foreign women in Guatemala
engaged in the commercial sex industry,

-- had senior government officials speak out on trafficking,

-- carried out public awareness programs by the Secretariat
for Social Communication and Immigration Service,

-- continued to train police and immigration officials on TIP,

-- shown progress in reducing TIP-related corruption,

-- implemented the TIP Memorandum of Understanding with the
Government of Mexico, and

-- engaged other regional governments in discussions on
anti-TIP activities.

4. As requested ref (D), we have designated Labor Officer
Troy Fitrell as the point of contact for TIP issues;
telephone (502) 2326-4635, fax (502) 2334-8474. An FS-02, he
spent approximately 20 hours in the production of the 2004
TIP report. An FS-04 political officer also spent
approximately 10 hours in the production of the 2004 TIP
report. The data provided below are keyed to the questions
in paras 18-23 of ref (D).

5. Overview

A. Guatemala is a country of origin, transit, and destination
for international trafficking victims. According to one NGO
study, there are 600-700 minors in centers of prostitution
across the country, but reliable statistics do not exist on
other forms of trafficking. For example, there were reports
(but no reliable estimates) of forced labor trafficking
mainly involving children used in begging rings in Guatemala

B. Foreign trafficking victims in Guatemala are predominant
from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Outside of
Guatemala, Guatemalans primarily fall victim to trafficking
in Mexico.

C. There have been no great changes in direction or extent of
trafficking. The increase in trafficking cases in the
judicial system is a result of greater attention and effort
by Guatemalan authorities.

D. The Government of Guatemala (GOG) has requested USG
support to conduct such a survey, as have several NGOs,
including Catholic Relief Services. No such survey, however,
has been undertaken. Casa Alianza actively surveys suspected
centers of prostitution around the country to provide
guidance to the PNC for subsequent raids.

E. The majority of trafficking victims are forced to work in
the commercial sex industry. Violence, threats, withholding
documents, and debt bondage are all common methods used by

F. Poor, young, unemployed or underemployed women and girls
are the primary targets for traffickers. Job offers in the
larger cities or in foreign countries are provided as
inducements, although many victims were already migrating and
were ensnared by traffickers during their journeys, often at
border crossings. Migrants who failed to cross the border
into Mexico often remained in the country and resorted to or
were forced into prostitution. Many women and children were
brought into the country from El Salvador, Nicaragua, and
Honduras by organized rings that forced them into
prostitution. Brothel owners often were responsible for
transporting and employing victims of trafficking.
Traffickers of persons frequently had links to other
organized crime, including drug trafficking and smuggling of
migrants and contraband.

G. The GOG has demonstrated exceptional political will to
fight trafficking in persons, demonstrated by the regular
statements of President Berger, Vice President Stein, and
several cabinet ministers. The GOG's good faith efforts have
directly addressed the protection of victims, the prosecution
of traffickers, the development of new legal initiatives, and
greater intra-governmental and inter-governmental cooperation
to fight TIP. In terms of prevention, the Ministry of
Government has signed an agreement with an internationally
recognized NGO to provide anti-TIP training to its
immigration authorities and police force. In terms of
protection, the Secretariat for Social Welfare operates a
shelter for victims, coordinates with several privately-run
shelters, and is rehabilitating a large shelter near the
Mexican border to care for underage victims. In terms of
prosecution, the Attorney General's Office and the National
Civilian Police (PNC) have established dedicated units to
investigate and prosecute trafficking cases. The Guatemalan
Congress passed a new anti-TIP law designed to give the PNC
and the Attorney General's Office greater prosecutorial tools
with enhanced punitive sanctions.

H. There were credible reports of police and immigration
service involvement and complicity in TIP. A 2002 ECPAT
study included reports that immigration officials took bribes
from traffickers, gave the victims fake identification
papers, and allowed them to cross borders. There were
credible reports that brothel owners allowed police and
immigration officials to have sex with victims without
charge. The PNC's Office of Professional Responsibility
(ORP) arrested a police officer who co-owned three brothels.
Underage prostitutes were found at all three. The GOG is
committed to investigating and prosecuting all forms of
corruption or malfeasance in public service agencies.

I. Limitations on the government's ability to address TIP
involve the lack of resources to fund shelters,
rehabilitation efforts, and investigation and prosecutorial
teams. In a larger sense, the lack of common understanding
of the nature of TIP affects the ability of the GOG to act.
Corruption is a problem at the lower levels of police and
immigration services.

J. The PNC, Attorney General's Office, and the Secretariat
for Social Welfare all issue annual reports on their

K. Prostitution is not criminalized for those over the age of
18, although pandering, pimping, inducement to prostitution,
and otherwise promoting prostitution is illegal.

6. Prevention

A. At the highest levels, the GOG recognizes the seriousness
of TIP.

B. The PNC, Immigration Service, Secretariat for Social
Welfare, Attorney General's Office, and the Ministries of
Government, Foreign Relations, Education, and Health are all
involved in direct anti-trafficking efforts.

C. The Secretariat for Social Welfare provided educational
materials on child sexual exploitation to the public primary
and secondary school system. The Secretariat for Social
Communication publicized anti-TIP materials in high-impact
areas. The Immigration Service also launched a campaign at
all border crossings to educate the public on the risks of

D. The GOG actively supports programs designed to increase
women's participation in economic decision-making and to keep
children in school. In addition to its national programs,
the GOG actively encourages ILO/IPEC, USAID, and other donors
to assist in these issues as well.

E. A lack of resources hampers the GOG's prevention programs.
For this reason the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has
the inter-institutional lead on TIP for the GOG, requested
USG support for a broad public awareness and prevention

F. The GOG has an excellent working relationship with NGOs
active in the fight against TIP. The GOG's
Inter-Institutional Working Group welcomes participation by
NGOs, IOs, and the donor community in the development of
coordinated anti-TIP activities. Furthermore, the PNC and
Casa Alianza work closely together to develop intelligence on
locations of TIP victims in order to undertake raids to
rescue them. Following the raids, minor victims are usually
taken to Casa Alianza for counseling and other social
services. The PNC and Casa Alianza also worked together to
establish a missing children database and website. Also, the
NGO End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and
Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) provided
anti-TIP training to GOG institutions, including the PNC.

G. Guatemala's border with Mexico is long and, for much of
its length, extremely rural. For this reason, monitoring the
border for all kinds of criminal activity is extremely

H. The GOG's Inter-Institutional Working Group on TIP was
broad-based, met regularly, and played a critical role in the
development of anti-TIP strategy. The Inter-Institutional
Working Group on TIP is chaired by the Vice Minister for
Foreign Relations and includes the Ministries of Foreign
Relations, Government (Interior), Labor, Health, and
Education; the Presidential Secretariats for Social Welfare,
Women, and Social Communication; the Attorney General's
Office; the Presidential Commission on Human Rights; the
Judiciary; and Congress. While no official task force on
corruption exists, there is a Presidential Commissioner for
Transparency who coordinates anti-corruption activities
throughout the GOG. Within the PNC, the Office of
Professional Responsibility actively investigates and
punishes wrong-doing by police officers, and some of these
cases lead to criminal charges.

I. The GOG participates in all multinational fora regarding
TIP. In addition, the GOG has engaged in extensive bilateral
efforts. The GOG negotiated and implemented a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Mexico to
coordinate the fight against TIP, which entered into force on
February 22, 2005. The two governments also developed an MOU
on repatriation to improve the treatment of victims of
trafficking in the repatriation process. The GOG also has
repatriation agreements for minor victims of trafficking with
El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica.

J. The GOG's national action plan included the successful
establishment of the special police and prosecution units to
combat TIP and established the Inter-Institutional Working
Group on TIP to coordinate GOG action. The working group is
currently updating the national action plan to achieve new

K. The Chairperson of the Inter-Institutional Working Group
on TIP is Vice Minister of Foreign Relations Marta
Altolaguirre. Her office has the lead on GOG coordination
and also on a public relations program designed to increase
public awareness and understanding of the dangers of TIP.
While individual GOG agencies plan their own activities, all
anti-TIP activity is coordinated through the Ministry of
Foreign Relations.

7. Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers

A. Guatemala recently enacted strong new legislation to
criminalize all forms of TIP and earnings from TIP. The new
language amended Article 194 of the Penal Code to state that
"Whoever obliges, promotes, induces, facilitates, finances,
collaborates, or participates in the transport, transfer,
acceptance, or reception of people, obtaining an economic
gain, commits the crime of trafficking in persons and must
serve prison time." This language greatly strengthens
Guatemala's Penal Code in regard to TIP issues. The previous
language only considered the limited aspect of women crossing
national borders for the purposes of prostitution. The
revision not only expands the definition of who would be
guilty of trafficking, but also removes the limitation that
only women can be victims and that prosecutors must prove
that the intent of the trafficking was for the purpose of
prostitution. Traffickers can also be prosecuted under laws
prohibiting pandering, sexual procurement, and inducement to
prostitution, as well as fraud and other criminal financial
activity. All of these laws are being used to combat TIP.
While other legal proposals to combat TIP are still under
consideration by the working group, the legal framework to
cover the full scope of TIP is in place.

B. In addition to broadening the definition of TIP, the new
law strengthened the punishments available to judges upon
sentencing. The new law establishes prison sentences of
between seven and twelve years for those found guilty of
trafficking, up from the previous range of one to three
years. Moreover, punishments under the new law are
automatically increased by one third if the victim is a minor
and by two thirds if the victims suffer physical harm. The
new legislation does not include differences between sexual
and labor exploitation as part of trafficking. The penalties
are the same.

C. The Penal Code requires sentences between six and 50 years
for rape convictions. The Penal Code does not define sexual

D. The Attorney General's Office opened 40 cases specifically
linked to TIP and achieved six convictions, with fines
ranging from USD 375 to 800 (3000-6000 Quetzales). These
cases were prosecuted under the previous legal regime, and so
the convictions were for the lesser offenses of pandering and
sexual abuse of minors. No jail time was assessed for these

E. There has been no systemic study; however, most observers
believe that brothel owners often were responsible for
transporting and employing victims of trafficking.
Traffickers of persons frequently had links to other
organized crime, including drug trafficking and smuggling of
migrants and contraband. Small crime groups and larger
organized crime syndicates are behind much of the trafficking.

F. The GOG actively investigated trafficking. The PNC's
Special Unit on TIP conducted 114 bar raids during the
reporting period, resulting in 43 arrests. Many
investigative -- such as wiretap authority -- are not legally
available to Guatemalan law enforcement agencies, although
undercover operations are allowed and are used.

G. The GOG has an agreement with ECPAT to provide a
train-the-trainer program to the police academy and to the
immigration authorities. The GOG also developed with the
International Organization for Migration an anti-TIP training
program for public servants.

H. The MOUs with Mexico are designed to allow for cooperative
investigations, but TIP cases with Mexico generally reflect
cases of Guatemalans resident within Mexico's borders.

I. The GOG has neither received nor submitted an extradition
request directly related to TIP, but there is no legal
prohibition to extradition of Guatemalan nationals.

J. There is no evidence of GOG involvement in TIP. At lower
levels, charges have been made against individual police
officers, which have been thoroughly investigated.

K. The GOG is currently prosecuting a police officer who
co-owned three brothels where minor victims of trafficking
were found.

L. Guatemala has no identified child sex tourism problem.
The Guatemalan penal code has no extraterritorial coverage.

M. Guatemala has ratified ILO Conventions 29, 105, and 182,
as well as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the
Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child
prostitution, and child pornography. Guatemala has also
signed and acceded to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and
Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children,
supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational
Organized Crime.

8. Protection and Assistance to Victims

A. The GOG does assist victims by providing shelter and
access to legal, medical, job training, and counseling
services, but the availability of these services was
inadequate. Adult trafficking victims are generally
deported, although they are not treated as criminals. In
2004, the Secretariat for Social Welfare provided assistance
to 275 minors were living on the street, sexually exploited,
or otherwise abused.

B. NGOs provide extensive services to TIP victims, but these
activities are funded through the NGOs' own sources.

C. Minor victims are generally referred to Casa Alianza and
other NGOs, for care, protective custody, and job training
when encountered by law enforcement agencies. Victims
repatriated from Mexico to Guatemala are referred to the
Secretariat for Social Welfare's shelter in Quetzaltenango.


D. Victims are generally not treated as criminals and are not
jailed, detained, or prosecuted. Adult victims from other
countries are, however, frequently deported.

E. Victims are encouraged to provide testimony, but civil
cases are nonexistent. There is no victim restitution

F. The GOG operates a shelter for TIP victims in
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's second-largest city which is
located relatively close to the Mexican border. The GOG is
rehabilitating another shelter located much closer to the
main border-crossing points to Mexico. This new shelter in
Coatepeque is intended for minor victims. The GOG budget
provides USD 167,000 (1.3 million Quetzales) for this purpose
in 2005 and the USG has also allocated an additional USD
80,000 to equip the facility. The project is, therefore,
fully funded.

G. The GOG, through an agreement with ECPAT, provided
specialized anti-TIP training to GOG officials. The GOG also
encouraged its embassies and consulates to engage NGOs and
host governments on the issue. The GOG developed an anti-TIP
training program in cooperation with the International
Organization for Migration for embassy and consulate staffs.

H. The GOG provides shelter to its repatriated nationals at
the shelter described above in Quetzaltenango.

I. Casa Alianza, Casa del Migrante, and Casa de la Mujer all
provide direct shelter, counseling, and services to
trafficking victims. With support from USAID, the Oblate
Sisters run a shelter and vocational training center for
victims and women at risk of being trafficked on the border
with Mexico. This effort will be a model for other programs
in Guatemala and other parts of Central America. ILO/IPEC,
UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, and ECPAT, amongst others,
provide financing and counsel to such efforts and run
programs to minimize the occurrence of TIP and to mitigate
its effects.

9. Heroes: We are pleased to nominate two Heroes for their
anti-trafficking activities.

A. Vice Minister for Foreign Relations Marta Altolaguirre has
been a driving force in Guatemala regarding all aspects of
anti-TIP activity. She conceived the idea of an
Inter-Institutional Working Group on TIP and successfully
sold the idea to the President. She then used this political
support to ensure that participation was at a high level and
included NGOs and interested diplomatic and donor missions.
She chaired the working group and developed a national action
plan, including the revision of Guatemalan law to aid justice
agencies to investigate and prosecute cases. Altolaguirre
brought her long and distinguished career in human rights to
bear on the formulation of Guatemala's anti-TIP policies,
ensuring that TIP was addressed in all its facets, not just
as a law enforcement problem. Under her direction, the
working group developed two legislative reforms: the first
very specifically criminalized TIP and its related activities
to give the justice system important prosecutorial tools
while the second more broadly addressed all forms of social
abuse. The Vice Minister recognized that the two projects
were not mutually exclusive and ensured that the working
group supported them both. The Vice Minister also used her
position to develop international cooperation on the subject,
including the MOU with the Government of Mexico and extended
consultations with USG agencies.

B. Casa Alianza Director Arturo Echevarria directly aided
trafficking victims more than any other person. Echevarria
enacted a nation-wide survey of commercial sex establishments
to develop intelligence regarding the location of TIP
victims. Police authorities told us that they consider this
survey the most reliable source of information in Guatemala
regarding TIP and that it is the basis for their raids.
Echevarria usually accompanied the PNC on these raids because
the PNC refer all trafficking victims to Casa Alianza for
treatment. Echevarria was also an enthusiastic participant
in the inter-agency working group on TIP and his expertise in
both social support and law enforcement activity was the
foundation for the new legal initiatives to combat

10. Best Practices

We strongly recommend the development of an
Inter-Institutional Working Group as a "Best Practice" to
combat TIP. The process followed by the GOG to establish
such a working group is an excellent example for other
nations. First, the GOG designated a lead agency and, more
importantly, a lead individual with the experience and
knowledge to handle the subject, plus the managerial capacity
to accommodate competing agendas. Then, the national
executive ensured that all relevant agencies would
participate at a senior level, thus ensuring that decisions
reached in the working group could be implemented. Finally,
the working group encouraged the participation of NGOs, IOs,
and diplomatic and donor missions, in order to take advantage
of their respective skill sets. Once this working group was
established, it met regularly to focus on very specific
goals. In this way, action plans and draft legislation were
developed effectively and in a manner of consensus.