CHILE: Tier 1
Chile is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Chilean women and children are exploited in sex trafficking within the country, as are women and girls from other Latin American countries and possibly from Asia. Men, women, and children—primarily from other Latin American countries, as well as Asia—are exploited in forced labor in mining, agriculture, construction, street vending, the hospitality and restaurant sectors, the garment sector, and in domestic service. Authorities report that Chinese immigrants may also be vulnerable to both sex trafficking and forced labor. Chilean authorities identified 90 children involved in illicit activities in 2014, including drug trafficking and robbery; some of these children may have been trafficking victims. Chilean officials report that Chile is a transit country for trafficking victims from other countries, including possibly to Europe, and that some Chilean women may be exploited in sex trafficking in other countries. NGOs report brothels in small towns are often frequented by police officers, dissuading potential trafficking victims from reporting their exploitation.
The Government of Chile fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Authorities increased convictions of sex traffickers under child prostitution statutes and continued to provide specialized services to child sex trafficking victims and adult female victims. The government established six new regional anti-trafficking taskforces in 2014. While authorities increased training for a range of front-line responders, many government officials lacked adequate expertise and resources to identify victims and refer them to or provide specialized services. Authorities did not prosecute internal child sex trafficking as human trafficking, which hindered efforts to penalize traffickers with sufficiently stringent sentences and accurately assess anti-trafficking efforts, and most convicted traffickers were not imprisoned.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHILE:
Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute all forms of human trafficking under Law 20507 and convict and penalize traffickers with sufficiently stringent sentences, ordering victim restitution as appropriate; expand victims’ access to comprehensive services through increased referrals to and funding for these services, in partnership with civil society; increase training for front-line responders in victim identification and implementation of the victim assistance protocol; continue to increase the use of the anti-trafficking law, including to prosecute child sex trafficking; implement mechanisms requiring that cases of third-party prostitution of children be referred to specialized anti-trafficking police and prosecutors and issue guidance to law enforcement and justice officials clarifying that third-party prostitution of children is trafficking; continue to strengthen law enforcement’s capability to investigate trafficking cases outside the capital, especially involving potential forced labor and domestic servitude; develop guidelines for officials to screen children involved in illicit activities for trafficking indicators; continue to improve data collection; and continue to enhance interagency coordination mechanisms and communication with NGOs.
The government strengthened anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Law 20507 prohibits all forms of human trafficking, prescribing penalties ranging from five years and a day to 15 years’ imprisonment, plus fines, for trafficking offenses. Such penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Chilean officials continued to investigate and prosecute many internal child sex trafficking cases under Article 367 of the penal code, which penalizes promoting or facilitating the prostitution of minors. Penalties for this crime range from three to five years’ imprisonment, sentences which are less than the sanctions imposed for rape, and in practice are often commuted to parole or suspended sentences.
Anti-trafficking police units opened investigations of 14 new sex trafficking and two new labor trafficking cases in 2014. Chilean prosecutors commenced 118 trafficking prosecutions in 2014; 115 involved the facilitation of the prostitution of children, while only three cases, which involved the trafficking of adults, relied on the anti-trafficking law. This represented an increase from 71 prosecutions initiated for prostitution of children in 2013 but a significant decrease in other trafficking prosecutions, as authorities had opened 18 prosecutions under the anti-trafficking law in 2013. The government convicted five traffickers for international sex trafficking under Law 20507 in 2014 and handed down 22 convictions for an unknown number of traffickers under Article 367. None of the five traffickers convicted under the anti-trafficking law were incarcerated; most received suspended sentences and fines, while one was sentenced to 600 nights in prison. Sentences for traffickers convicted under Article 367 range from 300 days to four years’ imprisonment, although most convicted traffickers were released on parole or given suspended sentences. In comparison, in 2013 authorities convicted seven sex traffickers and two labor traffickers using anti-trafficking statutes and three traffickers under Article 367. Authorities investigated a former deputy police chief for involvement in the commercial sexual exploitation of children while in office. The government did not report any prosecutions or convictions of officials complicit in human trafficking offenses. Authorities maintained mandatory anti-trafficking training in the police academy for all new detectives and published a best practices guide on anti-trafficking investigations. The government provided specialized training on trafficking to 400 government officials in 2014, including law enforcement, prosecutors, justice officials, social workers, and labor inspectors, often in partnership with NGOs and international organizations. Authorities maintained a trafficking and smuggling investigative police unit in Santiago and established a new unit in Iquique to cover cases in northern Chile. Law enforcement reported that lack of qualified interpreters hampered some trafficking investigations with foreign victims. The public prosecutor’s office maintained an internal trafficking working group.
Authorities maintained victim protection efforts. Prosecutors identified 16 potential trafficking victims during the year, a significant decrease from 164 identified in 2013. Of these victims, two were labor trafficking victims while 14 were exploited in sex trafficking. Most child sex trafficking victims were not identified as such, and the National Service for Minors (SENAME) identified and assisted 1,290 children in commercial sexual exploitation in 2014. Authorities employed an interagency victim assistance protocol, which established guidelines and responsibilities for government agencies in trafficking victim care, but law enforcement officials lacked guidelines for dealing with potential trafficking victims detained or placed in protective custody for alleged criminal acts, such as children involved in illicit activities. While the government conducted increased training for front-line responders on victim identification, including for public health officials and social workers, NGOs reported many government officials responsible for identifying and assisting victims had limited expertise to identify trafficking victims, particularly for labor trafficking.
Provision of victim services remained uneven across the country. All of the 16 potential victims reported by prosecutors received direct assistance from the public prosecutor’s office or NGOs, and the public prosecutor’s office provided 1.39 million Chilean pesos ($2,290) for trafficking victims’ care, including lodging, in 2014. Almost all NGOs assisting trafficking victims received some government funding, but all reported funding for these services was inadequate to provide all necessary services, especially to fund shelter operation. The government provided 85 million Chilean pesos ($140,000) to fund an NGO-operated shelter for women victims of trafficking, smuggled women, and their children. The shelter housed six foreign victims in 2014, including one labor trafficking victim, and facilitated health, migration, and employment services. SENAME provided services to child victims of sex trafficking through its national network of 17 NGO-operated programs for children subjected to commercial sexual exploitation—including boys—which received 1.54 billion Chilean pesos ($2.54 million) in 2014. SENAME also funded one residential shelter exclusively for child victims of commercial sexual exploitation which housed 30 children in 2014. Authorities provided some trafficking victims with legal assistance in 2014, though NGOs reported most legal services are provided by civil society. Specialized assistance for male victims was limited. Reintegration services such as education and job placement remained lacking, and officials reported that access to quality mental health services was expensive and limited. Foreign victims were eligible for temporary residency visas with the right to work for a minimum six-month period, and four victims received this residency in 2014. In response to the extensive wait time for temporary visas in 2013, authorities streamlined the application process in the capital region; immigration officials required prosecutors to pay for victims’ visa fees, stretching limited assistance funds. The law also establishes foreign victims’ rights to take steps toward regularizing their legal status in Chile. The government did not report granting restitution to any victims through civil or criminal cases in 2014. There were no reports the government penalized trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking.
The government maintained prevention efforts. The Ministry of Interior continued to lead the anti-trafficking interagency taskforce—which included government agencies as well as international organizations and local NGOs—with three sub-commissions. The taskforce implemented the existing national anti-trafficking action plan and published trafficking statistics for the first time. Authorities established six regional anti-trafficking taskforces in 2014. The government conducted some awareness efforts, including prevention campaigns focused on commercial sexual exploitation of children. Authorities provided anti-trafficking training to Chilean troops prior to their deployment abroad for international peacekeeping missions. The government took actions to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts involving children by prosecuting individuals who purchased sex from prostituted children, but did not report efforts targeting the demand for forced labor. The government provided anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic personnel.