US embassy cable - 05ASUNCION6


Identifier: 05ASUNCION6
Wikileaks: View 05ASUNCION6 at
Origin: Embassy Asuncion
Created: 2005-01-04 08:33:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

E.O. 12958: N/A 
1. Summary:  On December 6, 7, and 8, G/TIP Senior Reporting 
Officer Linda Brown visited Paraguay as part of a 
four-country tour of South America.  In meetings with Embassy 
officers, GOP officials, and representatives of NGOs, Brown 
discussed Paraguay's progress in combating trafficking in 
persons since the most recent TIP Report, which classified 
Paraguay as a "Tier 2 Watch List" country.   The two dominant 
themes of discussion were Paraguayan efforts to prosecute 
traffickers and the development of services for trafficking 
victims repatriated to Paraguay.  During the visit, 
interlocutors stressed the high profile that TIP has assumed 
among GOP officers over the past 18 months, but also 
acknowledged the deficiencies in Paraguay's anti-TIP efforts 
that the GOP must continue to remedy.  End summary. 
2. Brown had a number of meetings with various officials and 
NGOs, raising a number of issues in Paraguay's efforts to 
combat TIP. 
3. Ambassador Keane 
--The Ambassador reviewed Post's engagement of the GOP on 
TIP, focusing upon efforts to encourage the Attorney 
General's office, the Supreme Court, and the Foreign Ministry 
to supply data on arrests and prosecutions and urge 
prosecutors to be more aggressive on TIP cases. 
--The Ambassador also described Post's $155,000 bilateral 
project with the Secretariat for Women and the Secretariat 
for Children and Adolescents, focusing upon its prospects for 
improving the quality of services available to rescued 
trafficking victims. 
--Brown explained the purpose of her regional visit to 
Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru, noting that she sought 
to review the progress that these Tier 2 countries have made 
since the publication of the 2004 TIP Report.  She agreed on 
the centrality of encouraging prosecutions of traffickers, 
and pointed out that G/TIP plans to become more aggressive in 
engaging countries on law enforcement. 
4. USAID Mission Deputy Director Sergio Guzman, Democracy 
Team Leader Steve Marma, Developmental Assistance Specialist 
for Maternal Health Josceline Betancourt 
--Guzman and Betancourt work with health programs in 
Paraguay, and noted that TIP has health implications in 
Paraguay, ranging from early pregnancy to sexually 
transmitted diseases (including HIV/AIDS) and mental 
disorders.  Brown discussed the link between prostitution and 
sex trafficking, observing that legalized prostitution 
increases the number of women trafficked into sex slavery, 
and leads to the spread of these health problems. 
--Marma described NGO activities in Paraguay, pointing out 
that NGOs, and civil society generally, have not always been 
successful in working with the GOP, which views them more as 
competitors than as partners. 
5. Foreign Ministry Director of International Organizations 
Julio Peralta 
--Peralta described the interministerial working group on 
TIP, which he chairs.  He discussed the state of the GOP's 
national action plan on trafficking, which it presented in 
early 2004.  He reviewed the visit of Juan Miguel Petit, the 
UN's special rapporteur on child sex abuse. 
--Peralta was the only GOP official to ask directly about 
Paraguay's prospective tier placement on the next annual 
report.  Brown indicated that tier placements will not be 
contemplated until well into 2005, and that her trip was only 
a preliminary effort at gathering information for the next 
TIP Report. 
--He also discussed the Interamerican Development Bank's 
trafficking project with the GOP, which focuses upon studies 
to determine the extent of TIP here and the most common 
routes used by traffickers. 
6. Minister for Women Maria Jose Argana 
--The Minister discussed Post's bilateral TIP project and the 
timetable the Secretariats for Women and Children and 
Adolescents developed. 
--She noted her working relationship with Phillip Linderman 
(a former G/TIP reporting officer for South America now 
detailed to the OAS, where he is organizing an 
anti-trafficking program), and noted that she would be 
visiting Washington during the first half of 2005 and hoped 
to meet with G/TIP officials while there. 
7. Minister for Children and Adolescents Mercedes Britez de 
--The Minister described efforts to combat the trafficking in 
children, pointing to participation in Embassy Montevideo's 
regional project, participation in the Embassy's bilateral 
project, and efforts to criminalize child pornography. 
--She hinted at the continued tug of war with Women's 
Ministry over leadership of anti-TIP initiatives within the 
GOP, contradicting Minister Argana by claiming that most 
Paraguayan trafficking victims are younger than 18. 
-- She spoke of the need to prosecute traffickers but 
conceded, based upon her own experiences as a prosecutor and 
judge, that it is not career enhancing in the judicial system 
to focus on trafficking or children's issues. 
8. International Programs Coordinator of the Secretariat for 
Repatriations Luz Gamelia Ibarra 
--The meeting was principally a general discussion of the 
history of the Secretariat for Repatriations and the 
challenges of repatriating Paraguayan women trafficked 
overseas.  Gamilia discussed GOP efforts to cooperate with 
Spain and Argentina in specific 2004 cases, such as the women 
trafficked from Villarica to Spain, and two minor girls from 
Coronel Oviedo rescued from forced prostitution in Cordoba, 
Argentina.  She discussed plans to create an "attention 
center" to serve trafficking victims seeking reintegration 
into Paraguay society. 
--Gamelia described the Secretariat's cooperation with local 
bus companies especially La Encarnacena in securing free 
transportation of TIP victims from Argentina back to Paraguay. 
--Gamelia noted the Secretariat's difficulty in repatriating 
victims from Spain because of the cost. 
9. Attorney General Oscar Latorre and Prosecutor Teresa 
--Latorre offered general remarks about the importance of 
stopping trafficking, but was not positive about prospects 
for the creation of a specialized unit of anti-trafficking 
--Martinez described the history of TIP prosecutions in 
Paraguay, observing that the issue was unknown just 18 months 
ago, and is now an important focus in the Ministerio Publico. 
 She mentioned several ongoing cases, including the GOP's 
efforts to prosecute traffickers in the Villarica (which has 
since resulted in two convictions and prison sentences) and 
Coronel Oviedo cases. 
--Brown explained the origins of the USG's interest in 
obtaining data on prosecutions.  Martinez noted that she is 
working on the project in the Attorney General's Office.  The 
task has been difficult because there is no central 
repository for the data.  Instead data must be obtained from 
individual prosecutors.  Martinez described the difficulties 
in getting victims to cooperate, and the Attorney General's 
lack of legal authority to investigate independently. 
10. Independent Women's Rights Activist and Consultant Andrea 
--The discussion primarily dealt with Paraguayan culture and 
the ways in which it complicates both government and NGO 
efforts to fight trafficking.  In the eyes of many here, 
prostitution is not a bad thing in and of itself.  Given the 
levels of stark poverty in the country, many feel that 
prostitution is a legitimate way to earn a living.  Many 
families, she said, knowingly sell their own daughters into 
prostitution abroad in the hope that the girls will send 
money home. 
--The legal culture in Paraguay complicates efforts to stop 
trafficking.  She described the Penal Code and the entire 
judicial system as lenient, with laws prescribing mild 
penalties for crimes such as trafficking.  The authorities 
are unable to stop traffickers from threatening victims who 
file complaints with prosecutors. 
11. Comment:  Paraguay needs to place emphasis upon law 
enforcement and prosecutions of traffickers.  As Brown noted, 
other countries have arrested the owners of brothels to which 
Paraguayan women have been trafficked.  Paraguay needs to use 
the information acquired in these cases to track down and 
prosecute the traffickers recruiting the girls in their home 
towns, as happened in Villarica.  Nevertheless, that 
discussion of trafficking in Paraguay has progressed to this 
level illustrates the higher profile given to trafficking. 
It is a priority across the GOP, as the creation of an 
interministerial roundtable indicates.  Post is contributing 
to Paraguayan efforts through its bilateral assistance 
program.  We appreciate GOP efforts to supply us with data on 
trafficking prosecutions, and are encouraged by the 
conviction and sentencing of the two traffickers in Villarica. 

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