Joining Forces to Combat Human Trafficking


Cooperation agreements have been signed
recently between IOM and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, the National Institute of the Child and the Family and the
National Police and the Specialized Department for Children and
Adolescents, to work together in the fight against human
trafficking. The agreements were endorsed by the First Lady, who
participated as a "witness of honour" in the signing of the

In August 2004 the government of Ecuador
issued an executive decree declaring the fight against human
trafficking as a national priority and in June 2005, the penal code
was reformed to include articles relating to the penalties of this
crime. As a partner in the government's fight against human
trafficking, IOM is coordinating its activities with the principal
state institutions involved in counter trafficking activities.

The new agreements will focus on uniting all
efforts to strengthen institutional capacity, raise awareness, and
train government officials. The agreements also aim to advocate on
behalf of the human rights of victims through prevention activities
directed toward the vulnerable population, especially children and

A working commission has been formed. One
official from each institution will attend periodic working
meetings. As a first step, the members will share information on
the issue of human trafficking to improve coordinating mechanisms,
compile information, and elaborate a joint working plan that will
be evaluated on a quarterly basis.

Although there is no research or concrete
statistics on human trafficking in Ecuador, the International
Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that more 5,000 girls and
adolescents have been trafficked for purposes of sexual
exploitation. The majority of the victims are from small towns and
are transported to larger urban areas.

For more information contact:

Maria Isabel Moncayo

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Robert Natiello

Tel: 593.2-22-53-948/49/50

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