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April 17, 2012

Ecuador Program Helps Train Anti-Trafficking Task Force to Rescue and Treat Trafficking Victims

A task force composed of Ecuadorian Judicial Police, prosecutors, and a women's shelter, all of whom have received training from the Rule of Law Initiative's Project to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Ecuador, has worked together to crack down on brothels fronting as hostels and dance clubs, resulting in the rescue of trafficking victims and the shuttering of the offending establishments.

Most recently, four teenage girls were rescued from a brothel called "La Fragata." The victims are currently receiving treatment at a women's shelter whose care providers were trained by the Rule of Law Initiative's anti-trafficking project. By improving the training of care providers, the anti-trafficking project is helping to raise hopes that trafficking victims will be able to make healthy recoveries from their traumatic ordeals.

More generally, the Rule of Law Initiative's anti-trafficking project in Ecuador works on the "three Ps" of anti-trafficking efforts: prevention, protection and prosecution. Acting as a neutral facilitator, the Rule of Law Initiative brings together both government agencies and NGOs, and assists them in working to tackle the problem of human trafficking in a coordinated manner. The anti-trafficking project has promoted the creation of inter-institutional efforts such as the Witness and Victims of Trafficking Protection Unit, which works as a task force bringing together women's shelters, relevant youth-focused NGOs, the National Judicial Police, DINAPEN (the division of the Ecuadorian Police specializing in the protection of children) and Ecuador's Prosecutor's Office. Because staff in each of these entities has received similar training from the project, they are able to coordinate their efforts to combat trafficking in ways that lead to successful prosecutions while protecting and assisting victims. For example, in the case of the raid of La Fragata, Ecuadorian authorities were able to collect carefully-preserved evidence that will help to build strong cases against traffickers in upcoming prosecutions.

For more information, please contact Dan Becker, at <[email protected]>