July 09, 2007

US State Department Honors Rule of Law Initiative-trained Ecuadorian


The State Department recently honored Lucy Blacio, a veteran of several ABARule of Law Initiative trainings, by naming her a 2007 Hero Acting to EndModern-Day Slavery.  Blacio, an Ecuadorian prosecutor, is one ofeight worldwide heroes named in the 2007 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.

Released in June, the 2007 TIP Report praises Blacio saying:

“Threats from defendants and defense attorneys have not kept specialprosecutor Lucy Blacio from successfully enforcing Ecuador’s new law againsttrafficking in persons.

After national legislation to criminalize trafficking in persons (TIP)was passed in June 2005, Ecuador'sattorney general named Blacio the TIP special prosecutor for El Oro province inFebruary 2006 -- one of only three appointed nationwide.

To date, Blacio’s results are impressive.  In fewer than 18 monthsas a TIP prosecutor, she has initiated investigations or prosecutions of morethan 30 human trafficking cases and has won four convictions under Ecuador's newlaw against the crime.  Of note was Blacio's successful prosecution of twobrothel owners charged with sexual exploitation of minors, since brothels arelegal in Ecuador.Blacio also won the conviction of a defendant charged with the forcedprostitution of two minors and another charged with the production of childpornography.”

Lucy Blacio has attended three Rule of Law Initiative trainings in Ecuador,including a training on investigation techniques in TIP cases and a training onsuccessfully prosecuting TIP cases.  Both were part of the ABA Rule of LawInitiative Project to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Ecuador. Blacio also attended the first seminar under the Criminal Justice Project,which focused on the importance of the relationship between the policeand prosecutors in developing strong cases in an adversarialsystem. 

The Rule of Law Initiative is proud to work with committed, well-trainedprofessionals who make a difference in their countries even after projectsend. 

For more information about the Rule of Law Initiative’s Criminal Justice Projectin Ecuador,please contact Charles Caruso at carusoch@staff.abanet.org