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Viewing cable 08SANJOSE286, COSTA RICA: TIP UPDATE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08SANJOSE286 2008-04-17 22:10 2011-03-07 18:06 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2702320.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702325.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2702324.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702326.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702327.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0020
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0286/01 1082236
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 172236Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9601
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO PRIORITY 1590
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000286 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN RBEAL AND G/TIP BFLECK, G, INL, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ELAB KCRM KFRD KWMN PHUM PREF SMIG CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICA: TIP UPDATE 
 
REF: SAN JOSE 0194 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a meeting with ADCM and Poloffs on April 
16, Vice Minister Duran painted a mixed picture of the GOCR's 
anti-TIP efforts.  She described new training initiatives for 
law enforcement personnel, which might reach 500 officials 
over the next year, and legislative initiatives which may 
lead to new laws against domestic trafficking in persons and 
protecting victims.  Duran could not offer any new 
information on specific TIP cases or investigations, but she 
said she would push the prosecutor's office to dig deeper 
into possible TIP aspects of the recent immigration case 
involving 400 Dominican women, and to make available 
information from the on-going investigation into a Chinese 
TIP ring broken up in January 2007. Duran agreed that more 
needed to be done, especially on TIP investigations and 
prosecutions, adding that she had already raised TIP issues 
with the new Minister of Public Security.   END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (U) On April 16, ADCM and Poloffs met with Ana Duran, Vice 
Minister of Security in Costa Rica and senior-most GoCR 
official involved in  trafficking issues, to stress the need 
for Costa Rica to show tangible progress in TIP 
investigations, prosecutions, and victims' assistance or risk 
being downgraded in the 2008 TIP report.  We reiterated our 
earlier request for updated information and statistics to be 
reported to Washington as the 2008 TIP report was nearing 
completion. We noted that Costa Rica's anti-TIP efforts over 
the past year could best be illustrated by tangible results. 
 
3. (U) TRAINING: Duran responded by describing the GOCR's 
anti-TIP education efforts for public security personnel, 
which began earlier this year with trafficking 
sensitivity/awareness training for 34 officers. She 
envisioned similar training reaching 500 security officers, 
prosecutors, investigators and other personnel within the law 
enforcement community over the next 12 months.  Duran 
explained that law enforcement and judicial personnel needed 
to learn to "discriminate" genuine TIP cases from others 
involving immigration fraud or sex trade violations. 
Unfortunately, all three elements sometimes combined in the 
same cases.  Before Costa Rica could better act against TIP, 
enforcement personnel had to recognize the signs of TIP, she 
added. 
 
4. (U) LEGISLATION: Responding to our specific questions, 
Duran said that the National Coalition Against Trafficking 
(which she heads) is undertaking studies into two main areas 
of concern. The first is possible new legislation to 
incorporate domestic trafficking of persons into Costa Rica's 
penal code in compliance with the UN Protocol definition. The 
second is posible new legislation to protect and better 
assist trafficking victims, perhaps as part of the omnibus 
domestic security law now under debate in the National 
Assembly. Duran noted that the witness protection elements in 
the omnibus law might be copied and adopted for victims' 
protection.  She acknowledged, however, that no victims' 
protection language had been added yet to the bill under 
consideration. 
 
5. (U) INVESTIGATIONS: Duran said the recent, well-publicized 
investigation into 400 Dominicans involved in the sex trade 
in Costa Rica was being handled as an immigration case and 
not a TIP case.  A few of the women involved may have been 
trafficked, and minors may have been involved, however. She 
said she would push the prosecutor's office to dig deeper 
into the potential TIP aspects, but the investigation thus 
far had not uncovered a major trafficking network, as 
asserted by the media.  On the January 2007 case involving a 
Chinese trafficking ring, Duran said she woud push the local 
prosecutor's office (fiscalia) to make available concrete, 
updated information.  (The case remains under investigation.) 
 Echoing what other GOCR officials told us as we prepared our 
2008 TIP submission, Duran said that under-staffed, 
under-funded (and over-worked) prosecutors remained a 
challenge in dealing with TIP cases.  Even with TIP training, 
she had to rely on like-minded judges and prosecutors to make 
the time for the training courses.  A focus on TIP issues and 
cases is not built into the justice system. 
 
6. (U) NEW MINISTER, NEW FOCUS?  We passed Duran a list of 
actions that would help the GOCR improve its anti-TIP 
efforts, including amending the relevant law(s) to conform to 
UN protocols, intensifying efforts to identify and assist 
victims, increasing assistance for victims, promptly 
releasing TIP-related statistics and above all, increasing 
prosecution enforcement.  She agreed that everything on our 
list should be done, and reiterated her interest in making 
progress.  She said she had already discussed TIP issues in 
general with newly-appointed Minister of Public Security 
Janina Del Vecchio (septel), and that Del Vecchio shared 
Duran's interest in trafficking issues. After all, concluded 
Duran, fighting trafficking and protecting trafficking 
victims in fully consistent with Costa Rica's 
long-established support for general human rights issues. 
 
7. (SBU) COMMENT: The TIP story remains mixed in Costa Rica. 
Duran seemed somewhat more committed and the GOCR's anti-TIP 
efforts somewhat better organized since we met with her to 
begin our TIP report preparation. She is correct in 
describing the mixed trafficking/immigration/sex trade 
elements in TIP-related cases here.  She is also correct in 
describing the prosecutorial problems in a nation where a 
very small percentage of criminal cases are fully prosecuted, 
let alone TIP, IPR or other non-criminal cases.  Government 
awareness and commitment is only part of the solution, 
however, and Duran provided us context instead of specific 
results.  But, she at least accepts that the GOCR needs to do 
more, and has taken the initiative to sensitize her new boss, 
Del Vecchio, to that need. 
BRENNAN