Prostitution in Cuba
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    2006 Report: Victims of Trafficking and Violence

    2006 Report: Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000:
    Trafficking in Persons Report

    […] CUBA (TIER 3)

    Cuba is a source country for women and children trafficked for the
    purposes of sexual exploitation and forced child labor. The nature and
    extent of trafficking in the country is hard to gauge due to the closed
    nature of the government and a lack of non-governmental reporting.1
    However, Cuba is a major destination for sex tourism, which largely
    caters to hundreds of thousands of European, Canadian, and Latin
    American tourists.

    Cuba’s thriving sex trade involves large numbers of minors and there is
    anecdotal evidence that state-run hotel workers, travel company
    employees, taxicab drivers, bar and restaurant workers, and law
    enforcement personnel are complicit in the commercial sexual
    exploitation of these children. There are also reports that Cuban women
    have been trafficked to Mexico for sexual exploitation, in addition to
    unconfirmed reports that Cubans are forced to work as deckhands on
    smuggling trips in order to pay off large smuggling debts. Cuban forced
    labor victims also include children coerced into working in commercial

    The Government of Cuba does not fully comply with the minimum standards
    for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts
    to do so. Information related to trafficking in Cuba is difficult to
    obtain because the Government of Cuba will not publicly release
    information and any attempt to engage the Government of Cuba is rebuffed
    as politically motivated. To improve its efforts to combat trafficking,
    the government should publicly acknowledge that trafficking occurs and
    make efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict those who are
    abusing women and children in the sex trade.


    The government has no anti-trafficking law enforcement policy and there
    were no investigations, arrests, prosecutions, or convictions of
    traffickers over the period covered by this report. The Cuban penal code
    provides penalties for trafficking-related crimes; however, the Cuban
    Government does not provide information on the actual enforcement of
    these laws. Article 302 of the Cuban penal code provides for penalties
    ranging between four and 20 years for inducing or promoting
    prostitution. Penalties are increased to 20 to 30 years if the act
    involves facilitating a person’s entry to or exit from the country.
    Article 316 provides penalties of seven to 15 years’ imprisonment for
    the trafficking of minors. Cuba also has laws against forced labor and
    sexual exploitation. Despite the presence of laws that may be used to
    prosecute traffickers, it is not known if any such laws resulted in a
    prosecution or a conviction during the reporting period. There were no
    known investigations or prosecutions of public officials for complicity
    in trafficking during the reporting period.


    Cuban Government efforts to aid trafficking victims were not seen or
    reported over the last year. Victims are punished for unlawful acts
    committed as part of their being trafficked; women and children in
    prostitution are occasionally sent to “reeducation” programs, and most
    are sentenced to several years in prison. Furthermore, “rehabilitation
    centers” for women and children engaged in prostitution (some of whom
    may be trafficking victims) are not staffed with personnel who are
    trained or equipped to adequately care for potential trafficking
    victims. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that such
    rehabilitation centers are in fact the equivalent of prisons and do not
    provide any necessary services to the women and children housed there.
    There is no coordination on trafficking-related matters with
    international organizations or NGOs operating in the country.


    The government undertakes no information campaigns to prevent
    trafficking for sexual exploitation, and does not officially admit that
    Cuba has a trafficking problem. There are passing references to
    trafficking-related issues in a National Action Plan for Youth and
    Adolescents, but nothing specific regarding the prevention of
    trafficking or how to address the growing numbers of children engaged in
    prostitution in the country. The Cuban Government does not tolerate
    independent NGOs and most are in fact operating under the direction of
    the Cuban government.

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