The government maintained law enforcement efforts by prosecuting and convicting sex traffickers, but took no new action to address forced labor. The penal code does not criminalize all forms of trafficking, in particular forced labor and sex trafficking of children ages 16 and 17. In January 2017, the government reported it continued its work to amend the criminal code to address trafficking as defined in international law, but it had not amended the criminal code by the end of the reporting period. Cuba prohibits some forms of trafficking in its penal code provisions, including article 302 (procuring and trafficking in persons); article 310.1 (corruption of minors younger than 16 for sexual purposes); article 312.1 (corruption of minors younger than 16 for begging); and article 316.1 (sale and trafficking of a child younger than 16). The penal code’s definition of sex trafficking conflates sex trafficking with prostitution and pimping. The law criminalizes inducement to or benefiting from prostitution, but treats force, coercion, and abuse of power or vulnerability as aggravating factors rather than an integral part of the crime. These provisions prescribe penalties ranging from four to 10 years imprisonment with more severe penalties for complicit government officials, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Legal provisions addressing “corruption of minors” criminalize many forms of child sex trafficking but define a child as an individual younger than 16 years of age, below the age set in international trafficking law, which is 18. Forced prostitution is illegal irrespective of the victim’s age, and the penal code enables the government to prosecute individuals benefiting from sex trafficking. Provisions for adult and child sex trafficking do not explicitly criminalize the acts of recruitment, transport, and receipt of persons for these purposes. Article 346.1 of the criminal code mandates sentences of five to 12 years imprisonment for various crimes, including for laundering funds obtained from trafficking in persons. The penal code prohibits the deprivation of freedom (article 279.1), coercion (article 286.1), extortion (article 331), and arbitrary exercise of rights (article 159.1). Labor code article 116 prohibits entities from directly establishing labor relations with adolescents younger than age 17. However, Cuban law does not prohibit forced labor as defined in international law.
In January 2017, the government publicly presented official data on prosecutions and convictions of sex traffickers during calendar year 2015, the most recent data available. Authorities reported 10 prosecutions and 17 convictions of sex traffickers, compared with 13 prosecutions and 18 convictions in 2014. At least six convictions in 2015 involved suspects accused of subjecting children to trafficking within Cuba, including the facilitation of child sex tourism in Cuba. The average sentence was 12 years imprisonment, compared to seven years in 2014. The government investigated 37 cases and prosecuted four cases of Cubans and foreign nationals recruiting and transporting women with false promises of employment and fraudulent work contracts to subject the victims to debt bondage and forced prostitution. The government did not report any domestic labor trafficking investigations, prosecutions, or convictions.
Students at the Ministry of Interior academy and police assigned to tourist centers reportedly received specific training in anti-trafficking and victim assistance. The government maintained bilateral cooperation agreements and extradition agreements with more than 15 countries demonstrating its willingness to cooperate with other governments on criminal investigations; however, these agreements are not specific to trafficking. The Cuban government cooperated with foreign law enforcement in investigating foreign citizens suspected of sexual crimes against children, including child sex trafficking. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking in 2015.