The government increased law enforcement efforts. The penal code criminalized some forms of trafficking, but did not criminalize all forms of forced labor or sex trafficking of children ages 16 and 17, defining a child as an individual younger than 16 years of age, below the age set in international trafficking law, which is 18. Article 302 criminalized procuring and trafficking in persons and prescribed penalties of four to 10 years imprisonment, which were sufficiently stringent, and with regard to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Inconsistent with the definition of trafficking under international law, the law established the use of force, fraud, or coercion as aggravating factors, rather than essential elements of the crime. The law defined trafficking broadly to include exploitative labor conditions and illegal adoption without the purpose of exploitation. Article 310 criminalized corruption of minors younger than 16 for sexual purposes and prescribed penalties of seven to 15 years imprisonment, which were sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Article 312.1 criminalized corruption of minors younger than 16 for begging and prescribed penalties of two to five years or a fine. Articles 310 and 312 consider violence or intimidation, among other factors, as aggravating factors for which the penalty is increased to 20 to 30 years imprisonment or the death penalty. Provisions for adult and child sex trafficking did not explicitly criminalize the acts of recruitment, transport, and receipt of persons for these purposes. The penal code and labor code prohibited some conduct associated with forced labor including the deprivation of freedom (article 279.1), coercion (article 286.1), extortion (article 331), arbitrary exercise of rights (article 159.1), and directly establishing labor relations with adolescents younger than age 17 (labor code article 116). However, Cuban law did not prohibit forced labor as defined in international law. Since 2015, the government has mentioned its efforts to amend the criminal code to address trafficking as defined in international law, but as of February 2018 the criminal code did not prohibit all forms of trafficking.
In January 2018, the government published official data for calendar year 2016 on prosecutions and convictions of traffickers, the most recent data available. Authorities reported 21 prosecutions for 2016, compared with 10 prosecutions in 2015, and 39 convictions—37 sex traffickers, one trafficker for forced child labor, and one defendant for patronizing a child sex trafficking victim—compared with 17 convictions in 2015. The average sentence was 10.5 years imprisonment, compared to 12 years in 2015. One notable case included domestic forced labor involving a trafficker convicted in 2016 for forcing a boy to beg tourists for money in the streets and confiscating the profits; and 14 cases of international sex trafficking in Africa, North and South America, and Europe in 2016, which involved Cuban nationals abroad recruiting victims in Cuba through telephone and internet with false offers of employment, promises of financial gain, and romantic relationships.
Students at the Ministry of Interior academy and police assigned to tourist centers received specific training in trafficking and victim assistance. The government-funded training for provincial and national prosecutors on transnational organized crime and trafficking. The government maintained at least 18 bilateral cooperation agreements or memorandums of understanding with other countries that included trafficking. Cuban authorities cooperated with their counterparts in at least 12 countries in 2016. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking. Observers noted the government continued the practice of threatening or coercing some participants to remain in the foreign medical mission program.