The government maintained law enforcement efforts. While the penal code criminalized some forms of trafficking, it 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, younger than 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 312.1 considered violence or intimidation, among other factors, as aggravating factors for which the penalty 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 noted its efforts to amend the criminal code to address trafficking as defined in international law, but as of March 31, 2019, the criminal code did not prohibit all forms of trafficking.
In December 2018, the government published official data for calendar year 2017 on prosecutions and convictions of traffickers, the most recent data available. Authorities reported 20 prosecutions in 2017, compared to 21 in 2016 and 10 in 2015, and 20 convictions (19 sex traffickers and one trafficker for forced child labor), compared to 39 in 2016 and 17 in 2015. The average sentence was 9.2 years’ imprisonment, compared to 10.5 years in 2016 and 12 years in 2015. Authorities imprisoned eight foreign nationals for purchasing sex from child sex trafficking victims. The Cuban government organized and sponsored numerous trainings, postgraduate courses, scientific forums, and a national video conference for prosecutors, law enforcement and court officers, medical staff, and employees of the government-organized NGO Federation of Cuban Women (FMC). Authorities educated participants about trafficking victim protection and assistance and procedures related to transnational organized crime and trafficking. The government maintained more than 20 bilateral cooperation agreements or memoranda of understanding with 15 other countries that included trafficking, which resulted in the identification of Cuban victims abroad and the conviction of a trafficker in Cuba. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking, despite persistent allegations officials threatened and coerced some participants in the foreign medical missions to remain in the program.