The government made some law enforcement efforts to combat sex trafficking but made no efforts to address forced labor; rather, some Cuban government officials in the Ministry of Justice were complicit in state labor export schemes by prosecuting people who abandoned labor export schemes due to abuses within the programs. The Cuban penal code criminalized some forms of sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Article 302 (“procuring and trafficking in persons”) criminalized inducing another person to engage in prostitution, or cooperating, promoting, or benefiting from such an act, and prescribed penalties of four to 10 years’ imprisonment. These penalties were sufficiently stringent and 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. Article 310 (“corruption of minors”) criminalized the use of a person under the age of 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 (“corruption of minors”) criminalized the use of a person under the age of 16 for begging and prescribed penalties of two to five years’ imprisonment or a fine; these penalties were sufficiently stringent. Article 316 (“sale and trafficking of minors”) criminalized the sale or illegal adoption of a person under the age of 16 for “international trafficking relating to corrupting or pornographic conduct, the practice of prostitution, trade in organs, forced labor, or activities linked to narcotics trafficking or illicit drug use,” and prescribed penalties of seven to 15 years’ imprisonment. These penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with other grave crimes such as rape. Inconsistent with international law, these provisions defined a minor as under the age of 16 instead of under the age of 18. Provisions relating to adult and child trafficking did not explicitly criminalize the acts of recruitment, transport, and receipt of persons for these purposes. Cuban law did not explicitly prohibit labor trafficking as defined in international law. The government has not made efforts to amend the criminal code to address trafficking in international law.
In December 2019, the government published official data for calendar year 2018 on prosecutions and convictions, the most recent data available. The government’s annual report is the primary source of information on its efforts. The government suppresses independent domestic sources. Some international independent sources provide information on efforts. The government investigated 15 cases of potential human trafficking. Authorities reported 15 prosecutions, which included four cases involving sex trafficking, and 24 convictions (20 for sex trafficking, one for forced child labor, and three for selling or patronizing the sale and trafficking of a minor). This compared to 20 prosecutions in 2017, 21 in 2016 and 10 in 2015, and 20 convictions in 2017, 39 in 2016 and 17 in 2015. From available data, the average sentence was 7.1 years’ imprisonment, compared to 9.2 years in 2017, 10.5 years in 2016, and 12 years in 2015. In addition, some traffickers received sentences of three to five years of forced labor; one case involved three years’ probation. INTERPOL identified 10 Cubans wanted for trafficking activities (six by Ecuador and four by Cuba). The government reported that it dismantled eight criminal networks that involved sexual exploitation, arresting one Turkish citizen and twelve Cubans. Authorities imprisoned five foreign nationals for purchasing sex from child sex trafficking victims from Italy, Serbia, India, France, and the Netherlands; this compared to eight foreign nationals imprisoned for child sex trafficking the previous reporting period. The Cuban government organized and sponsored trainings for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges. The government reported providing law enforcement information to the Government of Peru regarding a Peruvian citizen suspected of sexual exploitation. The government increased cooperation with the Canadian Royal Mounted Police on identifying sex tourists. The government maintained more than 20 bilateral cooperation agreements or memoranda of understanding with 15 other countries that included trafficking; the government did not provide information on the results of these agreements. 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.