The government maintained victim protection efforts. MITP coordinated the government’s anti-trafficking efforts, including victim assistance. The government identified 51 trafficking victims (39 sex trafficking victims, seven labor trafficking victims, and five victims of unspecified forms of trafficking) in 2022, compared with identifying 49 adult victims in 2021 and 47 in 2020. Of the victims identified, there were 28 female victims, four male victims, and 19 victims for whom the government did not identify a gender. Of the 51 identified victims, there were seven children, all girls; by comparison, the government identified zero child victims in 2021, two in 2020, and two in 2019. The government reported all victims identified in 2022 were foreign citizens from Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, or Peru. The government had a uniform reporting mechanism and a set of internal resources on trafficking indicators to guide public agencies’ efforts to identify potential trafficking victims; it provided additional support for agencies reporting potential victims for the first time.
The MP’s Regional Victims and Witness Assistance Unit (URAVIT) provided assistance to 51 trafficking victims in 2022. The National Service of Women and Gender Equality (SERNAMEG) reported it provided shelter services to 31 adult women victims in 2022, compared with 10 in 2021. The MITP’s protocol on victim assistance entitled victims to safe housing, health services, psychological services, legal assistance, education, employment assistance, and regularization of migratory status. The Ministry of Interior’s Victim Assistance Network and URAVIT coordinated housing for victims; the government could place up to 10 female trafficking victims at a time in SERNAMEG’s specialized shelter for trafficking victims. The government placed most female victims, including those located outside the capital, in SERNAMEG’s domestic violence shelters or NGO-run shelters. There were no shelters for male victims; however, URAVIT could arrange housing in hotels for male victims on a case-by-case basis. In 2022, the government reported providing an unspecified form of housing to one male victim for three months. The provision of victim services remained uneven across the country, and observers reported funding was inadequate to provide necessary services, especially adequate shelter for child and male victims. The government allocated funding in 2022 for the construction of a second specialized shelter for female trafficking victims in northern Chile. The government did not fund most NGOs providing victim assistance; most agencies did not have specific line items in their budgets for victim assistance. Reintegration services, such as education and job placement assistance, were insufficient, and officials reported victims had limited access to adequate mental health services.
URAVIT budgeted 62 million Chilean pesos ($72,815) to provide housing and other basic needs for trafficking victims and potential victims in 2022, compared with 35.4 million pesos ($41,575) in 2021 and approximately 84 million pesos ($98,650) in 2020. SERNAMEG allocated 129.7 million Chilean pesos ($152,320) in funding for its NGO-operated shelter for women victims of trafficking, smuggled women, and their children, compared with allocating 129.7 million pesos ($152,320) in 2021, and 136 million pesos ($159,720) in 2020. The government provided victims legal representation under the victim assistance protocol; the Ministry of Justice provided legal representation to child victims, SERNAMEG provided it to women victims, and MITP’s civil society members provided representation for male victims.
Better Childhood, the government’s child protection agency, provided basic services to child trafficking victims through a network of programs for child victims of commercial sexual exploitation and care facilities; before 2021, SENAME managed these programs and facilities. The government continued to work with an NGO to provide continuous care for child victims during the ongoing oversight transition. Better Childhood operated with a 3.29 billion Chilean pesos ($3.86 million) budget for child and adolescent victim services in 2022, compared with an undisclosed budget in 2021 and 3.26 billion pesos ($3.83 million) in 2020. Better Childhood assisted 1,422 children in 2022, compared with 1,417 children in 2021 and 1,371 children in 2020; Better Childhood did not track how many of the children it assisted were trafficking victims. Better Childhood continued to decommission its Specialized Redress Centers under Direct Administration (CREADs), the facilities that served most child trafficking victims under government care, replacing them with smaller “family-style residences.” According to government reports, children in CREADs were at severe risk of rights violations and sexual abuse. The government closed two CREADs in 2022; four of the original 11 facilities remained operational at the end of the reporting period.
The government issued 13 no-fee visas for foreign trafficking victims, compared to 16 in 2021. These visas were valid for up to one year and renewable for up to two additional years if the victim reported the trafficking crime to the prosecutor’s office. Chilean law expressly prohibited the deportation of identified trafficking victims. Foreign victims received the same victim services and courtroom accommodations – such as teleconference, witness protection, and video testimony – as Chilean victims. URAVIT continued to use a video interpretation service to facilitate safe exchanges between law enforcement and victims of all crimes, including trafficking victims, providing access to interpretation in sign language, regional Indigenous languages, Haitian Creole, Chinese, and other languages. Despite these efforts, the government reported challenges in encouraging victims to participate in a full trial. The government worked with an international organization to facilitate the repatriation of three victims and third-country resettlements for seven Venezuelan victims; Chilean law prohibited the return of victims to countries where they could face harm. The government continued its gradual implementation of a 2019 law requiring video testimony for all child and adolescent crime victims as a measure to reduce re-traumatization. The government trained 60 interviewers on the use of video testimony under the law. Victims could receive restitution or compensation through criminal or civil cases, respectively; in 2022, the courts awarded a labor trafficking victim 50 million pesos ($58,720) in restitution, in addition to 30 million pesos ($35,230) in back wages and other compensation, upon the conviction of the trafficker who exploited him.