The government maintained victim protection efforts. MITP coordinated the government’s anti-trafficking efforts, including victim assistance. The government identified 49 adult trafficking victims in 2021, compared with 47 adult victims (21 men and 26 women) in 2020 and 37 in 2019. The government did not report victims’ gender or specify how many traffickers exploited in sex trafficking, as opposed to labor trafficking.
The government did not report how many child trafficking victims it identified in 2021, compared with two each in 2020 and 2019; the government instead reported identifying 30 child victims of commercial sexual exploitation—a broader categorization that included victims of trafficking, as well as certain non-trafficking crimes. The government reported all adult victims identified in 2021 were foreign citizens, primarily from Bolivia, Colombia, Haiti, and Venezuela. 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; 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 all 49 identified adult trafficking victims in 2021. The National Service of Women and Gender Equality (SERNAMEG) reported it provided shelter services to 10 adult women victims in 2021, compared with 16 in 2020. 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 (RAV) 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. URAVIT could arrange housing in hotels for male victims on a case-by-case basis; however, there were no shelters for male victims. The provision of victim services remained uneven across the country, and NGOs reported funding was inadequate to provide necessary services, especially adequate shelter for children and male victims. The government did not fund most NGOs that provided 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 35.4 million Chilean pesos ($42,020) to provide housing and other basic needs for trafficking victims and potential victims in 2021, down from approximately 84 million Chilean pesos ($99,700) in 2020. SERNAMEG allocated 129.7 million Chilean pesos ($153,950) in funding for its NGO-operated shelter for women victims of trafficking, smuggled women, and their children, compared with allocating 136 million pesos ($161,420) in 2020 and 127 million pesos ($150,740) in 2019. 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.
The government restructured and renamed its child protection agency, which was responsible for most services for child trafficking victims; in 2021, SENAME became Better Childhood. Better Childhood, like SENAME, was responsible for providing basic services to child trafficking victims through a network of programs for child victims of commercial sexual exploitation and care facilities; during the transition, Better Childhood contracted an NGO to ensure child trafficking victims received care without interruption. Better Childhood did not report its budget allocation for child and adolescent victim services in 2021, compared with 3.26 billion pesos ($3.87 million) in 2020, 3.37 billion pesos ($4 million) in 2019, and 3 billion pesos ($3.56 million) in 2018. Better Childhood assisted 1,417 children in 2021 and 1,371 children in 2020, compared with 1,477 children in 2019, 1,459 children in 2018, and 1,350 children in 2017; Better Childhood did not track how many of the children it assisted were trafficking victims. The government did not report the number of child or adolescent victims of commercial sexual exploitation included in the worst forms of child labor registry in 2021, compared with 80, eight of whom were sex trafficking victims, in 2020. Better Childhood continued to decommission the agency’s Specialized Redress Centers under Direct Administration (CREADs), the facilities that served most child trafficking victims under SENAME’s 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 one CREAD in 2021, leaving three of the original 11 facilities operational.
The government issued 16 no-fee visas for foreign trafficking victims, compared to 11 in 2020. 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. 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, adopted as a pandemic-mitigation measure, 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, and Chinese. Despite these efforts, the government reported challenges in encouraging victims to participate in a full trial. The government had until 2022 to gradually implement a 2019 law to reduce re-traumatization of child and adolescent victims through required video testimony facilitated by an expert intermediary; six regions operated under the new requirement in 2021. The government provided an intensive training course on video testimony to 26 PDI officials. Victims could receive restitution or compensation through criminal or civil cases, respectively; in 2021, the courts awarded three victims 10 million pesos ($11,870) each in restitution upon the conviction of the trafficker who exploited them in sex trafficking.