HAVANA (HPD) — Cuban authorities released the annual national report on human trafficking and related crimes, in which they reported that over the past year a dozen people were sentenced to prison terms of up to 20 years. jail.
Published this weekend on the official website of the island’s Foreign Ministry, the document reiterated the “zero tolerance” policy for these scourges, while warning about the presence of “foreign and Cuban businessmen” who were investigated for recruiting especially women. to work in bars in other countries.
Most of the crimes indicated in the text are of a national nature, especially the 12 people found guilty –five men and seven women– of corrupting minors or pimping, in this case all girls under 16 years of age.
But some of international scope were also addressed and for which, says the document, work was done with the police of other countries and with INTERPOL.
Although the document refers to the year 2021, in which the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic kept the borders of countries closed, some violations of international law occurred.
“The criminal action was concentrated on the recruitment of young people, mainly female, by foreign and Cuban businessmen, to provide bar and nightclub services in Russia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Turkey, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, China and Cyprus,” said the official report, which did not offer details on the matter.
Cuba, subjected since the beginning of the pandemic to a harsh economic crisis that has worsened with the sanctions of the United States and its own financial policy decisions, faces a record emigration, a large part of which moves from the island through Central America and then to Mexico with the support of “coyotes” or with the participation of smugglers in speedboats through the Straits of Florida.
The official report also recognized that “the incidence in Cuba of foreigners who interact with prostitutes in exchange for gifts persists,” as well as the online sale of videos and images of sexual content “for which payment is made through bank transfers from abroad and within from the country”.
However, he indicated, no networks or organized crime with a national base were detected, nor cases inside tourist centers — most of them closed due to the pandemic itself.
The document also mentions the tense relationship with the United States, which maintains an embargo on the island and which the authorities accuse of promoting illegal emigration and tolerating human trafficking operations using speedboats.
In recent weeks, two cases of frustrated smuggling have been made public, in one of which five people died when a smuggler’s ship collided with a coast guard vessel.
Also, the official document rejected the accusation of the United States government that the programs for sending Cuban internationalist doctors qualify as human trafficking, since the doctors are hired in accordance with local law, an agreement was signed with the receiving countries and they have backed by United Nations standards.