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The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore Paraguay remained on Tier 2. The government demonstrated increased efforts by investigating more cases under the anti-trafficking law, allowing video testimony to prevent the re-traumatization of victims, issuing strong sentences, and continuing robust cooperation with foreign governments.
Despite these efforts, the government did not sufficiently fund protection services for all victims of trafficking, and authorities did not implement or train officials on victim identification and referral protocols. Cooperation with civil society was extremely limited, and the national action plan was still pending final approval. The government maintained prosecution efforts. The Comprehensive Anti-Trafficking Law of criminalized sex and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of up to eight years imprisonment; these penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.
The public ministry's Anti-Trafficking Unit ATU was the lead agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting traffickers. In , the ATU initiated trafficking investigations 54 for sex trafficking, 21 for forced labor, and 59 for child sex trafficking , an increase from 77 in and 68 in Authorities reported 53 prosecutions for trafficking offenses 71 in and 17 in Authorities often charged traffickers with lesser crimes, such as pimping or soliciting.
In , authorities reported 17 convictions, 10 for trafficking crimes and seven for other trafficking related offenses. It was unclear how many of the seven convictions were for forced labor or sex trafficking. In , sentences for trafficking offenses averaged five years, compared with an average of two years imprisonment in In a high-profile case, the government allowed several victims to testify against their traffickers using video-conferencing technology; in this case, three traffickers received sentences from 10 to 12 years in prison.