Cablegate: Embassy Cairo Submission for 2007 Tip Report


DE RUEHEG #0580/01 0641121
P 051121Z MAR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 2006 STATE 202745

Senstive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) This message responds to reftel. Embassy POC is
poloff Roger Kenna, phone 20-2-797-2749, fax 20-2-797-2181, Poloff spent approximately 16 hours in
the preparation of the TIP report. PA officer spent two
hours; ECPO Minister Counselor spent two hours; DCM spent two
hours. The GOE does not have a POC for TIP. Information in
this report was gleaned from bilateral meetings, other
diplomatic contacts, and press reporting. The following
input is keyed to the questions in reftel paras 27-30.

I. Overview

A. Egypt is neither a country of origin or destination for a
significant number of trafficking victims. However, an
unknown number of trafficking victims probably transit Egypt
en route to other destinations, notably Israel and Europe.
There are currently no reliable estimates available in Egypt
for the magnitude of the problem.

B. The trafficking scenario most commonly cited involves
young women from Eastern Europe arriving in Egypt by air,
especially in the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and
Hurghada. The women then travel overland, often with the
facilitation of Bedouin smugglers, across the border into
Israel where they are presumed to be forcibly employed in
that country's sex industry. There were no confirmed cases
of such trafficking in Egypt in 2006 by the GOE or by
Egyptian media sources, but there were occasional media
reports of intercepted illegal migrants who may have been
trafficking victims. A number of illegal migrants from south
and East Asia may also transit the Suez Canal en route to
Europe. Some of these migrants may be trafficking victims.
We are not aware of any surveys or research on the extent or
nature of trafficking in Egypt.

Media reports indicate that Italy is the destination for
significant numbers of illegal Egyptian migrants who seek to
cross the Mediterranean, often with the help of smugglers.

Embassy Cairo has repeatedly raised the issue of Trafficking
in Persons with the Government of Egypt at both the
Ministerial and working levels. In all of our discussions,
GOE officials have expressed determination to fight the
problem, to the extent that it exists in Egypt, and have
sought from the U.S. any available information that could
help identify extant trafficking networks inside the country.

In January 2006, First Lady Suzanne Mubarak addressed an
international meeting in Athens on TIP and said that her NGO,
the Suzanne Mubarak Women's International Peace Movement
(SMWIPM), is committed to fighting TIP of women and children.
Also in May 2006, addressing an IOM conference in Cairo in
Cairo and a WEF meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, Mrs. Mubarak
called for international cooperation and coordination to
eliminate trafficking.

Reports from Israel suggest that that country is realizing
some success in its effort to combat trafficking into the
country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation
and domestic servitude. We believe that any Israeli
successes in the fight against TIP will correlate to a
corresponding drop in the number of trafficking victims who
transit Egypt en route to Israel. According to a November
15, 2006 Jerusalem Post article, Israeli police success in
policing the land border with Egypt had led "more and more
women" to use "forged passports to bypass the route through
Sinai and across the long desert border with Egypt in favor
of an easy arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport." According to
earlier Israeli press reporting, based on "police data," 2005
witnessed a significant drop in the number of foreign women
working as prostitutes in Israel, from 3000 in 2001 to
"several hundred" in 2005. This anecdotal information
suggests that the number of trafficking victims transiting
Sinai may also have significantly decreased.

C. Limitations on the government's ability to address TIP
include budgetary constraints and treaty restrictions on
infrastructural improvements and troop numbers, along the
Egyptian-Israeli border, under the Camp David Accord. The
GOE devotes significant resources toward patrolling and
policing its borders. Geography and resource limitations
preclude total success. During bilateral meetings with U.S.
officials in 2006, GOE officials repeatedly asserted that
human trafficking through Sinai was not a significant

D. There is no evidence to suggest involvement of any kind
of either Governmental authorities or individual members of
Government forces in facilitating or condoning trafficking.
Due to lack of training and resource limitations, individual
Government officials may not be well equipped to identify and
prevent instances of trafficking. Egyptian law prohibits
prostitution as well as the solicitation and facilitation of
commercial sex. The "sale of child brides" has not been
documented, per se, although the payment of dowries and
marriage at relatively young ages are in keeping with some
cultural traditions. Girls marrying below the age of 18
require parental permission. Girls below the age of 16 may
not marry. Infringements of these laws are thought to be
common, particularly in rural areas.

II. Prevention

A-B. The Government acknowledges that some trafficking
victims may transit Egypt. The Government reports that it is
not currently aware of information that suggests a
significant flow of such persons. Government agencies that
are involved in combating trafficking are the border police,
immigration, and customs inspectors, overseen by State
Security Investigations Service, and ultimately the Ministry
of Interior. Officials responsible for consular affairs or
tourism can also become involved in responding to suspected
trafficking cases.

C. There are currently no anti-trafficking information or
education campaigns being conducted in Egypt. In December
2006, however, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the
launch of a public information campaign among Egyptian youth
"to raise awareness on the dangers of illegal migration." We
are aware of at least one Egyptian NGO, the Arab Institute
for Migration Studies, which is beginning to systematically
monitor and document trafficking in persons cases. Egyptian
human rights and women's NGOs tell us they are not aware of a
significant trafficking problem in Egypt.

D. The Government devotes significant resources to
patrolling and policing its borders, particularly the Sinai
desert border with Israel. The Government does not currently
have a specific program to monitor migration and travel
patterns for evidence of trafficking although it exerts
robust efforts to combat illegal migration and alien
smuggling. In particular, in the aftermath of the October 7,
2004 terror bombings in Sinai, which killed 34 people, the
Government has made a concerted effort to increase security
in Sinai, especially with regard to alleged illegal
activities by the Sinai Bedouin tribes. In November 2006,
for example, the Middle East News Agency (MENA, the GOE wire
service) reported that government security forces were
engaged in a "massive crackdown operation in north Sinai"
against suspected terrorist and criminal elements.

E. Egyptian civil society is not focused on TIP. On human
rights and related matters, Egyptian civil society has a
sometimes contentious relationship with the GOE.

F. Anecdotal information supplied by GOE border security
personnel suggests that the GOE does not have a comprehensive
program to monitor immigration/emigration for evidence of

G. The GOE indicated in November 2006 that it planned to
create an official inter-ministerial body to coordinate the
GOE's efforts against TIP, but this body had not been
formally established as of March 1, 2007. There are a number
of GOE bodies and institutions focused on tackling public

H. The Government has not announced or presented a national
plan of action to address trafficking in persons.

--------------------------------------------- -----
III. Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers
--------------------------------------------- -----

A-C. Egyptian law does not specifically prohibit trafficking
in persons, either for sexual exploitation or forced labor.
However, other parts of the criminal code, such as laws
against rape, abduction, prostitution, and forced labor, may
be used to prosecute traffickers. Slavery is illegal. The
maximum penalty for rape is life imprisonment. Egyptian
Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials
have told U.S. diplomats that they plan to draft new
anti-trafficking legislation to remedy any gaps in existing
legislation, but they have not provided an estimated time of

D. The prescribed penalties for rape or forcible sexual
assault range from a minimum of three years to life
imprisonment with hard labor. The actual penalty imposed
depends on a number of factors including the ages of the
victim and the perpetrator as well as their relationship.

E. Prostitution is illegal and the activities of prostitutes
(as well as brothels) are criminalized. The government
generally enforces laws against prostitution.

F. There do not appear to have been any recent government
prosecutions of traffickers. In December 2003, an Egyptian
court convicted Moataz Attiya Mohammad Hassan, a.k.a. Abu
Qusay, of manslaughter and aiding illegal immigration for his
role in the deaths of 353 persons trying to reach Australia
when their boat sank. Abu Qusay was sentenced to seven-years
in prison, although the sentence was reduced on appeal to
three years. In February 2005, a criminal court in South
Sinai convicted Talal Soliman of attempting to smuggle 5
Russian (and/or Moldovan) women to Israel. Soliman was
sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. According to press
accounts, Sinai police in July 2003 had sought to detain
Soliman when he was transporting the Eastern European women
from south Sinai to Israel. Soliman opened fire on the
police and wounded one of them before he was detained.
According to a Cairo-based Russian diplomatic source
(2005 information), in September 2002, three Moldovan women
were abducted from a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh by Bedouin who
raped them and apparently tried to transport them to Israel.
One of the victims escaped and informed Egyptian police, who
successfully rescued the other two victims and arrested the
perpetrators. According to the Russian, the perpetrators
were eventually convicted and received 25-year sentences.
The Russian diplomat said no trafficking cases have come to
his attention since that time.

G. Egyptian law enforcement contacts generally identify
Sinai Bedouin as engaging in the smuggling of contraband,
possibly including humans, from Egypt into Israel. In
October 2004, an Associated Press story reported that a gun
battle between Bedouin smugglers and police in September had
left an unspecified number of policemen wounded and 13
people, mainly Eastern European women, in Egyptian police
custody. Embassy Cairo officials were unable to confirm the
details of the AP account with Egyptian police contacts.
Press accounts in September 2006 indicated that Bedouin
criminals played a role in the effort of eight Colombian job
seekers who sought to transit Sinai to reach Israel. Media
reports indicated that two of the Colombians perished from
thirst on the Israel side of the border before the remaining
six travelers were repatriated to Colombia via their embassy
in Cairo. There were several media reports that suggested
that the Colombians had been kidnapped and mistreated by the
Bedouin. The Colombian embassy in Cairo declined to confirm
the reports of kidnapping and mistreatment.

H. The Government is not currently known to be involved in
any international investigations of trafficking cases.

I. The Government does not currently provide specialized
training in how to recognize, investigate, or prosecute
instances of trafficking. The Government advises that
instances of trafficking rarely come to its attention, but
has explicitly requested from the U.S. any information that
could identify such instances in Egypt.

J-N. The Government is not known to have ever extradited
persons charged with trafficking to face prosecution in other
countries. However, in the Abu Qusay case, the Government
requested the defendant's extradition from Indonesia, which
was granted. There is no evidence of Government involvement
in or tolerance for trafficking nor is there evidence of a
child sex tourism problem.

O. Egypt is a signatory of ILO convention 182 concerning
prohibition of the worst forms of child labor. Egypt is also
a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (with a
reservation regarding adoption) ILO Convention 29, and ILO
Convention 105. Egypt is also a signatory to the Protocol to
Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons
supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational
Organized Crime.

IV. Protection and Assistance to Victims

A-I. The Government reports that its consular and
immigration officials, at home and abroad, have been
instructed to be on the alert for possible instances of
illegal migration and fraudulent travel, which would include
trafficking. However, the Government does not currently have
any programs for victim assistance or specialized training
for personnel in identifying trafficking victims. The
Government does not currently make special provisions for
victims' participation in prosecutions or for protection for
victims as witnesses nor does it provide specialized training
in TIP to government officials. There are currently no NGOs
in Egypt focused on providing services to trafficking victims.

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