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Cablegate: Syria: 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDMA #0218 0650906
ZNR UUUUU ZZH ZDK NUM SVCS ZUI RUEWMCE7097 0851318
P 060906Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0000
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000218

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, NEA/RA, NEA/ELA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB
SUBJECT: SYRIA: 2006 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT

REF: SECSTATE 202745

1. (U) THE FOLLOWING IS POST'S SUBMISSION TO THE ANNUAL
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT. THE EMBASSY'S POINT OF
CONTACT IS POLOFF MARIA D.G. OLSON. OFFICE TELEPHONE: (963)
(11) 3391-3785. FAX: (963) (11) 3391-3999. OFFICER SPENT
40 HOURS IN PREPARATION OF THE REPORT, WHICH IS STRUCTURED TO
ANSWER REFTEL.

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CHECKLIST
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2. (SBU) 27.A: SYRIA'S OPAQUE LEGAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM
AND CONSERVATIVE, FAMILY-CENTERED SOCIETAL VALUES, WHICH
DISCOURAGE DISCUSSION OF TRAFFICKING-RELATED ISSUES SUCH AS
PROSTITUTION, MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE TO WHAT EXTENT
SYRIA IS A COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, TRANSIT, OR DESTINATION FOR
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS. NO GOVERNMENT ENTITY FOLLOWS THIS
ISSUE IN DEPTH; THE CAPACITY OF CIVIL SOCIETY IS
UNDERDEVELOPED, AND THERE ARE FEW INTERNATIONAL NGOS IN
SYRIA. CONSEQUENTLY, THERE ARE NO STATISTICS AVAILABLE ON
THE SCOPE AND TYPE OF TRAFFICKING THAT MAY EXIST AND VERY
LIMITED INSIGHT ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT, THE GENERAL
PUBLIC, THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY AND INTERNATIONAL
ORGANIZATIONS RESIDENT IN SYRIA INTO THE ISSUE. EMBASSIES
AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE THE BEST SOURCES OF
INFORMATION ABOUT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN SYRIA WHO ARE
POTENTIAL VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING. BASED ON OUR SOURCES AND
ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE, WOMEN AND GIRLS ARE MOST AT RISK OF BEING
TRAFFICKED TO AND THROUGH SYRIA FOR PROSTITUTION AND DOMESTIC
LABOR.

3. (SBU) 27.B: MOST SOURCES QUERIED BY POST (UNHCR,
INTERNATIONAL OFFICE FOR MIGRATION OTHERWISE KNOWN AS IOM,
ASIAN, ARAB, AFRICAN AND EUROPEAN DIPLOMATS) DO NOT BELIEVE
THAT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS IS WIDESPREAD OR SYSTEMATIC IN
SYRIA, ALTHOUGH THEY ACKNOWLEDGE IT COULD EVENTUALLY BECOME A
LARGER PROBLEM. POST IS NOT AWARE OF WIDESPREAD TRAFFICKING
OF SYRIANS ABROAD OR WITHIN SYRIA. NEVERTHELESS, POST HAS
ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE THAT SEVERAL HUNDRED EASTERN EUROPEAN
WOMEN ARE EMPLOYED AS DANCERS IN CABARETS IN UNACCEPTABLE
CONDITIONS, WITH THEIR EMPLOYERS HOLDING THEIR PASSPORTS AND
RESTRICTING THE NUMBER OF HOURS THAT DANCERS CAN LEAVE THE
WORK PREMISES. EMPLOYERS FROM BOTH SYRIA AND THE WOMEN'S
HOME COUNTRY REPORTEDLY RECRUIT THE WOMEN AS DANCERS, HAVING
THEM SIGN A CONTRACT THAT STIPULATES A VERY LOW WAGE IN SYRIA
WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THEY WILL BE PAID MORE UNDER THE
TABLE UPON ARRIVAL. ONCE THEY ARRIVE, THE DANCERS ARE MADE
TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEY CAN EARN ADDITIONAL MONEY FROM
PROSTITUTION, ESPECIALLY DURING THE THREE HOURS DAILY THAT
THEY ARE AUTHORIZED TO LEAVE THE CLUB.

4. (SBU) 27.B-CONTINUED: ADDITIONALLY, THERE IS EVIDENCE
THAT AT LEAST 50,000 SOUTHEAST ASIAN AND ETHIOPIAN DOMESTIC
HELPERS WORK IN SYRIA (AN ESTIMATED 40,000 FROM INDONESIA,
8,000 FROM THE PHILIPPINES, 2,000 FROM SRI LANKA AND AN
UNKNOWN NUMBER FROM ETHIOPIA). THE GOVERNMENTS OF SRI LANKA,
INDONESIA, AND THE PHILIPPINES BAN THEIR CITIZENS FROM TAKING
EMPLOYMENT AS DOMESTIC WORKERS IN THE COUNTRY, ABSENT FORMAL
MECHANISMS TO REGULATE SUCH EMPLOYMENT, ALTHOUGH AT LEAST
WITH REGARD TO INDONESIANS, THE BAN IS NOT STOPPING THE FLOW
OF WORKERS TO SYRIA. THERE WAS AN UNCONFIRMED NEWS REPORT IN
2006 THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF EAST TIMOR ALSO BANNED EXIT VISAS
TO SYRIA FOR ITS CITIZENS WHO WERE BEING RECRUITED AS
DOMESTIC LABORERS. MANY WORKERS APPARENTLY ARRIVE IN SYRIA
WITH LITTLE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THEIR EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS.
EMPLOYERS ROUTINELY HOLD THE WORKERS' PASSPORTS AND REQUIRE
THEM TO WORK LONG HOURS, OFTEN WITHOUT PROVIDING PRIVATE
LIVING QUARTERS THAT WOULD GUARANTEE PERSONAL PRIVACY. UP
UNTIL THE PM'S ISSUANCE OF DECREE 81 TO REGULATE DOMESTIC
WORKER AGENCIES IN NOVEMBER 2006, THE DOMESTIC WORKERS
ARRIVED IN SYRIA VIA OUTLAWED SYRIAN AGENCIES THAT ARRANGED
FOR THE WOMEN TO COME TO SYRIA ON TOURIST VISAS (EITHER FOR
SYRIA OR A THIRD COUNTRY IN THE REGION) THAT ARE THEN
EXTENDED UPON ARRIVAL. ONE SYRIAN CONTACT ESTIMATED THAT AS
MANY AS 80 DOMESTIC WORKER AGENCIES OPERATED ILLEGALLY
THROUGHOUT SYRIA. SUCH AGENCIES CONTINUE TO PLACE NEWSPAPER
AND TELEPHONE DIRECTORY ADVERTISEMENTS FOR THEIR SERVICES,
BUT REPORTS SUGGEST IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LAW IS STARTING
(SEE BELOW).

5. (SBU) 27.B-CONTINUED: SEPARATELY, MOST SOURCES ASSERT
THAT TURMOIL IN NEIGHBORING IRAQ HAS CREATED CONDITIONS
CONDUCIVE TO THE TRAFFICKING OF IRAQI WOMEN, WHICH HAS LED TO
INCREASED PROSTITUTION BY IRAQI WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SYRIA, AND
TO THE TRAFFICKING OF SOME WOMEN AND GIRLS TO KUWAIT, DUBAI

AND LEBANON THROUGH SYRIA. THERE ARE NO ESTIMATES ON THE
NUMBER OF IRAQI PROSTITUTES HERE, WHETHER THEY WERE
TRAFFICKED HERE OR TURNED TO PROSTITUTION ONCE THEIR OTHER
ECONOMIC MEANS OF SUPPORT RAN OUT, OR ON THE NUMBERS OF WOMEN
AND GIRLS WHO ARE TRAFFICKED THROUGH SYRIA. ONE DIPLOMATIC
SOURCE SUGGESTED THAT SOME IRAQIS BRING THEIR WIVES AND/OR
DAUGHTERS HERE BEFORE RETURNING BACK TO IRAQ AND THAT THE
IRAQI WOMEN ARE EVENTUALLY FORCED BY A LACK OF ECONOMIC MEANS
TO TURN TO PROSTITUTION. (NOTE: THERE ARE NO DIRECT
PROVISIONS IN SYRIAN LAWS GIVING REFUGEES THE RIGHT TO WORK.
OBTAINING A WORK PERMIT IS A LENGTHY AND COMPLICATED PROCESS;
REFUGEES ARE RARELY GRANTED A PERMIT.) SEPARATELY, IRAQI MEN
BRING IRAQI WOMEN AND GIRLS INTO SYRIA, WHO ARE FALSELY
LISTED AS WIVES AND DAUGHTERS ON THE TRAFFICKERS' PASSPORTS.
THE TRAFFICKERS THEN SEEK NEW PASSPORTS FOR THE WOMEN AND
GIRLS BEFORE "SELLING" THEM TO THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS FOR
EMPLOYMENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST, SUCH AS IN LEBANON, DUBAI AND
KUWAIT, ACCORDING TO A DIPLOMATIC SOURCE. THERE IS NO
INFORMATION SUGGESTING THAT SYRIA IS A COUNTRY OF ORIGIN FOR
TRAFFICKING.

6. (SBU) B-CONTINUED: THE SARG HAS TAKEN STEPS THAT INDICATE
OFFICIAL AWARENESS OF THE POTENTIAL FOR GREATER TRAFFICKING
TO AND FROM SYRIA, BY CREATING A COUNTER-TRAFFICKING
COMMISSION IN 2005, WHICH MET AT LEAST TWICE IN LATE 2006,
AND BY ISSUES OF DECREE 81 IN NOVEMBER 2006 TO REGULATE THE
ACTIVITIES OF DOMESTIC WORKER AGENCIES. IMPLEMENTATION OF
THE NEW LAW, WHICH REQUIRES ALL AGENCIES TO OBTAIN A LICENSE
AND PUT DOWN A USD 1 MILLION SECURITY DEPOSIT, IS REPORTEDLY
JUST STARTING, ACCORDING TO CONTACTS. ONE SOURCE TOLD US
THAT, AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME AS THE DECREE'S PASSAGE, SARG
OFFICIALS UNCOVERED HIGH-LEVEL TRAFFICKING-RELATED CORRUPTION
IN THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR'S IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT, WHICH
LED TO THE FIRING OF A NUMBER OF IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS AT
HIGH LEVELS. ALTHOUGH POST COULD NOT CORROBORATE THIS
REPORT, WE DID HEAR OF A WIDESPREAD SHAKE-UP IN THE
IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT IN LATE 2006. ADDITIONALLY, THE SARG
AUTHORIZED AN IOM COUNTER-TRAFFICKING CONFERENCE, WHICH WAS
CO-ORGANIZED WITH THE SYRIAN MINISTRY OF INTERIOR, THAT TOOK
PLACE IN FEBRUARY 2007. THE COMMISSION IS DRAFTING
COUNTER-TRAFFICKING LEGISLATION, WHICH IS EXPECTED TO GO TO
THE PEOPLES ASSEMBLY AFTER PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN APRIL.

7. (SBU) 27.C: LIMITATIONS ON THE SARG'S ABILITY TO ADDRESS
TRAFFICKING INCLUDE A LACK OF RELIABLE STATISTICS ON FOREIGN
MIGRATION TO SYRIA, A LACK OF WIDESPREAD AWARENESS ABOUT
TRAFFICKING, INCLUDING AMONG OFFICIALS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
OFFICERS, A LACK OF RESOURCES AND TECHNICAL CAPACITIES, AND
CORRUPTION.

8. (SBU) 27.D: MINISTRY OF INTERIOR OFFICIALS SAID DURING
THE FEBRUARY 2007 COUNTER-TRAFFICKING CONFERENCE THAT THEY DO
NOT SYSTEMATICALLY MONITOR COUNTER-TRAFFICKING. RATHER,
MINISTRY OFFICIALS MONITOR, FOR EXAMPLE, PROSTITUTION-RELATED
OFFENSES. TO POST'S KNOWLEDGE, NONE OF THE SARG'S
ASSESSMENTS RELATED TO TRAFFICKING ARE MADE AVAILABLE
PUBLICLY OR PRIVATELY.

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PREVENTION
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9. (SBU) 28.A: DURING AN IOM SEPTEMBER 2005
COUNTER-TRAFFICKING WORKSHOP, THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF THE
INTERIOR IBRAHIM AL-MOUSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED (AS NOTED ABOVE)
THAT SYRIA IS A TRANSIT COUNTRY FOR TRAFFICKING. DURING
IOM'S 2007 CONFERENCE, A MEMBER OF THE GOVERNMENT'S
COUNTER-TRAFFICKING COMMISSION LISTED SEVERAL LOCAL NEWSPAPER
REPORTS AS SUPPORT FOR THE COMMISSION'S WORK ON NEW
ANTI-TRAFFICKING LEGISLATION.

10. (SBU) 28.B: GOVERNMENT AGENCIES INVOLVED IN EFFORTS
THAT CONTRIBUTE TO ANTI-TRAFFICKING INCLUDE THE MINISTRIES OF
JUSTICE, INTERIOR, HIGHER EDUCATION, AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND
LABOR. EACH OF THESE MINISTRIES HAS A REPRESENTATIVE ON THE
SARG'S COUNTER-TRAFFICKING COMMITTEE. THE MINISTRY OF
INTERIOR HAS CO-SPONSORED THE PAST TWO IOM ABOVE-MENTIONED
CONFERENCES.

11. (SBU) 28.C: POST IS NOT AWARE OF ANY ANTI-TRAFFICKING
INFORMATION OR EDUCATION CAMPAIGNS.

12. (SBU) 28.D: THE SARG SUPPORTS A NUMBER OF PROGRAMS
WHICH SEEK TO EMPOWER THOSE SYRIANS MOST THEORETICALLY AT
RISK OF TRAFFICKING (ALTHOUGH THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT
SYRIANS ARE TRAFFICKED FROM SYRIA). MOST OF THESE PROGRAMS
ARE ADMINISTERED THROUGH THE SYRIAN WOMEN'S UNION (SWU), A

GOVERNMENT-AFFILIATED ORGANIZATION THAT MAINTAINS HEALTH
CLINICS AND OFFERS COUNSELING AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING
PROGRAMS FOR SYRIA WOMEN. SYRIA'S CONSTITUTION PROVIDES FOR
EQUALITY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN AND EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK.
MOREOVER, THE GOVERNMENT SOUGHT TO OVERCOME TRADITIONAL
DISCRIMINATORY ATTITUDES TOWARD WOMEN AND ENCOURAGED WOMEN'S
EDUCATION BY ENSURING EQUAL ACCESS TO EDUCATIONAL
INSTITUTIONS, INCLUDING UNIVERSITIES. ADDITIONALLY, THE
GOVERNMENT PROVIDED FREE, PUBLIC EDUCATION TO CITIZEN
CHILDREN FROM PRIMARY SCHOOL THROUGH UNIVERSITY. EDUCATION
IS COMPULSORY FOR ALL CHILDREN, MALE AND FEMALE, BETWEEN THE
AGES OF 6 AND 12. ACCORDING TO A 2005 JOINT STUDY BY THE
UNDP AND THE SYRIAN STATE PLANNING COMMISSION, 49.6 PERCENT
OF STUDENTS THROUGH THE SECONDARY LEVEL WERE FEMALE. THE
SARG PERMITS IRAQI CHILDREN DISPLACED BY THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ
TO ATTEND SYRIAN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR
FREE. SOME IRAQI CHILDREN IN SYRIA, HOWEVER, ARE PROBABLY
NOT ATTENDING SCHOOL, FOR FEAR OF DRAWING ATTENTION TO THEIR
FAMILY'S PRESENCE HERE OR FOR A LACK OF SCHOOL RECORDS AND
MONEY FOR INCIDENTALS.

13. (SBU) 28.E: POST IS NOT AWARE OF ANY
TRAFFICKING-SPECIFIC PROGRAMS OR RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN
GOVERNMENT ELEMENTS AND NGOS OR OTHER RELEVANT ORGANIZATIONS
TO COMBAT TRAFFICKING; HOWEVER, THE IOM AND OTHER EMBASSIES
HAVE STATED IN THE PAST THAT THE SARG HAS BEEN RESPONSIVE TO
AD HOC REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE ON TRAFFICKING-RELATED MATTERS.

14. (SBU) 28.E: THE GOVERNMENT MONITORS SYRIAS BORDERS
RELATIVELY CLOSELY, BUT SHARES IMMIGRATION AND MIGRATION
STATISTICS WITH NON-SARG OFFICIALS SELECTIVELY. POST IS NOT
AWARE OF CURRENT SCREENING FOR POTENTIAL TRAFFICKING VICTIMS
AT THE BORDER. IN 2006, IOM RECEIVED FUNDING FOR THE
TRAINING OF MINISTRY OF INTERIOR IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS, AS
WELL AS GOVERNMENT AUTHORIZATION TO CONDUCT THE TRAINING IN
2007. THE TRAINING CONTAINS A COUNTER-TRAFFICKING COMPONENT.

15. (SBU) 28.G: FOLLOWING IOM'S SEPTEMBER 2005 WORKSHOP,
THE SARG ISSUED DECREE 5114 ON THE CREATION OF A GOVERNMENT
COMMITTEE TO FORMULATE A COMPREHENSIVE DRAFT LAW TO COMBAT
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS AND TO DRAFT A SET OF RULES TO
REGULATE AGENCIES THAT RECRUIT FOREIGN WORKERS TO SYRIA.
POST IS NOT AWARE OF ANY OTHER ANTI-TRAFFICKING-IN-PERSONS
WORKING GROUP OR SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT. POST IS NOT AWARE
OF THE EXISTENCE OF AN ANTI-CORRUPTION TASK FORCE.

16. (SBU) 28.H: POST IS NOT AWARE OF A GOVERNMENT NATIONAL
PLAN TO ADDRESS TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS.

--------------------------------------------
INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS
--------------------------------------------

17. (SBU) 29.A: SYRIA HAS NO LAWS THAT SPECIFICALLY
PROHIBIT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS, ALTHOUGH THERE IS A 1961
ANTI-PROSTITUTION LAW THAT IMPOSES PUNISHMENT AND
INCRIMINATES BRINGING PEOPLE INTO THE COUNTRY FOR THE PURPOSE
OF PROSTITUTION, ACCORDING TO A STUDY COMPILED FOR IOM BY A
PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AT THE UNIVERSITY OF DAMASCUS'
FACULTY OF LAW. A SECURITY MOU SIGNED IN LATE 2006 BETWEEN
THE SYRIAN AND IRAQI GOVERNMENTS PLEDGES TO COUNTER
TRAFFICKING BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. TRAFFICKING IS NOT
SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED IN THE SYRIAN PENAL CODE, BUT THERE
ARE LEGAL TEXTS IN SYRIA THAT COULD FORM THE BASIS FOR
FURTHER LEGISLATION TO COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS,
ACCORDING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF DAMASCUS STUDY. THE SYRIAN
CONSTITUTION PROVIDES FOR REGULATION OF WORKING HOURS,
ACCORDING TO THE STUDY. DECREE 81 OF 2006 THAT REGULATES
DOMESTIC WORKER AGENCIES PROVIDES GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR
EMPLOYEE CONTACTS, STIPULATING THAT WORKER RIGHTS BE
RESPECTED, ESPECIALLY "PROVISION OF CLOTHING, FOOD, MEDICINE,
ACCEPTABLE PLACE FOR THE SLEEP AND REST OF THE WORKER AND
UNDERTAKING TO PAY OUT THE MONTHLY SALARY AT THE END OF EACH
MONTH AND ....SUFFICIENT PERIODS FOR REST AND ANNUAL LEAVE
AND NOT TO ABUSE OR BEAT HER UNDER THE THREAT OF JUDICIAL
PROSECUTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EXISTING LAWS AND
REGULATIONS."

18. (SBU) 29.B: POST IS NOT AWARE OF SPECIFIC PENALTIES
UNDER SYRIAN LAW FOR TRAFFICKING PEOPLE FOR SEXUAL
EXPLOITATION.

19. (SBU) 29.C: THERE ARE NO SPECIFIC ANTI-TRAFFICKING
LAWS. HOWEVER, THE 2006 DECREE STATES THAT DOMESTIC WORKER
AGENCIES THAT VIOLATE THE DEGREE WOULD BE PUNISHED IN
ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE 756 OF THE GENERAL PENAL CODE, WHICH
STIPULATES THAT VIOLATORS MAY BE IMPRISONED FOR AN

UNDETERMINED LENGTH OF TIME AND/OR FINED UP TO 100 SYRIAN
POUNDS (ABOUT USD TWO).

20. (SBU) 29.D: RAPE AND FORCIBLE SEXUAL ASSAULT ARE
ADDRESSED IN THE 1949 PENAL CODE; PENALTIES FOR SEX CRIMES
WERE REVISED IN 1985. THE MINIMUM SENTENCE FOR RAPE OR
SEXUAL ASSAULT IS THREE YEARS IMPRISONMENT; THE MAXIMUM
SENTENCE IS 15 YEARS--OR 21 YEARS IF THE VICTIM IS A MINOR
BETWEEN THE AGES OF 12 AND 15. IF THE VICTIM IS LESS THAN 12
YEARS OLD, THE MINIMUM SENTENCE IS 15 YEARS IMPRISONMENT.
HOWEVER, THE PERPETRATOR IS ABSOLVED OF ALL CRIMINAL GUILT IF
HE AGREES TO MARRY THE VICTIM. IF THE VICTIM IS TOO YOUNG
FOR MARRIAGE, THE RAPIST RECEIVES A LONGER PRISON SENTENCE.
FOR KIDNAPPING OF WOMEN, THE PENALTY IS IMPRISONMENT FOR
THREE TO SEVEN YEARS. THE PENALTY FOR DEFLOWERING A VIRGIN
IS FIVE YEARS. THE PENALTY FOR MOLESTATION OF A MINOR LESS
THAN FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE IS EIGHTEEN MONTHS' IMPRISONMENT.
FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO FACILITATE TRAVEL OF SYRIAN WOMEN ABROAD
TO WORK AS PROSTITUTES, ARTICLE 3 OF LAW 10 OF 1961
STIPULATES IMPRISONMENT OF ONE TO FIVE YEARS AND A FINE OF
1,000 TO 5,000 SYRIAN POUNDS (ABOUT USD $20 TO $100). IF
MORE THAN ONE VICTIM IS INVOLVED, OR IF THE VICTIM IS LESS
THAN 16 YEARS OLD OR IS A PAID SERVANT, THE MAXIMUM SENTENCE
INCREASES TO SEVEN YEARS.

21. (SBU) 29.E: PROSTITUTION IS ILLEGAL IN SYRIA. IN
ADDITION, THE SYRIAN PENAL CODES DEBAUCHERY LAW CRIMINALIZES
PROSTITUTION OF ANY KIND. PROSTITUTION IS DEFINED AS
OCCURRING WHEN ANY PERSON LURES, SEDUCES, INDUCES, ASSISTS
WITH, OR FACILITATES ANOTHER PERSONS COMMITMENT OF
FORNICATION OR ADULTERY. THE PENALTY FOR PROSTITUTION UNDER
THE PENAL CODE IS IMPRISONMENT FOR THREE MONTHS TO THREE
YEARS AND PAYMENT OF A FINE OF 1,000-3,000 SYRIAN POUNDS
(ABOUT $20-60). IN THE PAST, POST HAS RECEIVED ANECDOTAL
REPORTS THAT CABARETS WITH DANCERS WHO DOUBLE AS PROSTITUTES
OPERATE THROUGHOUT SYRIA WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF LOCAL POLICE
WHO ARE BRIBED TO IGNORE THE PROBLEM.

22. (SBU) 29.F: POST IS NOT AWARE OF INSTANCES IN WHICH
TRAFFICKERS HAVE BEEN PROSECUTED IN SYRIA.

23. (SBU) 29.G: IN THE AREA OF DOMESTIC WORKERS, BOTH
SYRIAN AND FOREIGN RECRUITMENT AGENCIES ILLEGALLY RECRUITED
ETHIOPIANS AND SOUTHEAST ASIANS TO COME TO SYRIA FOR
EMPLOYMENT. CABARETS REPORTEDLY ALSO USE LOCAL AND FOREIGN
AGENTS TO RECRUIT DANCERS. WE HAVE HEARD ANECDOTAL BUT
UNCONFIRMED EVIDENCE THAT IRAQI CRIMINAL GANGS MAY BE LINKED
TO THE TRAFFICKING OF IRAQI WOMEN TO AND THROUGH SYRIA FOR
PROSTITUTION. POST HAS NO EVIDENCE OF INVOLVEMENT BY
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN THESE ACTIVITIES OR OF HOW PROFITS
ARE CHANNELED.

24. (SBU) 29.H: GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HAVE SAID IN THE PAST
THEY ACTIVELY PURSUE ILLEGAL MIGRATION CASES. WHILE THEY HAVE
ASSISTED EMBASSIES AND THE IOM "BEHIND THE SCENES" WITH
TRAFFICKING-RELATED ISSUES, THERE IS NO PUBLIC RECOGNITION OF
THE PROBLEM OR PUBLICIZED GOVERNMENT STRATEGY TO ADDRESS IT.
IN THE PAST, WESTERN EMBASSIES HAVE PROVIDED TRAINING TO
SYRIAN OFFICIALS ON HOW TO RECOGNIZE, INVESTIGATE, AND
PREVENT ILLEGAL MIGRATION; THE TRAINING HAS NOT SPECIFICALLY
FOCUSED ON TRAFFICKING. POST IS NOT AWARE OF THE SPECIFIC
TECHNIQUES USED TO MONITOR THE BORDER OR OF LAWS THAT
PROHIBIT THE POLICE FROM ENGAGING IN COVERT OPERATIONS.

25. (SBU) 29.I: AS NOTED ABOVE, IOM HAS FUNDING AND
AUTHORIZATION TO TRAIN MINISTRY OF INTERIOR IMMIGRATION
OFFICIALS IN 2007 ON BORDER MANAGEMENT, INCLUDING A COMPONENT
ON TRAFFICKING.

26. (SBU) 29.J: THE GOVERNMENT HAS INFORMALLY DISCUSSED
INCIDENTS OF ILLEGAL MIGRATION WITH OTHER GOVERNMENTS THROUGH
THEIR EMBASSIES IN DAMASCUS AND HAS ASSISTED FOREIGN
EMBASSIES AND THE IOM WITH CASES INVOLVING TRAFFICKED
INDIVIDUALS. POST IS NOT AWARE OF ANY INSTANCES OF
COOPERATIVE INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIONS ON TRAFFICKING
SPECIFICALLY.

27. (SBU) 29.K: POST HAS NO INFORMATION ON EXTRADITION OF
TRAFFICKERS.

28. (SBU) 29.L: ALTHOUGH OFFICIAL POLICY IS THAT ALL
NON-ARAB VISITORS TO SYRIA MUST HAVE VISAS BEFORE ARRIVING,
IN THE PAST YOUNG INDONESIAN WOMEN WHO COME TO WORK AS
DOMESTIC HELPERS APPARENTLY REGULARLY RECEIVE VISAS ISSUED BY
MINISTRY OF INTERIOR OFFICIALS AT THE AIRPORT. IT IS NOT
CLEAR HOW THE RUMORED SHAKE-UP AT THE MINISTRY OF INTERIORS
IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT AND DECREE 81 WILL AFFECT THIS

PRACTICE. POST IS NOT AWARE OF ANY OTHER SARG INVOLVEMENT OR
TOLERANCE OF TRAFFICKING.

29. (SBU) 29.M: POST IS UNAWARE OF ANY EXAMPLES OF
TRAFFICKING-RELATED CORRUPTION BEING PROSECUTED, BUT NOTES
THE RECENT RUMORED FIRING OF IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS AT THE
MINISTRY OF INTERIOR.

30. (SBU) 29.N: POST IS NOT AWARE OF ANY CHILD SEX TOURISM
IN SYRIA.

31. (SBU) 29.O: SYRIA HAS SIGNED BUT NOT RATIFIED:

-- UN CONVENTION AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME AND
THE RELATED PROTOCOL TO PREVENT, SUPPRESS, AND PUNISH
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS, ESPECIALLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

SYRIA HAS SIGNED AND RATIFIED:

-- ILO CONVENTIONS 29 AND 105 ON FORCED OR COMPULSORY LABOR;

-- ILO CONVENTION 182 CONCERNING THE PROHIBITION AND
IMMEDIATE ACTION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF THE WORST FORMS OF
CHILD LABOR;

-- THE CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN 2002, WITH RESERVATIONS TO 15
ARTICLES;

-- CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD (BUT HAS NOT SIGNED
THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL ON THE SALE OF CHILDREN, CHILD
PROSTITUTION, AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY).

32. (SBU) 30.A: THE GOVERNMENT HAS LIMITED MEANS AND DOES
NOT HAVE DEDICATED SHELTERS FOR TRAFFICKING VICTIMS NOR DOES
IT PROVIDE COUNSELING OR LEGAL ASSISTANCE. SUCH SERVICES ARE
LIMITED IN SYRIA, AND ARE PRIMARILY PROVIDED THROUGH
RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AND CHARITY GROUPS. (FOR EXAMPLE,
POST IS AWARE THAT THE INDONESIAN EMBASSY HAS A SHELTER WITH
10 ROOMS ON ITS EMBASSY GROUNDS IN THE EVENT THAT A WOMAN
ESCAPES TO THE EMBASSY SEEKING ASSISTANCE.) JUVENILE VICTIMS
OF RAPE OR SEXUAL ASSAULT, AS WELL AS MINORS ACCUSED OF
PROSTITUTION, ARE HOUSED IN DEDICATED JUVENILE DETENTION
FACILITIES, WHICH PROVIDE HEALTH CARE AND VOCATIONAL
TRAINING. IOM IS SEEKING FUNDING TO TRAIN WORKERS FOR A
SHELTER FOR TRAFFICKING VICTIMS THAT WOULD BE ESTABLISHED BY
THE MINISTRY OF SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND LABOR. SEPARATELY, DURING
THE 2006 HIZBALLAH-ISRAEL CONFLICT, THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT
GRANTED ENTRY TO AND HELPED FACILITATE THE TEMPORARY STAY AND
THEN VOLUNTARY REPATRIATION OF AN ESTIMATED 13,000
THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS FROM A NUMBER OF COUNTRIES, ACCORDING
TO IOM. DIPLOMATIC CONTACTS IN SYRIA NOTE THAT SOME OF THESE
THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS WERE ILLEGAL WORKERS EMPLOYED IN
LEBANON.

33. (SBU) 30.B: ACCORDING TO EMBASSY SOURCES, THE SARG DOES
NOT PROVIDE FUNDING TO FOREIGN OR DOMESTIC NGOS FOR PROVISION
OF SERVICES TO VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING, ALTHOUGH IT DOES
SUPPORT THE SYRIAN WOMENS UNIONS EFFORTS TO PROVIDE
EMERGENCY RELIEF AND EDUCATION AND TRAINING TO WOMEN IN
SYRIA.

34. (SBU) 30.C: POST HAS NO INFORMATION ON THE TREATMENT OF
TRAFFICKED PERSONS WHO COME TO THE CUSTODY OF POLICE
OFFICIALS. POST IS NOT AWARE OF A REFERRAL PROCESS FOR
VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING.

35. (SBU) 30.D: THERE ARE NO SPECIFIC COUNTER-TRAFFICKING
LAWS IN SYRIA THAT PROVIDE FOR THE RIGHTS OF VICTIMS. POST
HAS NO SPECIFIC DETAILS ON THE TREATMENT OF VICTIMS.

36. (SBU) 30.E: POST IS NOT AWARE OF ANY EXAMPLES OF
VICTIMS PARTICIPATING IN THE INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF
TRAFFICKERS. DECREE 81 REQUIRES DOMESTIC WORKER AGENCIES TO
PUT DOWN A USD 1 MILLION GUARANTEE, WHICH SOME CONTACTS
ASSERT COULD BE USED FOR A VICTIM RESTITUTION PROGRAM.

37. (SBU) 30.F: POST HAS NO INFORMATION ABOUT THE
PROTECTION PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR VICTIMS AND
WITNESSES OF TRAFFICKING.

38. (SBU) 30.G: THERE IS NO SPECIALIZED TRAINING FOR SYRIAN
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN HOW TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO
TRAFFICKED VICTIMS. THERE IS NO TRAINING FOR SYRIAN EMBASSY
AND CONSULATE PERSONNEL SERVING ABROAD. WE ARE UNAWARE OF
ANY EFFORTS BY THE MFA TO ENCOURAGE EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES
TO DEVELOP ONGOING RELATIONSHIPS WITH ANY NGOS, INCLUDING

THOSE THAT SERVE TRAFFICKED VICTIMS.

39. (SBU) 30.H: POST IS UNAWARE OF INSTANCES OF SYRIANS
BEING TRAFFICKED. POST IS LIKEWISE UNAWARE OF GOVERNMENT
EFFORTS TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO ANY REPATRIATED SYRIAN
NATIONALS WHO ARE VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING.

40. (SBU) 30.I: THERE ARE VERY FEW INTERNATIONAL NGO'S
OPERATING IN SYRIA. RELIEF AND SOCIAL SERVICES ARE PROVIDED
BY THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED SYRIAN WOMEN'S UNION AND
RELIGIOUS AND CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS. THE IOM HAS WORKED
ON AN INFORMAL BASIS WITH TRAFFICKING VICTIMS WHO HAVE
CONTACTED THEIR OFFICES SEEKING ASSISTANCE. AS NOTED ABOVE,
IOM ALSO ORGANIZED WITH THE SYRIAN MINISTRY OF INTERIOR
COUNTER-TRAFFICKING WORKSHOPS IN SEPTEMBER 2005 AND FEBRUARY
2007 TO SUPPORT THE SARG IN EFFORTS TO DRAFT
COUNTER-TRAFFICKING LEGISLATION.
CORBIN

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