Cablegate: 2007 Tip Report Handed Over

DE RUEHHI #1101/01 1641003
R 131003Z JUN 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


REF: A) STATE 78371
B) HANOI 393
C) HANOI 394
D) HANOI 402

HANOI 00001101 001.2 OF 002

1. (SBU) Summary: Poloff delivered the Vietnam TIP report country
narrative and Ref A talking points to the MFA on June 13. Our
interlocutor was pleased that the USG acknowledged the GVN's
progress on combating TIP during the reporting period, but
disappointed that more details on the GVN's strong commitment in
this area were not captured. The MFA official cited GVN efforts and
recently passed legislation in the labor trafficking arena, but
acknowledged that this is a "growth area" with more room for
progress and greater regulation. Although there is a will to draft
a new comprehensive law on anti-TIP, at this time there is not a
way, as the GVN is heavily focused on numerous legislative and
regulatory requirements with regard to WTO compliance, as well as
overall economic development. As a result, the National Assembly
has shelved this for now. The GVN is in negotiation with the Royal
Thai Government on an important anti-TIP MOU, which they hope will
be signed later this year. Ratification of the Palermo Protocol is
still in the cards. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Poloff delivered Ref A TIP Report Country Narrative for
Vietnam and talking points to MFA Consular Department Deputy
Director General Truong Xuan Thanh on June 13. Thanh told Poloff
that he and members of his staff had already read the Vietnam
country narrative and compared it with last year's TIP report. He
thanked us for acknowledging Vietnam's progress on anti-trafficking
in this year's report, but overall he felt that the USG did not
"capture the GVN's total commitment" and all its diverse efforts to
combat trafficking and meet the "USG standard." The USG has a "very
difficult" standard to meet for a "developing country" still
focusing heavily on basic needs and economic development, Thanh

3. (SBU) Poloff explained the legislative background and requirement
of the TIP report, and that not all of the GVN's efforts and
legislation that we report back to Washington are necessarily
captured in the abbreviated country narrative. Rather, the country
narrative highlights focus areas with the intention to engender
progress and partnership. Thanh noted that part of the reason for
discrepancies could also be that the GVN does more to combat
trafficking than it publicly acknowledges.

4. (SBU) Thanh stressed, nevertheless, that the GVN is
"highly-committed" to combating TIP, labor trafficking and sex
tourism, and his office spends a great deal of time solely on these
issues. Thanh cited: the GVN's recent "Decision No. 17" on boosting
TIP victim assistance; "Decision No. 05/2007" on labor export
brokerage fee ceiling rates; the new Export Labor Law; recent steps
to strengthen Vietnam's compliance with the "Optional Protocol on
the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
(OPSC);" development of a sex-tourism unit within the Ministry of
Public Security; and a pending anti-TIP MOU with the Royal Thai
Government (RTG) (Note: Thanh thought this MOU, currently under
negotiation, could be signed with the RTG by the "end of the
summer." End Note.)

5. (SBU) In particular, the MFA is pushing for greater GVN
inter-agency cooperation and coordination on combating TIP, and that
victim assistance had been one "success area," Thanh continued.
Compliance with international law is another focus area. Passage of
the new Export Labor Law was not enough, and Thanh admitted that the
GVN would need to both strictly enforce the new law and make it even
more comprehensive in the future.

6. (SBU) Thanh explained that when Vietnam opened the door to global
economic integration and a market economy, labor exploitation was
one of the results. Although South Korea, Japan, the Middle East
and Malaysia have a "great demand" for foreign workers, Vietnamese
labor exports are still relatively small and do not attract enough
government attention. Furthermore, Vietnamese workers still "lack
many of the skills" for the often high-tech requirements in these
labor markets. Nonetheless, this is a growing issue, and Thanh
noted recent demand for foreign workers in Africa's agriculture
sector. The GVN's methodology in the labor export arena should be
to: establish a detailed labor export regulatory system; sign
bilateral labor agreements with destination countries; and, focus on
training in skill gaps, capacity and required foreign languages,
especially English, Thanh explained.

7. (SBU) On the subject of international marriage brokering, the GVN
acknowledges that this is a dilemma due to the economic
circumstances of many young Vietnamese women in rural areas and the
family pressure to "marry a foreigner to be able to send money
home." Many young women, in rural Vietnam especially, "dream" of
being able to help their families in this way. Some of the problems

HANOI 00001101 002.2 OF 002

with regard to marriage deception and entrapment also relate to a
loose regulation of the brokering industry and the fact that
Vietnamese women only have to get permission from local authorities
to marry abroad and get a marriage certificate. There is "no
national component." The GVN could better address this area by
focusing, once again, on establishing policies and procedures in
close cooperation with destination countries, such as Taiwan and
South Korea, Thanh said.

8. (SBU) In response to PolOff's question, Thanh said that there are
GVN immigration regulations and policy procedures in place to avoid
situations of "statelessness" for those Vietnamese women and their
children who return home after a failed marriage or widowhood (but
before they were able to acquire their husband's citizenship). They
can regain their Vietnamese citizenship and legal rights, Thanh
stated. (Note: Contrary to Thanh's assertion, there are in fact
many women and children who face this very situation. End Note.)

9. (SBU) Poloff asked about the current debate within the GVN on
drafting a new comprehensive anti-trafficking law for Vietnam and
GVN ratification of the UNTOC and its Anti-TIP Supplemental
Protocol. Thanh said that there is a will to pass a comprehensive
anti-TIP law, but that the GVN is currently overwhelmed with more
pressing priorities, especially development of a regulatory
environment to comply with its new membership in the WTO. So this
has been "shelved by the National Assembly" for now. With regard to
ratification of the UNTOC and Palermo Protocol, Thanh sees this
happening within the next year.

10. (SBU) In conclusion, Thanh stated that the MFA believes the
State Department's annual TIP report is "very useful." He would
like to expand the flow of "accurate and updated" information
between Embassy Hanoi and the MFA on TIP and would welcome further
information on USG strategies for combating labor trafficking and
regulating labor exports.


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