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Cablegate: Panama: Fm Satisfied with Tip Report

VZCZCXYZ0187
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #0996 1641654
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131654Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0607

UNCLAS PANAMA 000996

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP, WHA/CEN, WHA/PPC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN PREL PGOV SMIG KPAO PM
SUBJECT: PANAMA: FM SATISFIED WITH TIP REPORT

REF: STATE 78794

1. (SBU) "The 2007 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report does
not look too different from last year's report. That is good
to see," said First Vice President and Foreign Minister
Samuel Lewis after Ambassador delivered reftel demarche on
June 11. Ambassador noted the report acknowledged positive
steps Panama had taken to fight trafficking, including the
first conviction of a TIP-related offender and an ongoing
public awareness campaign. Lewis said it was good to see
that Panama received a Tier Two rating again this year.
(Note: Panama first appeared in the TIP report in 2004 and
has received a Tier Two rating since then. End note.)

2. (SBU) Ambassador discussed ways Panama could continue to
improve its anti-trafficking record, including dedicating
additional resources and ending the alternadora visa program.
Lewis did not comment on these ideas. He said he
appreciated receiving an advance copy of the report, and
anticipated there would be significant press coverage of it.

3. (SBU) Comment: Trafficking continues to be a sensitive
subject for Panama. Lewis' relief at having missed Tier Two
Watchlist status was apparent. Post will continue to engage
with the GOP on this issue, using the progress noted in the
2007 report as a departure point for additional efforts and
cooperation.
EATON

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