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Cablegate: Sri Lanka: Tip Interim Assessment

VZCZCXRO7293
OO RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #1546/01 3191013
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151013Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7187
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4117
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1559
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 8113
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2448
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001546

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS, NEA/RA,G (ACBLANK) AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KCRM KWMN PHUM SMIG CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: TIP INTERIM ASSESSMENT

REF: STATE 147242

COLOMBO 00001546 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) After meeting with numerous officials from
throughout the GSL, Post assesses that the Government
acknowledges the trafficking problem in Sri Lanka and is
committed to addressing it. However, resource constraints, a
lack of coordination among concerned ministries, and systemic
problems with the judicial system make tackling TIP a
challenge for the GSL. The following is a summary of the
GSL's progress on TIP:

Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions
----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) The GSL has launched a criminal investigation of
the recruitment agent responsible for sending Rizanna Nafeek
abroad when she was underage. Nafeek was sentenced to death
in Saudi Arabia for allegedly killing a child under her care.
After intervention from the GSL, though, the sentence was
commuted to five years' imprisonment. The GSL is also
investigating a subagent involved in a case where three
Muslim children were trafficked abroad. We are unable to
obtain a total number of investigations launched in 2007 from
the police or a total number of trafficking cases prosecuted
in 2007 from the Attorney General's office. Therefore, we
are unable to assess whether the GSL has increased the
overall number of investigations and prosecutions from 2006
to 2007. (Note: This lack of information stems from the fact
that trafficking crimes are not disaggregated from other
criminal violations. At present, accurate figures on
trafficking-related investigations and prosecutions are not
kept.)

Instituting a Formal Victim Identification Procedure
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. (SBU) The GSL has no formal victim identification
procedure. GSL law enforcement training programs currently
do not include TIP-specific training on victim
identification. The International Organization for Migration
(IOM) has just begun a U.S.-funded program which includes the
establishment of a case tracking database, which will help
with victim identification and tracking and provide law
enforcement training on victim identification. Fifty police
officers will participate, and they in turn will train
another 500 officers.

Ensuring Victims are Not Punished for Acts
Committed as a Result of Being Trafficked
--------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Without an effective victim identification system,
it is difficult to asses whether trafficking victims are
being punished for trafficking related crimes. However, in
the high-profile Rizanna Nafeek case, the GSL interceded on
Nafeek's behalf to prevent her from being put to death as
punishment for a crime committed after being trafficked. The
GSL sent a high level delegation to Saudi Arabia to lobby the
Saudi Government on her behalf and assisted with legal fees
to fund an appeal of her case.

Improving Services Offered to Trafficking Victims
--------------------------------------------- ----

5. (SBU) The GSL runs five "certified schools" to
rehabilitate children trafficked for sex work. The schools,
located in Makola, Ranmuthugala, Hikkaduwa, Hantana and
Keppetipola, offer counseling and vocational training to
victims. In addition, the GSL operates 13 women's
rehabilitation centers which offer shelter and counseling
services to victims of domestic abuse. Repatriated
trafficking victims are also counseled at these centers. In
July 2007, a shelter for female victims of violence,
including women who were abused during overseas employment,
was opened in Kalutara, 30 km south of Colombo.

Other Developments
-------------------

6. (SBU) Other GSL efforts to combat TIP include:

-The Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB), the authorizing

COLOMBO 00001546 002.2 OF 002


authority for all Sri Lankans traveling abroad on work visas,
has been stepping up efforts to ensure that Sri Lankan
workers are given legitimate employment opportunities abroad.
As of August 2007, all foreign employment contracts must be
signed by the FEB, the worker, and the recruitment agent in
the presence of an FEB officer. This procedure allows the
FEB officer to ensure that the worker understands the terms
of the contract and permits closer scrutiny of agents and
subagents. The FEB also provides training prior to departing
for foreign employment for prospective workers who want it.
The instruction now focuses on performing domestic tasks and
dealing with financial transactions and transfers, but there
is also content to increase awareness of trafficking risks.

-The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) conducts a
community awareness program on TIP in partnership with the
FEB. The NCPA visits 23 vocational training centers
throughout the country to speak to girls who are potentially
seeking foreign employment. Their program outlines possible
problems with foreign employment and the dangers of underage
recruitment.

-The GSL signed a memorandum of understanding on migrant
labor with the United Arab Emirates in July 2007. Additional
MOUs are currently being negotiated with Libya and Italy,
according to the Foreign Employment Ministry.

-The Sri Lanka Police Women's and Children's Bureau Director
participated in Ambassador's October 18 media launch of a
State/USAID-funded anti-trafficking program implemented by
IOM. He voiced strong commitment to fighting human
trafficking and to achieving greater coordination on TIP
within the GSL.

-The GSL, with support from IOM, plans to co-host a TIP
meeting in mid-December. The meeting will bring together GSL
officials from various offices, including the Attorney
General's office, the Sri Lanka Police, the Ministry of
Foreign Employment, the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and
Child Development, the Foreign Employment Bureau, and the
National Child Protection Authority, as well as
representatives from interested NGOs and embassies, to
discuss the formulation of a national policy on TIP. This
exercise will help raise public awareness of TIP trafficking
problems and will be a starting point for achieving greater
coordination of TIP efforts within the GSL. The Ministry of
Women's Empowerment and Child Development has committed to
taking the lead in establishing an interagency working group
on TIP.
BLAKE

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