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Cablegate: Bahrain Enacts Anti-Trafficking Law

VZCZCXRO1482
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #0014 0141459
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 141459Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7524
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000014

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR G/TIP AND NEA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/14/2018
TAGS: PHUM PREL KWMN ELAB SMIG BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAIN ENACTS ANTI-TRAFFICKING LAW

REF: A. 07 MANAMA 1097
B. 07 MANAMA 1084

Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(U) King Hamad January 9 ratified Bahrain's comprehensive anti-trafficking law, giving it immediate effect.

2.(U) Although trafficking-related offenses have long been illegal in Bahrain under conventional vice, labor, and anti-slavery statutes, the new law for the first time treats trafficking in persons as an offense in and of itself. Persons convicted under the new law will face jail time and a fine of not less than BD 2,000 and not more than BD 10,000 (approximately USD 5,300 and 26,500). Non-Bahrainis convicted of trafficking offenses will also be subject to deportation. The new law also provides for a fine of not less than BD 10,000 and not more than BD 100,000 (approximately USD 26,500 and 265,000) for a corporate entity when one of its executives or employees is convicted of trafficking for the benefit of the business or on its behalf. This provision is aimed at the employment agencies and middlemen who are often involved in procuring third-country labor.

3.(U) The new law provides that during investigation of alleged trafficking incidents, the authorities are obliged to undertake a number of steps to safeguard trafficking victims: --Inform the victim of his/her legal rights in a language he/she understands; --Allow the victim to explain his/her status as a trafficking victim, as well as his/her legal, physical, psychological, and social status; --Allow the victim to be examined by a physician; --Admit the victim to a rehabilitation/care center if his/her physical or psychological state requires; --Admit the victim to a care center where a room is guaranteed if it appears he/she needs shelter; --Provide for the victim's physical security; --Refer the victim's case to the "Committee for Evaluating the Status of Foreign Victims of Trafficking" if the victim is a foreigner and needs to work. (Note: The law also created the Committee. End note.)

4.(C) Comment: The law is an important accomplishment for Bahrain. It was at the top of the list of action items that G/TIP Ambassador Mark Lagon recommended to the GOB during his September 2007 visit here (ref B). Bahrain has also taken a number of other steps at the urging of the USG to combat trafficking, such as opening a government-run shelter, setting up an anti-trafficking unit within the Ministry of Interior, and working with IOM to provide training for law enforcement personnel and a jointly-organized trafficking awareness symposium. Our top priority now is to push the GOB to go after traffickers aggressively and prosecute them under the new law. ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ******** ERELI

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