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Cablegate: Burma Inks New Tip National Action Plan

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RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGO #0113/01 0440934
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130934Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7177
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1728
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0898
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 4765
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2006
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RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 1378
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 0217
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3508
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1330
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000113

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS; G/TIP
PACOM FOR FPA
BANGKOK FOR ECON - MIKE HEATH
TREASURY FOR OASIA:SCHUN
GENEVA FOR LABOR ATTACHE

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: PHUM KWMN KCRM KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB SMIG BM
SUBJECT: BURMA INKS NEW TIP NATIONAL ACTION PLAN

RANGOON 00000113 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary. The GOB on February 4 signed a new five-year
National Action Plan against Trafficking in Persons, showing renewed
commitment to combating TIP in Burma. The five-year plan, which
lays out GOB priorities for 2007-2011, was then approved by both the
Cabinet and Senior Generals on February 7. Head of the Police
Office against Transnational Crime Colonel Sit Aye identified the
GOB's priorities in 2008, which include conducting various training
courses, improving support services provided to victims, raising
public awareness, implementing the National Action Plan, and
improving coordination with China and Thailand on cross-border TIP
issues. End summary.

Strengthening the COMMIT Process
--------------------------------

2. (SBU) Trafficking in persons is a significant problem in Burma,
and the Burmese become more vulnerable to trafficking as the
country's economy deteriorates. Burma is a source country for
women, children, and men trafficked both domestically and across
borders to Thailand, China, and Malaysia for the purposed of forced
labor and commercial sex exploitation. The GOB in 2005 passed its
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law and has taken steps in recent years
to improve the ability of relevant government offices - the national
police anti-TIP task force and the Department of Social Welfare - to
focus on the prevention of TIP, protection of victims of TIP, and
prosecution of traffickers. According to Colonel Sit Aye, Head of
the Police Office against Transnational Crime, the GOB in 2007
investigated 236 TIP-related cases, identified 237 traffickers and
arrested 174 of them, prosecuted 18 cases, and convicted 31 people
of violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons law.

3. (SBU) Since 2004, the Burmese Government has participated in
the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking
(COMMIT), led by UNIAP. The COMMIT process attempts to better
coordinate anti-trafficking programs and policies among the six
countries in the greater Mekong region - China, Burma, Vietnam,
Thailand, Lao, and Cambodia. During the first two years, the GOB's
political commitment to COMMIT was not as strong as the other
countries' due to the lack of understanding of TIP, a well as denial
that it was an issue in Burma. As a result, the GOB fell behind in
implementing many of COMMIT activities. In the past two years,
according to UNIAP officials, the GOB has made strides to improve
its coordination with COMMIT, adopting ways to improve monitoring
and evaluation of the counter-TIP program.

4. (SBU) The best example of the GOB's renewed commitment to
anti-trafficking is the recent signing of a five-year National
Action Plan against Trafficking, Matt Friedman, Regional Project
Manager of UNIAP, told us. On February 4, the Minister of Home
Affairs inked the agreement, which was later approved by the Cabinet
and Senior Generals on February 7, 2008. According to Colonel Sit
Aye, the GOB began the process of drafting the five-year plan in
2006. In March 2007, the GOB met with UN agencies and NGOs to
review the plan and obtain guidance on how to best tackle the
trafficking problem. After taking into account these perspectives,
as well the various GOB ministries' priorities, it finalized the
National Action Plan (NAP), which will go into effect by March 2008,
Sit Aye concluded.

2008 Priorities
---------------

5. (SBU) As part of the NAP, the GOB established a workplan for
activities in 2008, which has not been made public. Although its

RANGOON 00000113 002.2 OF 002


plans are ambitious, Sit Aye observed, the GOB ministries - Home
Affairs and Social Welfare - can fulfill them, bringing Burma more
in line with the other Mekong countries. In 2008, the GOB will:

--conduct various training courses, including train the trainers
courses and multiplier courses for police, social workers,
prosecutors, and judges. Focus on how to improve support services
provided to victims;

--participate in regional training courses under the COMMIT
program;

--begin implementation of the National Action Plan, including
coordinating with various ministries on how to establish monitoring
mechanisms for NAP programs;

--continue working with the Governments of Thailand and China to
establish MOUs on cross-border cooperation. Expand border liaison
offices to new regions, such as Kachin State; and

--raise public awareness of trafficking and strengthen measures to
reduce vulnerability to trafficking.

Comment
-------

6. (SBU) The Burmese people continue to face economic hardship,
caused primarily by the GOB's gross mismanagement of the economy.
As their economic plight worsens, women and children particularly
become more vulnerable to trafficking. While the GOB officials we
met with recognize the problem, they have no authority to solve the
underlying causes of trafficking. So instead they must focus on how
to rescue victims of trafficking and improve coordination with
neighboring governments to target trafficking activities. The
National Action Plan is a step in the right direction, providing the
GOB agencies with a framework in which to improve their ability to
counter trafficking. While the GOB's 2008 workplan is ambitious,
improved efforts will benefit victims and help prevent others from
becoming victims. We have plenty to criticize the Burmese
government about. However, this is one area where we can
acknowledge efforts being made to protect its citizens.

VILLAROSA

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