Cablegate: Iom Praises Gob Anti-Trafficking Efforts; Launches
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #0165 0731359
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131359Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7675
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE 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 000165
STATE FOR NEA AND G/TIP
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/13/2018
TAGS: PHUM KWMN PGOV ECON BA
SUBJECT: IOM PRAISES GOB ANTI-TRAFFICKING EFFORTS; LAUNCHES
Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a nine-month program in Bahrain working with the government to strengthen its capacity for dealing with trafficking in persons and to raise awareness of this issue. In a roundtable discussion between stakeholders and government representatives all sides openly voiced their concerns and showed a willingness to increase cooperation to counteract trafficking. An IOM official said that Bahrain was ahead of other Gulf states on combating trafficking and that he assessed the government was moving in the right direction. End summary.
2.(U) IOM opened an office in Manama and launched a nine-month anti-trafficking program on March 11 in cooperation with government ministries and other stakeholders. As part of the "Capacity Building and Awareness Raising on Counter-Trafficking in Bahrain" program, IOM will assist the GOB in expanding its capacity to deal with human trafficking (to include establishing a database of victims), as well as encouraging cooperation between the government and stakeholders and raising awareness of the problem.
3.(C) IOM followed the launch with a roundtable discussion on March 12, which was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and included regional and local IOM representatives, members of the diplomatic community and civil society, and representatives from GOB bodies involved in the intergovernmental committee established by the new anti-trafficking law. MFA Undersecretary Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa emphasized that the GOB is working to solve the problem of trafficking in persons not because of outside pressure, but because of its conviction that it is the right thing to do. Muhammad Shahidulhaque, IOM's Middle East regional representative, facilitated the discussion along with the Undersecretary, allowing each representative to address key concerns. The primary topics of dicussion included language barriers between victims and those providing assistance (such as counselors and law enforcement officials), the importance of encouraging victims to report incidents of trafficking or abuse, promoting awareness of trafficking particularly to homemakers, and the importance of registering workers at the point of entry. IOM plans additional workshops on shelter management, law enforcement, and victim identification. Bahrain's Royal Police Academy announced the inclusion of a new trafficking module in its standard training program. Shahidulhaque praised GOB efforts as a model for other GCC countries. (Note: Shahidulhaque pulled poloff aside after the session to say that the dialogue was "better than expected" and that he was pleased with the outcome. End note.)
4.(C) Shahidulhaque was even more effusive in his praise of GOB anti-trafficking efforts in a March 11 meeting with Ambassador. He lauded the new anti-trafficking law as an example for other Gulf states and expressed his belief that Bahrain was out ahead of its neighbors in dealing with the issue. He also noted that Bahrain was the first Gulf country to allow IOM to implement an anti-trafficking project. While he recognized that there is work yet to do, Shahidulhaque said that the GOB was moving in the right direction.
5.(C) Comment: Momentum is accelerating within the GOB for dealing with trafficking more systematically and aggressively. Enactment of the anti-trafficking law in January was an important step in the right direction. Law enforcement agencies now have a legal mandate to prosecute trafficking, and IOM's project will enhance their victim identification capabilities.
6.(C) Comment continued: It will be important to recognize this newfound momentum and encourage the GOB to intensify its efforts, particularly if it is to generate the political will necessary to pursue Bahrainis involved in trafficking crimes. Moving Bahrain to Tier 2 Watchlist would send a message that the USG has noticed progress, but that we are not yet fully satisfied that the GOB has done all it can do. The ball is rolling; a gentle nudge is our best bet to get it over the hump. ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ******** ERELI