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Cablegate: Argentina: Working with Tip Activist Susana Trimarco

VZCZCXYZ0008
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0359/01 0801036
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY AD71C7A2 MSI8008-695)
R 201036Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0548

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000359

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION
G/TIP FOR FORSTRUM AND FLECK
G/IWI FOR RECHKEMMER
WHA/PPC FOR MILLER
WHA/BSC FOR DRUCKER, FRIEDMAN, MOSS, AND SHOWELL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB KCRM KWMN PHUM PREL SNAR SMIG KJUS ASEC AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: WORKING WITH TIP ACTIVIST SUSANA TRIMARCO

REF: BUENOS AIRES 352

1. (SBU) Summary. Ambassador Wayne and other Embassy officials
recently met with trafficking in persons (TIP) activist Susana
Trimarco. During the meeting, Trimarco was informed that the U.S.
Department of Defense's Southern Command had approved a $2500 grant
to assist her anti-TIP Foundation's efforts to assist trafficking
victims. The Ambassador also introduced her to Post's Office of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), explaining that ICE has
the lead on USG efforts to fight human trafficking and can be used
as a resource. (ICE has subsequently had several meetings with
Trimarco to discuss leads in trafficking networks.) Trimarco
briefed the Ambassador on her foundation's success in rescuing
trafficking victims. She noted her foundation's close collaboration
with the Gendarmerie and the Tucuman provincial police unit designed
to investigate TIP crimes. Trimarco expressed appreciation for
continued USG support for her efforts and invited the Embassy to
participate in a TIP conference to be held in May. She also told
the Ambassador that her foundation has applied for a G/TIP grant to
replicate their experiences working with the Tucuman police unit in
other provinces (Ref A).

2. (SBU) The Ambassador has subsequently raised the need to pass
anti-TIP legislation with Chief Cabinet Minister Alberto Fernandez,
Justice and Security Minister Anibal Fernandez, and several
legislators. Since the meeting, Poloff has also followed up with
Trimarco to identify concrete items the SOUTHCOM grant can provide
to furnish the foundation's victims assistance center that. End
Summary.

3. (SBU) On February 7, Ambassador Wayne met with trafficking in
persons activist Susana Trimarco and her assistant Andrea Romero.
The Ambassador began the meeting by introducing ICE Deputy Attach
Santiago Luna, Jr. and Assistant Attach Doug R. Freeman and
explained that ICE is the lead USG agency in the fight against human
trafficking. He suggested that Trimarco and her staff consider the
agency as a potential resource in their anti-TIP efforts,
particularly for cases they may discover that have a U.S. link.
(They have since met twice to develop and explore potential leads on
trafficking networks.)

4. (SBU) The Ambassador then introduced Military Group Commander
Colonel Joe Napoli. Col. Napoli informed Trimarco that the U.S.
Department of Defense's Southern Command approved a $2500 grant
through its Minimal Cost Project program to assist the Foundation's
efforts to assist trafficking victims. The Ambassador indicated
that the Embassy's TIP officer would work with Trimarco and the
Military Group to identify concrete items that the foundation needs
to furnish a victims assistance center.

5. (SBU) Trimarco thanked the Ambassador for the USG's continued
support of her efforts. She noted that her foundation was working
with other NGOs to organize a TIP conference in May in Mar del Plata
and invited the Embassy to participate. The Ambassador noted that
Argentina's National Ombudsmans' office had organized a similar
conference in September 2007, and that the Embassy helped to bring
an ICE agent to give a presentation on USG efforts to fight human
trafficking. He asked Trimarco to keep the Embassy informed on the
conference and offer suggestions on how the Embassy can help. She
thanked the Ambassador for his offer of assistance.

6. (SBU) Trimarco then briefed the Ambassador on her foundation's
accomplishments since its inauguration in October 2007. She stated
that her foundation has assisted local authorities in rescuing 78
victims who were either trafficked or at risk of being trafficked.
The oldest victim rescued was a 40 year-old woman, she noted, adding
that another victim, aged 30, had been rescued after seven years in
captivity. She stated that her foundation has worked with the
Gendarmerie (Argentina's Border Patrol) to successfully solve three
cases, including the dismantling of an organized crime network
involved in human, drug, and arms trafficking in Bajo Flores, Buenos
Aires province.

7. (SBU) Trimarco praised Gendarmerie's efforts to investigate TIP
crimes, including allegations of provincial police corruption. She
also reported that her foundation works closely with Tucuman
province's new special police unit for investigating crimes against
sexual integrity. She told the Ambassador that her foundation has
applied for a G/TIP grant to replicate their experiences working
with the Tucuman police unit in other provinces (Ref A). However,
she harshly criticized some elements of the Argentine Federal Police
and some provincial police for dismissing potential TIP cases as
simple "missing persons" cases, passing on false leads to family
members searching for their missing children, or claiming that the
missing persons left of their own volition.

8. (SBU) Finally, Trimarco noted that Argentine TV channel Telefe
will begin to air a new soap opera, called "Vidas Robadas" ("Stolen
Lives"), which is loosely based on her efforts to find her daughter

who is believed to have been kidnapped and trafficked into the
illicit sex trade. She indicated that she has served as a
consultant for the show.

9. (SBU) Ambassador subsequently raised the need to pass anti-TIP
legislation with Chief Cabinet Minister Alberto Fernandez, twice
with Justice and Security Minister Anibal Fernandez and with several
legislators. All said they expect the Senate version of pending TIP
legislation to pass the Chamber of
Deputies in the coming weeks.

10. (SBU) Poloff has maintained regular contact with Trimarco and
the Foundation, offering guidance on other government agencies and
NGOs that can assist her in her efforts to fight human trafficking.
Poloff has also followed up with Trimarco to to identify concrete
items the SOUTHCOM grant can provide to furnish the foundation's
victim assistance center.

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