Cablegate: Afghanistan's Tip Solicitations for G/Tip-Managed Fy 2008


DE RUEHBUL #0615/01 0710517
R 110517Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 07 STATE 161503

1. Post has received four proposals and submits summary information

2. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) requests USD
234,014 for a "Prevention of Human Trafficking in Vulnerable
Provinces" project to last 12 months.

Recognizing that one of the major reasons for the prevalence of
human trafficking in Afghanistan is the lack of awareness of the
issue among the general population, IOM intends to launch an
awareness campaign, targeting key areas bordering Pakistan, Iran and
Tajikistan where people are particularly vulnerable to trafficking.
The proposed project will mobilize community members, including
government officials, religious leaders and social workers, in a
joint effort to combat the crime through roundtable discussions.
IOM will also build the capacity of local media and support the
production of counter-trafficking media spots for nationwide

The specific activities proposed in this project are as follows:
- To organize a total of five roundtable discussions in Kunduz,
Mazar-i-Sharif, Nangarhar, Paktya and Herat for the representatives
of concerned governmental agencies, religious leaders, social
workers and members of mass media in order to raise their awareness
of human trafficking and to encourage them to join forces to combat
this crime.
- To organize two training sessions for teachers from Kabul, Kunduz
and Mazar-i-Sharif
- To launch a Youth Volunteers Movement against human trafficking
- To train members of the most popular TV and Radio stations and
print media on human trafficking issues in Afghanistan

The project will generate the following results:
- Approximately 250 government officials, religious leaders, social
workers and members of mass media in five provinces with high
prevalence of trafficking will receive comprehensive information
about trafficking in persons,
- A total of 600 teachers, or 200 from each of the three provinces,
will attend training sessions and gain information about human
- A total of 450 students will be trained on trafficking issues and
the Youth Volunteers Movement against human trafficking will be
- A total of 100 members of mass media will be trained in Kabul and
engaged in the counter-trafficking information campaign.

3. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) requests USD
490,024 for a "Measures to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons
in Afghanistan" project to last 24 months.

While Afghanistan signed and subsequently ratified the United
Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on 24
September 2003, the Trafficking Protocol has not yet been signed or
ratified. A country of origin, destination and transit, Afghanistan
still does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons and due
to cultural mores, some victims of trafficking continue to be
arrested or otherwise punished for prostitution and morality crimes.
However, the Ministry of Justice is in the process of drafting an
anti-trafficking law that will be submitted to Parliament in mid

Thus, this project aims to complement the impending anti-trafficking
legislation to strengthen the capacity of the government and the
responses of the judiciary, prosecutors, law enforcement as well as
civil society to adopt policies to prevent as well as investigate,
prosecute, consider and adjudicate cases of human trafficking.

Carried out in line with the requirements of the Trafficking
Protocol and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized
Crime, the project will create a comprehensive legal framework and
an effective institutional structure to prevent and combat human
trafficking in Afghanistan by establishing a pool of national
experts of the judiciary, prosecutors, law enforcement and civil
society to make up a National Commission to Combat Human
Trafficking. UNODC will support this Commission to deal with all
human trafficking related issues and to coordinate all project
activities among the key stakeholders of the project. This body
will be responsible for developing, reviewing, and monitoring
counter-trafficking strategies and action plans and responsible for
guiding and monitoring its effective implementation, including a
National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.

Based on a situational analysis and legislative assessment,
specialized multi-disciplinary training will be developed and
provided to the judiciary, prosecutors, law enforcement and members
of civil society at the provincial level to establish specialized
task forces to combat trafficking.

4. The All Afghan Women Union (AAWU) requests USD 443,432 for a
"Tackling Trafficking of Violence-affected Women in Afghanistan"
project to last 12 months.

This project will create a shelter in Kabul for women and children
victims of trafficking, focusing on former women prisoners in need
of protection who are the most vulnerable to trafficking. There are
currently four shelters in Kabul, a city of some 4 million people,
but these shelters prefer not to house former prisoners. With the
goal of accommodating 50 to 60 people and tracking their progress as
they return to society leading productive lives, the shelter plans
to provide health and psychiatric counseling; life-skills and
vocational training through literacy and other courses such as in
tailoring, handicrafts, embroidery, and carpet weaving; a nurturing
environment to rebuild self-esteem; and to raise awareness of
trafficking risks to prevent these women from becoming victims
again. Many Afghan women find themselves in prison for refusing
forced marriages, as a result of accusations by the husband or their
own family. A woman who spends a night away in jail is thought to
bring shame on the family, and in some cases the family will not
allow them to rejoin the family after they are released from
incarceration. Furthermore, due to cultural mores, some victims of
trafficking continue to be arrested for prostitution and moral
crimes. Consequently, these women easily fall into the hands of
traffickers after their release, with the promise of a job or
getting out of the country. They are either trafficked to Iran,
Pakistan, Gulf countries or sold domestically. There are more than
200 women in prison at any one time. Helping to break the vicious
cycle of trafficking, this shelter fills a gap that addresses the
need of helping women, who have been incarcerated as a result of
forced marriages, to transition back to society and prevent them
from becoming victims of trafficking again.

5. The Afghan Women Skills Development Centre (AWSDC) requests USD
439,879 for a "Alliance-building to Combat Women Trafficking in
Afghanistan" project to last 12 months.

In assessing the trafficking issue in Afghanistan, one has to
examine the geographic location, social, political and economic
conditions and the living setup of its people.
Afghanistan is located astride the land routes between the Indian
subcontinent, Iran, and central Asia. It is bordered by Pakistan,
Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran. Despite the
progress of the past few years, Afghanistan remains extremely poor,
landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid, farming, and trade
with neighboring countries. It will probably take the remainder of
the decade and continuing donor aid and attention to raise
Afghanistan's living standards up from its current status among the
lowest in the world. Much of the population continues to suffer
from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care,
and jobs, but the Afghan government and international donors remain
committed to improving access to these basic necessities by
prioritizing infrastructure development, education, housing
development, jobs programs, and economic reform.
Afghanistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men,
women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual
exploitation and involuntary servitude. Afghan children are
trafficked internally and to Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and
Zimbabwe for commercial sexual exploitation, forced marriage to
settle debts or disputes, forced begging, debt bondage, service as
child soldiers, or other forms of involuntary servitude. Afghan
women are trafficked internally and to Pakistan and Iran for
commercial sexual exploitation, and men are trafficked to Iran for
forced labor. Afghanistan is also a destination for women and girls
from China, Iran, and Tajikistan trafficked for commercial sexual
exploitation. Tajik women and children are also believed to be
trafficked through Afghanistan to Pakistan and Iran for commercial
sexual exploitation. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons
Report, June, 2007

Status of women in the Afghan society is different from others
because the Afghan women have a "layered" identity. She has a Muslim
identity together with her Afghan identity. This implies that her
life and position is conditioned and influenced by customary,
religious and national norms, laws, rules and regulations. Most
often, however, the reality is that her status under Ananat
(customary laws) supersede both religious and national laws. +One
comes across practices relating to Afghan women that would fail the
test of compatibility with many provisions of Islamic law as well as
the constitution and other statutory laws of the country.

The secondary position of the Afghan woman becomes apparent from the
moment she is born. Celebrations accompany the birth of a boy,
while and the birth of girl is greeted with complete silence. Women
are , by and large, excluded from inheritance in general and landed
property in particular. Before marriage a woman's property remains
with brothers and after marriage the husband is responsible for all
dealings regarding property. In a few families, women have some
rights. Where women are educated, own property; they can decide
other important decisions of their lives.

It is an established fact that women are not free under customs and
local traditions. She is considered the property of her male family
members (father, brother, husband). Sometimes, brides become the
property of a husband's male hierarchy, especially in case of
bride-price. The custom of Toyana (bride price) exists in almost
all parts of the country. This practice becomes a source or means
of exploitation for those involved in human trafficking business.

After getting married, a women's "ownership" is transferred to her
husband's family which then assumes total control of her life. Even
if she is widowed, she still remains the property of her husband's
male family members or the head of the tribe and any man desirous of
marrying her is required to deal with them. A man wanting to marry
a widow needs to get permission from male in-laws of the widow and
has to pay back Toyana. On the other hand if they fail to seek
permission for their marriage, the head of the deceased husband's
family is considered justified in starting an enmity with the
proposing person. In some tribes if a widow has daughter or
daughters, the price will be on the basis of the number of the
daughter(s). In some of the tribes the bride price is fixed on the
basis of clan, cast, weight, and now even on academic qualification.
e.g. doctor, teacher, etc.

When marriages are decided on the bases of Toyana, then dissolution
of marriage by divorce is almost impossible due to the concept of
honor of the man attached to it, coupled with money invested by him.
The practice of Toyana reduces women's status to a mere commodity
and as a matter of property or ownership issue.

In the practice of Toyana, a general psyche based on the concept of
investment is observed that looks for benefits that have a price
tag. If the property has to undergo change for some reason or
another, monetary returns are also considered as an essential
pre-requisite. This very element becomes a key to exploitation of
women into crimes such as sale of women for forced prostitution,
bounded labour, drug carriers etc.


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