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Cablegate: Tunisia -- 2008 Tip Report

VZCZCXYZ1267
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTU #0206/01 0661059
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061059Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4537
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAWJB/DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS TUNIS 000206

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/TIP (PATEL), G, INL, DRL (KLARMAN), PRM, NEA/RA
(CHATTERJI) AND NEA/MAG (HARRIS AND HOPKINS)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB KCRM KFRD KWMN PHUM PREF SMIG ASEC TU

SUBJECT: TUNISIA -- 2008 TIP REPORT

REF: A. 03/03/2008 PATEL-COOPER EMAIL
B. STATE 2731

1. (U) The information below is provided in response to
reftel. Post POC for TIP related issues is Susannah Cooper,
(Tel.) 216-71-107-306, (Fax) 216-71-107-090. Number of hours
spent by rank: 2 hrs FE-MC, 2 hrs FE-OC, 2 hrs FS-01, 50 hrs
FS-02.

-----------------
THE LOCAL CONTEXT
-----------------

2. (SBU) Thanks to comprehensive government laws and policies
focused on social justice and equality, Tunisia is well
prepared to combat the international phenomenon of
trafficking in persons. Government officials are
knowledgeable about the international trafficking problem and
has undertaken legal and practical steps to prevent its
emergence in Tunisia and to coordinate with those fighting
the problem in neighboring countries. Tunisia's favorable
geographic location has historically proven attractive to
illegal migrants, both Tunisians and foreigners, attempting
to reach Europe. However, the GOT works hard to combat
illegal migration from its borders. While there was no
evidence such migrants are trafficking victims, local and
international public and private sector entities remain
committed to providing assistance to Tunisians and
non-Tunisians who may be intending economic migration.
Tunisia's small, homogeneous and educated population helps
diminish the likelihood of trafficking and exploitation.
There was no evidence of forced labor in Tunisia, and the GOT
actively managed and supervised the labor market, including
the market for domestic employees.

3. (SBU) Begin TIP responses (keyed to Refs A and B):

27. OVERVIEW:

A. Local and international governments and NGOs all reported
that there was no evidence of trafficking in persons in
Tunisia. While Tunisia's proximity to Europe has made it a
traditional departure point for illegal migrants, illegal
migration attempts by Tunisians and non-Tunisians diminished
as the result of GOT improvements in border control, legal
sanctions and cooperation with Tunisia's Mediterranean
neighbors. The GOT is serious about enforcing legislation
designed to combat illegal migration and trafficking.
Non-governmental contacts report that there was no evidence
of coercion, fraud, or use of force to induce migration and
no indication that these migrants are subject to involuntary
servitude, peonage, or debt bondage in Tunisia. All contacts
reported individual migrants were seeking to migrate to
Europe independently of any organized criminal migration or
trafficking network.

As is true in nearly all societies, a very small number of
Tunisian children may be victims of sexual exploitation.
However, there are no available statistics on the number of
cases of commercial sexual exploitation (see section 28 B).
Children's rights in Tunisia are strongly protected and
severe legal punishments are applied to those convicted of
child abuse. The government reported that neither the
judiciary nor protection entities found evidence of any form
of human trafficking.

Embassy officers consulted a wide range of sources in 2007
and 2008, including:

-- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Report dated February 28,
2008. (Note: The government provided a written response in
lieu of granting meetings between Emboffs and relevant
ministries.)

-- Non-governmental organizations, including the General
Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) and the Tunisian Association
of Democratic Women (ATFD).

-- International organizations, including the International
Organization for Migration and UNICEF.

-- Diplomatic missions in Tunisia.

-- Local and international press coverage of illegal
migration and trafficking in persons in the Mediterranean
region.

Post believes tht information from these sources is
reliable. Al of these contacts reported no evidence of
human trafficking to, through or from Tunisia.

28. INESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION:

A. Tunisia does nothave a law specifically prohibiting
trafficking. However, in February 2008, the Ministry of
Justce Center for Judiciary Studies had begun to study the
possibility of adopting a law that specificaly outlaws all
forms of trafficking in persons, tat would include updates
to all related legislaton to einforce the protection
against traffickig. Post has no information about when such
a lawmight be drafted or promulgated.

However, thereare a number of laws under which traffickers
coud be punished. The Tunisian passport law (No. 6/204)
was amended in 2004 to include punishments fr anyone who
"guides, arranges, facilitates, assits, acts as an
intermediary, or organizes the sureptitious entry or exit,
even without remuneraton, of an individual to or from
Tunisia by land,sea or air." Violators face imprisonment
for upto twenty years and a fine of 100,000 Tunisian dinas
(approximately USD 82,600) if the crime result in death.
Traffickers could also be prosecuted nder laws prohibiting
slavery, bonded labor, andthe misuse of boats. Slavery was
banned in Tuniia in 1846, and in 1966 Tunisia ratified the
1926League of Nations Slavery Convention and related U
protocols. Economic, sexual or criminal exploiation, as
well as forced labor, prostitution, paticipation in armed
conflict, displacement and ay other form of servitude is
illegal. The penal ode sentences government employees to
life imprionment for document forgery. In order to combatillegal migration by
sea, marine laws were amendedin 2004
(No. 3/2004 and No. 4/2004) to require all boats with motors
larger than five horsepower to inform the National Guad of
its route and passengers before leaving por, or face a fine
of 1,000 Tunisian dinars (approxmately USD 826). All
related international agrements also have the effect of
codified law once atified.

There were no investigations, prosecutons, convictions or
sentences for offenses that ere explicitly defined as
trafficking during the eporting period. However, throughout
the year, llegal migrants from Tunisia and elsewhere were
ntercepted off, or washed up on, Tunisia's coastlie.
However, there were no indications these migrnts were
trafficking victims. The government reprted that intending
illegal migrants were primarly individuals who had paid for
their transport broad only and had not engaged any third
party wo might seek to exploit them in the destination
ountry.

During the 2006-07 judicial year, 413 peple were charged
with crimes related to illegal igration and sentenced as
follows:

-- 33 peope were not convicted
-- 59 received fines
-- 8 received less than one month imprisonment
-- 15 received more than one month and less than one yea
imprisonment
-- 68 received more than one year and less than five years
imprisonment
-- 18 received more than five years imprisonment

B. Sexual exploitation is addressed by the penal code and
child protection laws. These laws do not specifically
address trafficking, and penalties depend on the degree of
exploitation or violation of the law. In February 2008, the
government said it envisions strengthening the existing child
protection law. According to government statistics, there
were 95 reports of child sexual exploitation from January to
September 2007. However, these statistics did not indicate
how many were victims of commercial sexual exploitation nor
did they include the sentences for those convicted of
involvement.

C. The Tunisian labor code is strict and strictly enforced.
Slavery, forced labor, and bonded labor is banned by the
Constitution, national laws and international conventions.
The government reported there was no evidence of the practice
in Tunisia and that labor inspectors received no reports of
forced labor. Therefore, no cases of forced labor were
examined by Tunisian courts.

However, there was limited anecdotal evidence that a small
number of domestic employees may have been in non-compliance
with labor laws, including contracts arranged by illegal work
agencies. Although there was no evidence of trafficking, the
GOT takes these reports very seriously and has undertaken
directed efforts to prevent such violations. The involvement
of free or paid intermediaries in the employment of domestic
workers is banned by the labor code, in order to prevent the
exploitation of these workers. The Ministry of Employment
operates regional centers in each of Tunisia's 24
governorates, as well as 83 smaller offices, to assist job
seekers in securing legitimate jobs and contracts. The
Ministry of Social Affairs, Solidarity and Tunisians Abroad
is responsible for investigating violations of the labor
code, including reports of labor abuses, and conducts
approximately 30,000 investigations annually.

Tunisia was not known as a labor source or destination
country, however the government works closely with European
nations to protect the labor rights of Tunisians employed in
those countries. There were no available statistics about
related convictions during the reporting period.

D. The penalty for rape with the use of violence and/or
threat with a weapon is death, which is also prescribed for
rape of a child under the age of ten. For all other rape
cases, the penalty is life imprisonment. Tunisian law states
that children under the age of 13 cannot consent to sexual
relations. Those guilty of or intending to have sexual
relations with a child over 13 and under 15 can be sentenced
to six years. Those guilty of or intending to have sexual
relations with a child over 15 and under 20 can be sentenced
to five years.

E. Prostitution is illegal under the penal code, which
includes punishments for prostitutes, clients and
intermediaries, and was strictly enforced. Prostitutes and
their clients can be imprisoned from six months to five years
and face fines of up to 500 Tunisian dinars (approximately
USD 413). Intermediaries face imprisonment for up to three
years and fines of up to 500 dinars. Enforcement and
prosecution of prostitution laws was strict. However, in a
small number of Tunisian cities, prostitution is legally
organized and supervised by the Ministry of Interior. During
the September 2006 - July 2007 judicial year, 451 people were
convicted of illegal prostitution and 59 convicted of
assisting prostitution. The GOT reports 250 victims of
illegal prostitution and 24 victims of aiding prostitution.

H. There was no cooperative investigation or prosecution of
trafficking cases. However, the government works closely
with foreign governments to combat illegal migration and
protect Tunisians abroad. The Tunisian penal code allows for
the punishment of individuals who commit crimes of debauchery
outside of the country.

L. There was no evidence Tunisian peacekeepers deployed
abroad engaged in or facilitated trafficking.

M. The government did not identify child sex tourism as a
problem, and there were no public statistics on the number of
pedophiles prosecuted or extradited. The Tunisian penal code
allows for the punishment of individuals who commit crimes of
debauchery outside of the country. See also section 28 B.

29. PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS:

A. Although there was no evidence of the presence of foreign
trafficking victims, the government generally cooperated with
UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations in assisting
refugees and asylum seekers.

C. As there was no evidence of trafficking in persons in
Tunisia, the government provided no dedicated support to
organizations for services to trafficking victims and there
were no organizations undertaking this effort. See also
section 29 K.

E. There was no evidence that persons involved in the
regulated commercial sex trade were trafficking victims.
Those working in this sector are licensed following a
background and medical check. However, there was no public
information about trafficking screening mechanisms.

F. As there was no evidence of trafficking in persons in
Tunisia, no trafficking victims were identified. In the case
of child victims of sexual exploitation (not specifically
commercial sexual exploitation), such individuals may be
placed in state-operated juvenile reform centers if there are
no direct relatives capable of caring for the child.
International NGOs report that all children in such centers
who were victims of child sexual exploitation were also found
to suffer from other psychological and/or behavioral
problems. Some have also committed crimes such as drug use,
for which they may be prosecuted.

G. As there was no evidence of trafficking in persons in
Tunisia, no trafficking victims were identified.

H. As there was no evidence of trafficking in persons in
Tunisia, there were no dedicated facilities accessible to
trafficking victims. However, two private NGOs operate
women's shelters that could be utilized by trafficking
victims. The GOT takes great pride in its social programs,
especially those for women, children and the handicapped, and
works closely with Tunisian civil society to promote these
efforts across Tunisia. There are also several private
charities and government-sponsored NGOs that offer assistance
to illegal immigrants entering the country. There was no
information that indicate any of these services were utilized
by trafficking victims in the reporting period.

I. The government did not provide any specialized training
for government or embassy officials in recognizing
trafficking. However, the government works closely with
foreign governments to combat illegal migration and protect
Tunisians abroad. Government "social attaches" in countries
with large Tunisian expatriate populations are responsible
for informing Tunisian workers abroad of their rights in
Tunisia and the country of residence, in order to combat the
possible exploitation of these workers overseas. In November
2007, Tunisia joined the 34 members of the Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership who agreed to take cooperative steps to combat
human trafficking and to strengthen channels of legal
migration. There were no reports of Tunisian citizens abroad
being identified as trafficking victims.

J. As there was no evidence of trafficking in persons in
Tunisia or of Tunisians abroad, the government did not assist
any nationals who were trafficking victims.

K. As there was no evidence of trafficking in persons in
Tunisia, there were no dedicated international organizations
or NGOs working with trafficking victims.

30. PREVENTION:

B. As there was no evidence of trafficking in persons in
Tunisia, the government conducted no anti-trafficking
campaigns. However, the government did organize awareness
campaigns about child sexual exploitation, including those
that target security and judicial officials.

C. Although none are specifically working on trafficking,
NGOs and international organizations assisting Tunisians and
non-Tunisians reported good cooperation with the government.

D. According to the GOT and private organizations, there was
no evidence that illegal migrants -- Tunisian or non-Tunisian
-- are victims of trafficking. Official investigations into
all illegal migration cases found no evidence that the
involved are victims of trafficking. GOT investigations
found that the main reasons for attempting illegal migration
were employment opportunities, family reunification, tourism
and circumvention of visa policies. The government also
noted that there was no evidence of any criminal enterprises,
Mafia or gang involvement in these illegal migration
attempts.

E. The GOT uses an interagency approach to address issues of
trafficking and illegal migration.

F. As there was no evidence of trafficking in persons in
Tunisia, there was no national plan of action to address
trafficking in persons.

G. As there was no evidence of significant demand for
commercial sex acts, there were no campaigns to reduce the
demand for commercial sex acts. However, the government did
organize awareness campaigns about child sexual exploitation,
including those that target security and judicial officials.

I. There was no public information about the government's
measures to ensure its nationals deployed as peacekeepers not
engage in or facilitate trafficking.

Please visit Embassy Tunis' Classified Website at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/tunis/index.c fm
GODEC

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