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Cablegate: Maldives: The Eighth Annual Anti-Trafficking in Persons

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0328/01 0920001
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 010001Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7943
INFO RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 3388
RUEAWJL/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000328

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USAID
DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, SCA/RA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ELAB ASEC PREF KCRM KWMN SMIG KFRD MV
SUBJECT: MALDIVES: THE EIGHTH ANNUAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
(TIP) REPORT

REF: STATE 02731

1. (U) Mission's submission for the eighth annual Anti-Trafficking
in Persons (TIP) Report for Maldives follows. Responses are keyed
to questions in reftel. Mission point of contact is Poloff Amy
Trimble, telephone +94-11-249-8822, fax +94-11-249-8820.

Paragraph 27: Maldives Overview
--------------------------------

2. (SBU) A -- Maldives is not a country of origin, transit, or
destination for a significant number of internationally trafficked
persons. In 2007, in the only instance of trafficking known to
post, a Thai woman who had been recruited to work in a spa reported
being detained by a Maldivian employer and forced to work as a
housemaid, receiving a lower salary than promised. The labor
recruiter was arrested by Thai authorities and charged with illegal
labor brokering. There were no reports of persons trafficked from or
within the country.

A, continued -- On the website for its October 2007 South Asia
Regional Conference, the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human
Trafficking (UN.GIFT) stated: "There are hardly any reports of
trafficking in persons from the Maldives. Laws prevent employment of
children under 14 but the law does not talk about trafficking in
persons." In a 2007 report, the Asian Development Bank stated, "the
Maldives does not experience the levels of absolute poverty which
drive women in other South Asian countries into risky occupations or
increase their risk of becoming the victims of human trafficking." A
2006 report by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the UN Office on
Drugs and Crime listed Maldives as "low" incidence of reporting as
an origin country, "very low" incidence of reporting as a
destination country, and did not list Maldives as a transit country.


B -- There does not appear to be a human trafficking problem in
Maldives. The law does not prohibit trafficking in persons.
Nevertheless, the government has participated in regional efforts to
combat human trafficking in South Asia.

C -- There are no government agencies uniquely involved in
anti-trafficking efforts. However, representatives of the Child
Protection Authority and the National Human Rights Commission
participated in the UN.GIFT's October 2007 regional conference.

D-E -- Funding for the police is adequate, and the government
monitors immigration and emigration patterns to avoid illegal
immigration of all types.

Paragraph 28: Investigations and
Prosecution of Traffickers
-----------------------------------

3. (SBU) A -- Maldives does not have a law that prohibits
trafficking in persons.

B -- Not applicable.

C -- The law does not prohibit forced or compulsory labor, including
by children, and there were reports that child labor occurred in
some sectors of the economy. However, the law bars children less
than 14 years of age from paid or hazardous work. Government
employment guidelines prohibit hiring of children under 18 and
employment in hazardous jobs. The Child Protection Unit of the
Ministry of Gender and Family is responsible for monitoring
compliance with the Child Protection Act.

D -- There are no laws pertaining to sexual harassment or domestic
violence against women, and no specific laws dealing with spousal
rape. Police officials reported that they received few complaints of
assaults against women. The Gender Equality Council advised the
government on policies to help strengthen the role of women.

E -- Prostitution is illegal, but occurred on a small scale in
2007.

M -- There were no reports of child sex tourism in Maldives.
However, in 2007 the Ministry of Gender and Family Development
reported child abuse, including sexual abuse. Penalties for the
sexual abuse of children ranged from as much as three years'
imprisonment to banishment to a remote atoll. At a January 2007
meeting on Maldives held by the UN Committee on Elimination of
Discrimination against Women, the Minister of Gender and Family said
that "to address emerging issues, the Government was amending [the

law on protection of the rights of the child], especially in the
area of trafficking and sexual exploitation of children."

Paragraph 29: Protection and Assistance
to Victims
----------------------------------------

4. (SBU) C -- The government does not provide funding or material
support to foreign or domestic NGOs for services to victims of
trafficking.

G -- Not applicable.

BLAKE

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