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Cablegate: Vietnam Signs Anti-Tip Cooperation Mou with Thailand

VZCZCXRO9452
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #0429/01 1050806
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140806Z APR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7612
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4585
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 6312
RUEHPF/AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH 3741

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000429

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV TIP ELAB PREL KWMN KCRM SMIG PREL TH VM

SUBJECT: VIETNAM SIGNS ANTI-TIP COOPERATION MOU WITH THAILAND

REFS: 07 HANOI 1594 ("Vietnam to Draft New TIP Law, Improve
Inter-Agency Cooperation")

HANOI 00000429 001.2 OF 002


SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) On March 24, the Government of Vietnam (GVN) signed a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Royal Thai Government
(RTG) on strengthening cooperation between the two countries on
eliminating trafficking in persons (TIP) and providing assistance to
TIP victims. According to Senior Lieutenant Colonel Le Van Chuong,
Chief of the GVN's National Steering Committee on anti-TIP, the
signing of the MOU was "necessary and important" for both Vietnam
and Thailand. Chuong said it expressed the two countries'
determination to crack down on well-known Vietnamese and Thai
criminal networks trafficking women and children from Vietnam to
brothels in Thailand or for transit to a third country. The
long-awaited agreement also seeks to prevent the exploitation of
illegal migrants coming to Thailand from Vietnam. The MOU, which
follows on similar anti-TIP MOUs the GVN signed with Cambodia (2005)
and China (2006) respectively, was praised by the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) in Hanoi. End Summary.

THE MOU's NUTS AND BOLTS
------------------------

2. (SBU) On the occasion of the Thai Prime Minister's official visit
to Vietnam on March 24, Vietnamese Vice Minister of Public Security
Le The Tiem together with his Thai counterpart signed a state-level
MOU on bilateral cooperation for suppressing crimes of trafficking
in persons and assisting victims of trafficking. The MOU specifies
measures that both sides will undertake to eliminate TIP, including
necessary legal reform to ensure that the countries' legal
frameworks conform with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
and other international human rights instruments which both sides
have ratified. The MOU also establishes procedures the two
countries will take to help TIP victims return to their home country
and reintegrate into the community.

3. (SBU) According to the MOU, each side will designate an
implementing agency. The implementing agency for Vietnam will be the
Ministry of Public Security and, for Thailand, the Ministry of
Social Development and Human Security. A task force including
representatives from both sides will be established to initiate
strategies, guidelines and other necessary frameworks to implement
the agreement; to make recommendations for coordination measures; to
monitor and assess the implementation of the agreement; and to
review implementation of the MOU every five years.

GVN's DETERMINATION TO ADDRESS ISSUE
------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Talking about the newly-signed MOU, Senior Lieutenant
Colonel Nguyen Van Chuong, Chief of the GVN's National Steering
Committee on anti-TIP said that after the GVN signed an MOU with
Cambodia in October 2005, it became necessary for Vietnam to sign
one with Thailand as well, as Thailand is characterized as a transit
and destination country for trafficked Vietnamese women and
children. In addition, according to Chuong, the number of illegal
Vietnamese workers coming to work in Thailand has increased
recently, and these illegal workers are usually forced to work "very
hard under poor working conditions."

NGOs HOLD HOPE AND CONCERN
--------------------------

5. (SBU) Mr. Nguyen Quoc Nam, TIP specialist at the International
Organization of Migration (IOM) in Hanoi, agreed with Chuong. With
this agreement with Thailand, Vietnam is making serious efforts to
prevent criminal gangs from Vietnam and Thailand from continuing to
traffic Vietnamese women and children to Thailand and other
countries, Nam said. He noted that it was good that the agreement
established specific assistance measures by the two countries for
repatriating TIP victims and helping them reintegrate into the
community.

6. (SBU) The Asia Foundation (TAF) in Vietnam took a more cautious
view of the MOU. TIP Program Manager To Kim Lien said she doubted
the feasibility of the implementation of the agreement, noting the
limited results of the implementation of the widely criticized
Vietnam-Cambodia MOU signed in October 2005. According to Lien, the
Cambodia side has not seriously implemented the MOU signed with
Vietnam, leading to very limited cooperative results.


HANOI 00000429 002.4 OF 002


COMMENT: GVN PRESSES AHEAD
--------------------------

7. (SBU) Together with the GVN's ongoing effort to draft a new and
comprehensive anti-TIP law and other interagency initiatives called
for under the June 2007 anti-TIP Directive 16 (Reftel), the signing
of an MOU with Thailand demonstrates the GVN's determination to
crack down on human traffickers not only nationally but also
trans-nationally. Beyond preventing illegal Vietnamese workers from
being exploited in other countries, the MOU also provides for
protection of TIP victims and help for them to reintegrate into the
community. While lack of implementation by Cambodian authorities
limited the effectiveness of that MOU, if similar problems can be
avoided in this MOU with Thailand this is likely to be a more
effective mechanism to address TIP issues.

8. (U) This cable was coordinated with ConGen HCMC.

MICHALAK

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