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Cablegate: Engaging Vietnam On Tip

VZCZCXRO9458
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #0435 1050852
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140852Z APR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7624
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4591
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0040

UNCLAS HANOI 000435

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, DRL/AWH, PRM/PIM, AND G/TIP
BANGKOK FOR REFCOORD

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

SUBJECT: ENGAGING VIETNAM ON TIP

REFS: A) HANOI 0309; B) HANOI 356; C) HANOI 400

1. (SBU) Summary: A recent high-profile labor dispute involving
Vietnamese workers in Jordan threatens to distract attention from
the steady and increasing progress Vietnam continues to make on its
anti-trafficking in persons (TIP) efforts. Despite the significant
efforts the GVN has made particularly within the last year, much
remains to be done and the GVN is receptive to our ongoing
cooperation on anti-TIP efforts. Downgrading Vietnam's TIP status,
however, would endanger that cooperation and jeopardize the USG's
ability to make further progress on this issue. End summary.

2. (SBU) Much attention has been focused on a recent case involving
Vietnamese workers in Jordan (reftels). Mission Vietnam shares the
assessment of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
that this case was a labor dispute rather than an incident involving
forced labor. We note that the source of most, if not all, the
assertions critical of the GVN in this case was one organization
which reportedly paid one of the protest organizers in Jordan two
thousand dollars to lead the strike. Reftels have addressed most of
those assertions, while some details remain in dispute. What is not
disputed is that the GVN, which does not have an embassy in Jordan,
responded to the crisis by sending an interministerial team that
helped repatriate all the workers who wanted to leave Jordan. The
GVN has repeatedly asserted that the workers who have returned have
faced no punishment or penalties from the government and we have
seen no credible information to the contrary.

3. (SBU) The Jordan case has drawn attention away from Vietnam's
ongoing efforts in prosecution, protection, and assistance to
victims, including protection of labor trafficking victims. Within
the last year, the GVN issued Directive 16 to draft new legislation
on a comprehensive new anti-TIP law and broadened the definition of
trafficking to include men, not just women and children. It issued
Decision 17 on repatriating, reintegrating, and providing assistance
to sex trafficking victims returning from abroad. A national Center
for Women's Development was opened in Hanoi that provides shelter,
counseling, financial and vocational support to sex trafficking
victims. New victim assistance and assessment centers were
established.

4. (SBU) In Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, international
NGOs are working together with at-risk women and children, educators
and provincial officials to promote safe migration and raise
awareness of trafficking schemes. IOM continues to work with the
GVN on PRM-funded anti-TIP projects.

5. (SBU) On the law enforcement side, Vietnamese courts convicted
more than 300 individuals in TIP cases in 2007, an increase over the
previous year. The Ministry of Public Security established a
special unit to combat child sex abusers. And Vietnam just signed
an anti-TIP MOU with Thailand that establishes specific assistance
measures by the two countries for repatriating TIP victims and
helping them reintegrate into the community (septel).

6. (SBU) These measures constitute concrete steps by Vietnam to
increase its anti-TIP efforts within the last year. Indeed, as a
developing country with limited resources, Vietnam is clearly making
a significant effort. This does not indicate, however, that further
action is not needed. For example, Vietnam has not yet ratified the
2000 UN TIP Protocol. And with its growing focus on sending
increasing numbers of laborers overseas, the GVN must not neglect
the need to protect workers from forced labor and TIP.

7. (SBU) Anti-TIP cooperation is an area where Mission Vietnam has
had great success with limited resources. For example, USAID has
funded TIP prevention activities such as scholarships for at-risk
girls and awareness raising activities in coordination with schools
and the Vietnamese Women's Union as well as limited reintegration
assistance (counseling and vocational training) for returning TIP
victims. Our assistance is welcomed by our GVN interlocutors and we
have the potential to do more. Failure to recognize the concrete
improvements the GVN has made, however, would jeopardize the USG's
ability to continue engaging the GVN effectively and to maintain
momentum on anti-TIP efforts in Vietnam.
8. (U) This cable was coordinated with ConGen Ho Chi Minh City.
MICHALAK

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