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Cablegate: Strengthening Partnerships to Combat Trafficking

VZCZCXRO4218
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0951/01 1130709
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 220709Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0437
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJB/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000951

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP, G/TIP, INL, DRL/ILCSR
LABOR FOR ILAB
JUSTICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND CRIMINAL DIVISIONS
STATE PASS TO USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KCRM KWMN ELAB RP
SUBJECT: STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS TO COMBAT TRAFFICKING
IN PERSONS

REF: A. MANILA 539 (2008 TIP REPORT)
B. MANILA 333 (ANTI-TIP EFFORTS IN MINDANAO)
C. 07 MANILA 2405 (AMBASSADOR BREAKS GROUND ON TWO
SHELTERS)

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On April 10, the Deputy Chief of Mission
joined NGO and government partners to inaugurate a newly
constructed halfway house for trafficking in persons victims
at Manila's North Harbor. The modern shelter, which replaced
an earlier one built in 2001, can accommodate at least 30
trafficking victims at a time. In addition to this shelter,
the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) also completed
construction in April of two other halfway houses at the
ports in Iloilo in western Visayas and Surigao in
northeastern Mindanao. These shelters are the result of a
successful partnership between the Ports Authority and the
Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF), a local NGO that oversees and
manages shelter operations at seven ports around the country.
In order to improve outreach and victim services at its
halfway houses, VFF sought out private partnerships as well.
VFF recently collaborated with international advertising firm
Ogilvy and Microsoft's Philippines office to intensify
anti-trafficking outreach and prevention efforts. A recent
$1 million award to VFF from eBay founder Jeff Skoll's
charitable foundation is yet another partnership to ensure
the continuation of VFF's exemplary efforts to combat
trafficking in the Philippines. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- -------
Expanding Anti-Trafficking Partnerships at the Ports
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (U) DCM joined Visayan Forum Foundation Executive Board
Chairman Joaquin Garaygay, Philippine Ports Authority General
Manager Oscar Sevilla, and a group of media, government,
private industry, and NGO representatives to commemorate the
opening of a new, larger halfway house for trafficking in
persons victims at Manila's North Harbor, the largest port
facility in the Philippines. This shelter will replace an
earlier center built in 2001 and will accommodate a larger
number of trafficking victims and potential victims
intercepted at the port. The PPA constructed the facility
with its own funds, while VFF will oversee and manage the
shelter's daily operations. In his keynote address, the DCM
applauded PPA, VFF, shipping companies, and port police for
this milestone in a highly-productive partnership.

3. (U) The partnership between VFF and PPA dates back to
1999, when PPA agreed to construct the first halfway house
for victims and potential victims of trafficking at Manila's
North Harbor. VFF and PPA opened the doors of the Port
Halfway House on July 11, 2001. In recent years, as the
capacity of VFF and its port partners to identify trafficking
victims increased, the needs of the North Harbor shelter
outgrew the original facility. On July 7, 2007, Ambassador
joined Ms. Flores-Oebanda and PPA General Manager Sevilla to
break ground on this new, larger shelter (ref C). Now fully
operational, the new two-story shelter can accommodate
approximately 30 victims at any given time and includes a
conference room for training sessions and meetings. The
halfway house will continue to be a center for
information-sharing and advocacy against trafficking, as well
as a sanctuary for thousands of victims intercepted each year.

------------------------------
Reaching More and More Victims
------------------------------

4. (U) In addition to the Manila halfway house, PPA also
opened two other halfway houses in April -- one at the port
in Surigao in northeastern Mindanao and a second at the port
in Iloilo in western Visayas. VFF now manages a total of
seven halfway houses at ports throughout the country
(Batangas, Davao, Iloilo, Manila, Sorsogon, Surigao, and
Zamboanga). The Manila International Airport Authority is
also constructing a VFF halfway house that will serve victims
at Manila's airport. Since 2001, VFF has rescued and
provided assistance to more than 32,000 victims and potential
victims of trafficking and has helped to file 66 trafficking
cases in court on behalf of 166 victims.

--------------------------------------------
NGOs Engage the Private Sector to Combat TIP

MANILA 00000951 002 OF 002


--------------------------------------------

5. (U) On March 27, the Skoll Foundation, led by eBay founder
Jeff Skoll, awarded $1 million to VFF President and Executive
Director Cecilia Flores-Oebanda for "social Qtrepreneurship"
achievements. The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship
recognize models for sustainable social change that have
yielded significant impact. Former President Jimmy Carter
and Jeff Skoll presented the award to Oebanda at the fifth
annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in
Oxford, England. The $1 million award to VFF will be an
unrestricted three-year grant that will enable VFF to amplify
its anti-TIP efforts throughout the country.

6. (SBU) VFF plans to devote a significant portion of the
Skoll Award to a national public awareness campaign against
trafficking. Oebanda believes that while there has been
several public awareness initiatives in the past, these
campaigns have lacked the national reach to benefit parts of
the country where potential victims are most vulnerable.
Advertising giant Ogilvy International has agreed to provide
pro-bono services to VFF for the awareness campaign and has
begun designing and creating print, radio, internet, and
television anti-trafficking spots for VFF. VFF and Ogilvy
hope to launch the initiative later this year, in partnership
with major media outlets throughout the country.

7. (U) VFF also recently announced a renewal of its private
partnership with Microsoft Philippines to provide information
technology skills training to victims of trafficking at VFF
shelters and other community centers throughout the country.
The project, entitled "Stop Trafficking and Exploitation of
People through Unlimited Potential" (STEP-UP), began in 2006
and was VFF's first partnership with the private sector.
Instructors teach technology skills to young men, women, and
children at three of VFF's shelters in Manila, Batangas, and
Davao, in addition to ten other community learning centers
managed by VFF's NGO partners in other parts of the country.
The computer skills training complements VFF's other
counseling and support services. During the first two years
of the STEP-UP project, more than 5,000 victims and potential
victims attended Microsoft's skills training seminars
throughout the country. The project hopes to reach its
target of 10,000 trainees within the next two years.

8. (U) The STEP-UP project is the latest in a series of
partnerships by Microsoft Philippines to provide technology
skills training to under-served Filipinos through
community-based organizations. Microsoft also partnered with
the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to
establish computer training centers in Kuala Lumpur, Hong
Kong, and other cities with high concentrations of overseas
Filipino workers. The Microsoft-OWWA programs target
lower-skilled workers, including household service workers,
to improve opportunities for employment upon their return to
the Philippines.


Visit Embassy Manila's Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/
JONES

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