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Cablegate: Nicaragua: Opdat Workshop Gives Anti-Tip Coalition

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #0707/01 1571243
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051243Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2701
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1908
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL//JL/J3/J5
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS MANAGUA 000707

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN RGREENE AND NNYMAN, WHA/PPC SMILLER
DEPT FOR G/TIP MFORSTROM, BFLECK
JUSTICE FOR OPDAT ROBERT LIPMAN
BOGOTA FOR RLA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM SOCI KWMN SMIG NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: OPDAT WORKSHOP GIVES ANTI-TIP COALITION
A NEEDED JUMP-START

SUMMARY
- - - - -

1. (SBU) Embassy Managua held the first in a series of
several anti-trafficking in persons (TIP) workshops led by
the U.S Department of Justice's Office of Overseas
Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training
(DOJ/OPDAT), May 6-8. More than 40 participants representing
the Nicaraguan National Police (NNP), Office of the National
Prosecutor, government institutions, think tanks, and civil
society attended the three-day workshop in what amounted to a
reactivation of the Nicaraguan inter-agency National
Coalition against Anti-Trafficking in Persons (NCATIP),
dormant for nearly a year. Under the direction of the OPDAT
team, the invited group collaborated to develop the first
draft of a manual for best practices to combat human
trafficking incorporating prevention, protection, and
prosecution of the crime. The session helped to clarify
confusion over current legislation on trafficking, slavery,
children's rights, forced child labor, and sex crimes. It
also demonstrated the urgency of ensuring that the new Penal
Code, which has stricter penalties for trafficking crimes, be
brought fully into force. The participants also agreed to
hold interim meetings until we host the next DOJ/OPDAT
session, and were enthusiastic about the prospect of
continuing this joint effort. END SUMMARY

SLOW START, BUT MOVING IN RIGHT DIRECTION
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (SBU) The aim of the Post's first OPDAT anti-trafficking
training exercise, held May 6-8, was to facilitate networking
between law enforcement, prosecutors, government of Nicaragua
(GON) ministries, civil society, and other stake-holders; and
to develop a best practices manual to address the problem of
human trafficking in Nicaragua. A DOJ/OPDAT team, under the
direction of the RLA from Embassy Bogota, designed and led
the workshop. Participants represented many of the
organizations and government institutions that constitute the
National Coalition against Trafficking in Persons (NCATIP).
The team encouraged the various stakeholders to move beyond
the usual complaints about the lack of resources, the main
excuse to explain why the TIP problem does not receive
greater attention in Nicaragua. It was evident throughout the
course of the program that most members of the Coalition
operate in a vacuum and rarely come together to discuss plans
or strategy. Despite initial resistance at the opening of
the training, by the time the workshop was over, there was a
greater willingness among the participants to think "outside
the box" and collaborate on workable solutions. The workshop
also fostered cooperation, coordination, and
information-sharing.

A FULL HOUSE, STRONG ATTENDANCE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (SBU) The attendance exceeded our expectations,
especially given the national transportation strike that was
well underway at the time we opened the program. We
purposely invited key members of National Coalition against
Trafficking in Persons who have been, or should be, most
active on the trafficking issue. Before holding the
workshop, we had learned from several civil society contacts
that the GON had not taken an active role in using the
Coalition to engage civil society and had not convened a
meeting since August 2007. We brough

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