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Cablegate: Nicaragua: Iom Tip Conference Underscores Need To

VZCZCXRO4087
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #1057/01 2321722
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191722Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3041
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 5440
RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 5048
INFO RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MANAGUA 001057

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR PRM, SDENTZEL
DEPT FOR GTIP MFORSTROM
DEPT FOR WHA/CEN SJUSTICE & WHA/PPC SMILLER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ELAB KCRM KWMN SMIG PREF NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: IOM TIP CONFERENCE UNDERSCORES NEED TO
STRENGTHEN REGIONAL COOPERATION

SUMMARY
- - - -

1. (SBU) The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
convened a regional workshop with funding from the Department
of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
(PRM) July 22 to 23 focusing on strengthening regional
cooperation for the recovery and reintegration of victims of
human trafficking. Fifty participants from all of Central
America, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Canada
representing non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
government, civil society, and international organizations
attended the two-day session in Managua. The participants
agreed that all sectors of society-- including the state,
family, and community, as well as international
organizations, needed to play a part to "close the circle" on
human trafficking, and urged greater regional coordination to
improve victims' assistance. Lack of funding and training
for reintegration programs, inadequate shelters, security,
and feedback channels for survivors, and community
stigmatization of sexually trafficked victims were among the
top challenges participants identified. The Nicaraguan Vice
Minister of Government gave opening remarks highlighting
Nicaragua's vulnerability to sexual exploitation of children
and trafficking persons, and pledged his government's
commitment to combat this crime. END SUMMARY

GON Expresses Concern
- - - - - - - - - - -

2. (U) Emboffs attended the IOM's first regional conference
on "Strengthening Regional Cooperation for the Reinsertion of
Victims of Human Trafficking" held July 22 to 23 in Managua
and had the opportunity to exchange perspectives with a
variety of governmental and NGO representatives from Central
America, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Canada, and convey
the U.S. commitment to victims' assistance, protection, and
reintegration. In his opening remarks, Nicaraguan Vice
Minister of Government Carlos Najar highlighted the GON's
restructuring of the National Coalition against Trafficking
in Persons as evidence of its commitment to fighting the
scourge of human trafficking. Noting that 46 percent of the
female population in Nicaragua was under the age of 18, and
that 10 percent of Nicaraguan children do not live with their
parents, he observed that Nicaragua had reason to be
concerned about the risk of human trafficking. Najar further
acknowledged that many children born into poverty were
consequently often forced to work in the informal sectors at
a subsistence level. The lack of opportunity combined with
porous borders, the increase in regional trade, and the rapid
spread of communications technology had created conditions
conducive to the recruitment of children and adolescents into
sexual exploitation and trafficking in persons. Najar
emphasized that the GON had stepped up efforts to train and
sensitize public officials on the issue, as well as made
progress updating the geographic map on TIP routes, training
neighborhood leaders, and launching an "historic" meeting
last fall for national migration officials. He also explained
that a GON top priority was to provide training on the
implementation of the protocol for the repatriation of
children and adolescents.

IOM Highlights Results of Chinandega Project
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (SBU) Citing results of their programs in Nicaragua and
other countries in the region, the IOM panelists emphasized
the need to establish a holistic approach to assist
trafficking victims in the areas of life skills training,
building self-esteem, and increasing community education and
public awareness. They underscored the importance of helping
remove the cultural stigma of being trafficked and enable
survivors to reconstruct their lives. Workshop panelists
also voiced concern that many programs in place to assist
trafficking survivors were not sustainable over the long term
and that the problem of revictimization was pervasive in most
countries represented. IOM representative Brenda De Trinidad
shared results of the Nicaraguan-based Chinandega project
(which receives PRM funding), including testimonies of female
trafficking survivors. All had suffered serious health
problems--physical and psychological--some were suicidal
before their intervention, and several girls had become
pregnant during their ordeal of exploitation. IOM reported
that most victims receiving reintegration assistance in their
programs were reluctant to prosecute the cases out of fear of
retribution and lack of faith in the justice system. She
asserted that while the main focus of victim assistance in
the region was on children, more needed to be done to address
attention for adults, pointing out that many victims were 14
or 15 when first trafficked and were now adults. De Trinidad
urged the need to continue funding the Chinandega project,
stressing the vulnerability of that area to human trafficking.

Participants Cite Common Challenges and Limitations
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4, (U) The conference participants, nearly all female
professionals with direct experience assisting trafficking
victims, raised a number of concerns and limitations their
countries share vis-a-vis reintegration and providing
attention and services to victims. During the opening
session, they discussed the need to arrive at a common
language to more effectively and uniformly address the TIP
problem and clarify the distinctions between human
trafficking and illegal migration. A number noted that
because of the shame and stigmatization of being sexually
trafficked, victims often believe they are responsible for
the exploitation and are more resistant to seeking and
receiving help. Victims also worry about the consequences of
being deported and abused by law enforcement authorities.

5. (U) Countries throughout the region face similar
obstacles in providing victims' assistance, including the
lack of qualified personnel to work with TIP survivors during
the process of identification and reinsertion; the lack of
shelters equipped to handle the specific needs of TIP
victims; and problematic family circumstances, especially
intrafamily violence-- a main obstacle to successful
reintegration and long-term recovery. Other shared
challenges included impunity for traffickers and sexual
predators, the lack of protocols to cover the protection and
reinsertion of victims or absence of compliance with existing
ones, and inadequate security and protection for victims and
their care providers. They also observed that neither
government budgets nor international cooperation assistance
provided sufficient funding on behalf of victims, and
complained that public policies did not adequately address
the issue.

Recommendations to Improve Attention to TIP Victims
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

6. (U) On the second day of the workshop, each country
delegation delivered a short presentation on their strengths,
areas for improvement, and ideas on regional cooperation for
reintegration of trafficking victims. The participants
arrived at a number of common recommendations to improve the
focus on reinsertion of TIP victims at both the national and
regional levels. At the national level, they concurred that
reinsertion programs needed to be backed by public policies
that incorporate gender, human rights, and the protection of
children's rights. They advised that national governments
strengthen their operational capacity to develop projects
specifically designed to assist victims by creating synergy
between financial and human resources, better training and
coordination of officials, and to take responsibility to
ensure the long-term sustainability of these programs. They
also urged that governments more seriously address the need
to find alternatives to place returned victims in appropriate
environments especially when the victims are stigmatized or
rejected by their own families.

7. (U) As participants from virtually all countries
represented lamented the lack of proper shelters, the need to
develop more specialized shelters with the capacity to
provide integral attention and adequate security emerged as a
top priority. They also wanted governments to establish a
mechanism to enable better monitoring and follow-up to
reintegration cases and victim feedback channels, and urged
greater training and sensitization of migration personnel to
identify and provide assistance to victims. Better
enforcement of existing protocols governing the repatriation
of children and adolescents and greater efforts to prevent
the revictimization and stigmatization were also deemed
priorities at the national level. A Mexican participant
lamented that child trafficking victims often turned into
traffickers themselves, and stressed the need for civil
society to play a role in helping to change this
self-destructive mindset. One speaker from El Salvador
advised that since child victims had lost part of their
childhood as a result of being trafficking, their recovery
and treatment needed to include recreational programs and
creative programs in addition to education and life skills.

8. (U) In terms of strengthening a regional approach, the
consensus was that countries needed to have better
coordination to protect the physical integrity of victims
during the repatriation process, develop a common database,
improve information gathering and sharing--including
information to provide attention to victims, and provide
temporary shelters to protect survivors. Workshop
participants suggested the establishment of a regional fund
devoted to the recovery and reinsertion of TIP survivors, and
recommended that the topic of human trafficking be addressed
at the highest levels of government. They stressed that
human trafficking be incorporated into the agendas of
regional fora such as the Central American Security
Commission, the Central American Integration System (SICA),
and the First Ladies Forum, among others.

9. (SBU) Participants welcomed Post's recommendations to
strengthen regional collaboration as well as ideas for
domestic practices covering victims reintegration. They
supported the creation of non-discriminatory shelters,
increased long term sustainability and security of victims,
ending corruption, efforts to expedite the prosecution of
traffickers via regionally standardized penalties and law
enforcement cooperation, and the creation of a regional
manual on best practices. Given the positive response to this
workshop, participants encouraged more regular workshops to
better educate regional actors and further standardize
reintegration techniques.

SANDERS

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