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Cablegate: G/Tip Tier 2 Watch List Interim Assessment

P 190826Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4720
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS ABIDJAN 000820


STATE FOR AF/RSA, G:ACBLANK, AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV SOCI SMIG KTIP KWMN KCRM IV
SUBJECT: G/TIP TIER 2 WATCH LIST INTERIM ASSESSMENT

REF: STATE 110849

1. (U) SUMMARY: In response to reftel, Poloff met with NGOs
and government officials working on trafficking in persons
(TIP) issues, but could not obtain meetings with key
ministries, specifically the Ministries of Justice and
Interior, despite repeated phone calls and follow-up letters
from the DCM. The Government of Cote d'Ivoire (GoCI) is
entirely focused on the identification and voter registration
process, leaving little time or energy for other issues,
including TIP. For this reason, the GoCI has made minimal
progress on the TIP action items referred to in reftel. END
SUMMARY


IDENTIFYING, INVESTIGATING, AND PROSECUTING TIP CASES
--------------------------------------------- --------
2. (U) Embassy was not able to obtain information on
whether the Ministry of Justice has increased efforts to
investigate and prosecute trafficking cases, because the key
ministry official who works on TIP issues was not available
to meet with the Embassy. Perrine Nahounou, Director of the
Department for Children and Youth, is currently spending all
of her time working on the identification and registration
process currently underway in Abidjan. Embassy has met with
her deputies before, but those meetings were not productive,
as Nahounou is the only person with concrete information on
TIP issues.

3. (U) In a meeting with Robale Kagohi of the International
Cocoa Initiative (ICI) on October 23, Poloff learned that ICI
and the Ministry of Justice are planning a series of training
sessions on TIP issues for prosecuting judges, tentatively
scheduled for January 2009. ICI and the Ministry intend to
train 75 judges through the program, which would involve
three different training sessions during the year. Kagohi
said security and defense will participate in the training so
that judges and police can find a common framework for
handling TIP cases in the absence of an anti-TIP law.

4. (U) Embassy could not obtain information as to whether
the GoCI is developing formal procedures for identifying
trafficking victims among women and girls in prostitution or
whether sex trafficking victims are being penalized as
criminals for acts committed as a direct result of being
trafficked. Poloff requested a meeting with the Chief of the
Vice Brigade for the National Police, but learned that the
person who held this position was recently transferred to
another division. Repeated phone calls and a letter from the
DCM have not resulted in obtaining a meeting with her
replacement. Embassy will continue to press the Ministries
of Justice and Interior for meetings to discuss these issues.


GOVERNMENT COLLABORATION WITH NGOS
----------------------------------
5. (U) On November 5, Poloff met with Pastor Klossail of
Cote d'Ivoire-Prosperite, one of the only NGOs that works
directly with female victims trafficked for sexual
exploitation. Klossail said that the government understands
the TIP problem, but so far this understanding has not
translated into concrete action. He noted that his NGO
enjoys a good relationship with the police commissioner's
office, which has assisted in TIP-related cases, but so far
has not seen any increase in the level of services the
government provides to TIP victims trafficked for sexual
exploitation.


COMMENT
-------
6. (U) COMMENT: Without meeting with officials at the
Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior, it is
difficult to gauge whether or not the government is
concentrating on sex trafficking victims. What is clear is
that there is very little coordination and sharing of
resources between ministries to find solutions to TIP-related
problems. The Ministry of Family, which theoretically has
the responsibility to take the lead on TIP issues, has told
the Embassy that sex trafficking cases are a matter for the
Ministries of Justice and Interior. Without strong
leadership on the issue from a particular ministry - and by
extension - a key official, it will be difficult for the
government to collectively focus its efforts to combat the
sex trafficking problem in Cote d'Ivoire. END COMMENT


NESBITT

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