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Cablegate: Anti-Trafficking Engagement Pays Dividends

VZCZCXRO5446
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHBK #3424 3250912
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200912Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5126
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 5870
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BANGKOK 003424

Department for G/TIP MTaylor, DRL/IL MJunk
DOL/ILAB for Jennifer Piorkowski and Brandie Sasser

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB PHUM KTIP TH

SUBJECT: ANTI-TRAFFICKING ENGAGEMENT PAYS DIVIDENDS

1. Summary: Over the course of 2008 the Embassy and Consulate
General Chiang Mai have continued to broaden and increase our
prevention activities in support of the Mission's anti-trafficking
in persons (TIP) strategy. Each event has been a success, either
energizing our local partners or raising awareness of the human
trafficking problem in general. The Mission will seek to replicate
this success through similar events in the future. Based on the
positive feedback we have received about those events in which the
Ambassador's wife participated, we will, where feasible, seek to
continue to use her outreach with the local nongovernmental
community to push forward our anti-TIP agenda. End summary.

2. Since January of this year, Embassy Bangkok and Consulate
General Chiang Mai have engaged in a series of activities geared
toward the prevention angle of our overall anti-TIP strategy. These
events have generally focused on raising awareness of TIP issues,
either through site visits to projects focused on victims assistance
or through outreach to groups that do not normally focus on human
trafficking issues. To maximize our efforts, the Mission has, when
feasible, enlisted the support of the Ambassador's wife who has a
personal interest in trafficking issues. As examples, Consulate
Chiang Mai organized a January 28 visit for Mrs. John to the New
Life Center (NLC), a shelter for victims of human trafficking that
mostly serves young women and child TIP victims who have been
rescued from brothels in the area. At a May 21 follow-on visit to
the NLC's facility in Chiang Rai, Mrs. John delivered books donated
by the Asia Foundation to the shelter's residents and engaged in a
discussion with them on their trafficking experiences. (Note: While
in Chiang Rai, Mrs. John also visited and donated books to the
Sueksaasongkra School, which has a high population of hill tribe and
generally disadvantaged students. End Note.) The NLC Director told
the told the Consulate's Poloff that that the women and girls in
both shelters were inspired by Mrs. John's visits, photographs of
which hang in the shelters' main fuQtion rooms.
3. Over the same time frame, the Mission began a series of events
in Bangkok to raise awareness on human trafficking among the members
of various expatriate groups and associations. On October 16, Mrs.
John hosted, at the official residence, the members of the American
Chamber of Commerce's Professional Women Committee. Approximately
twenty-five American, Canadian, Thai, and other women participated,
which constitutes most of the committee's membership. Mrs. John
kicked off the event with an explanation of the seriousness of human
trafficking and how she had seen first-hand the devastating toll it
exacts on victims. The Labor Officer then explained how human
trafficking is generally defined, Thailand's role as a source,
transit, and destination country, and how the various members of the
Embassy's TIP Working Group are collaborating with international and
local partners to combat the problem. To provide a specific example
of the Mission's work, Post's ICE Attach highlighted his agency's
use of the Protect Act to bring to justice, in the United States,
American citizens engaged in child sex tourism.
4. During the question and answer session that followed, the
Embassy officials highlighted both the progress the RTG has made on
combating TIP and the complexities of bringing traffickers to
justice. The assembled group then discussed various ways in which
they as individuals can combat human trafficking: spreading the word
on the issue, taking responsibility for the management of their
businesses' supply chains, making efforts to ensure products
purchased (for personal and business use) are not made through
forced labor, donating time and money to non-governmental
organizations, etc. After the event, the co-chair of the
Professional Women Committee told the Labor Officer that the event
hosted by Mrs. John was one of the best the Committee had held all
year.
5. Based on these successes, the Mission will continue to organize
anti-TIP awareness raising activities, and seek opportunities to
involve Mrs. John in them. By leveraging her stature in the
community to broaden our audience and increase attention to these
events, we expect they will continue to pay dividends.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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