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Cablegate: Tip Interim Assessment - Corrected Copy

VZCZCXRO5365
RR RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #0777 3250702
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200702Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8258
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0319
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS MANAMA 000777

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR NEA/RA AND G/TIP
BAGHDAD FOR AMBASSADOR ERELI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIP KCRM KWMN PHUM PGOV SMIG BA
SUBJECT: TIP INTERIM ASSESSMENT - CORRECTED COPY

REF: A. HENZEL-NEA/ARP E-MAIL (9/2/2008)
B. STATE 109257
C. MANAMA 539 AND PREVIOUS
D. MANAMA 770
E. NEA/ARP - HENZEL E-MAIL (11/18/2008)

1. (SBU) Per ref E request, post is transmitting a
re-classified version of this assessment.

2. (SBU) Summary: This message provides post's input to the
Trafficking In Persons (TIP) interim assessment. Paragraphs
are keyed to ref B para 6A questions. End Summary.

3. (SBU) Question (a): The GOB established a new unit to
combat human trafficking under the economic crimes unit at
the Criminal Investigative Directorate. The Human
Trafficking Unit (HTU), comprised of two men and eight women,
appears to view female victims of trafficking for the purpose
of sexual exploitation as its priority. The Bahraini
authorities have welcomed offers of training and
investigative assistance from the local office of the U.S.
Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). HTU reports
that it has referred several cases of possible human
trafficking to the Public Prosecution, which determined that
only one of these cases met the legal standard set by the
anti-trafficking law enacted in January 2008. The HTU has a
Thai woman in custody who the GOB charged with trafficking
three other women. The court will conduct a final hearing in
the case against the Thai woman on December 23. The victims
provided testimony against the suspect to the HTU and Public
Prosecution, and then were repatriated at their request.

4. (SBU) Question (b): The law required the GOB establish two
committees, one for policy development, headed by the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and one for victim support,
headed by the Ministry of Social Development. The Minister
of Social Development established the victim support
committee in August. It has not yet developed a formal
victim identification procedure. According to the Public
Prosecution office, investigators attempt to ascertain if
migrant workers were forced or coerced into conducting any
activity, legal or illegal, or had their freedom of movement
restricted in any way.

5. (SBU) Question (c): The three victims mentioned above
provided written testimony against the defendant, and were
repatriated at their request.

6. (SBU) Question (d): The GOB launched a new migrant labor
visa regime and spent considerable time and money explaining
the new system to the public. The system allows for workers
to change employers, shifts the responsibility for "runaway"
workers to employers, and criminalizes the use of so-called
"free visas," the former technically illegal but widespread
practice under which a Bahraini sponsors held a worker's visa
and "allowed" the worker to find their own work and
accommodations for a fee. The new regime is designed to force
employers to register their workers. The changes should end
some former abuses, but they do not yet apply to domestic
household workers. Despite numerous statements from the
Minister of Labor and from the CEO of the Labor Market
Regulatory Authority (LMRA) that the practice of holding
passports is illegal, it remains common. The Migrant Workers
Protection Society, an NGO, reported that administrative
clerks at the courts confirm that the practice was legal.
Sexual exploitation of any kind is illegal.

7. (SBU) Question (d), continued: The HTU produced a flier
describing the new anti-trafficking law and soliciting
complaints to its hotline. The GOB distributes the flier at
the airport. The LMRA continued to expand the material
available on its website, www.lmra.bh, in numerous languages
to enable migrant workers to know their rights under the new
system. The LMRA worked with the International Organization
for Migration to develop an information brochure for all
incoming workers. IOM reports that the brochure is in its
final draft form.

********************************************* ********
Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/manama/
********************************************* ********
HENZEL

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