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Cablegate: Engaging Ecowas On Regional Tip Activities

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 002437

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR G/TIP, INL AND AF/RA


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM KWMN PHUM NI ECOWAS
SUBJECT: ENGAGING ECOWAS ON REGIONAL TIP ACTIVITIES


1. In recent meetings with officials ofthe ECOWAS
Secretariat's Legal Affairs Department, RNLEO presented the

SIPDIS
framework of a G/TIP-funded project to strengthen the
Secretariat's capacity to implement the new ECOWAS Plan of

SIPDIS
Action Against Trafficking in Persons (TIP). This project,
funded with $350,000 (FY02), will be implemented through the
UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP).


2. Director of Legal Affairs Roger Laloupo and his deputy,
Henrietta Didigu, responded enthusiastically to the news of
prospective USG funding for the nascent ECOWAS regional
initiative. Laloupo noted the fortuitous timing of the
offer, as the Secretariat feels under pressure to show
tangible progress in implementing the Plan of Action prior to
the December 2002 ECOWAS Summit, when Executive Secretary
Chambas will be required to present a report on the Plan's
execution.


3. Laloupo and Didigu noted their desire to first address the
legal and policy demands of the ECOWAS Plan of Action. These
are contained in the "Legal Framework and Policy Development"
section of the Plan, and include the setting up fo permanent
implementation committees or task forces in each member-state
as well as the creation of an anti-TIP desk or unit within
the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja. A full-time anti-TIP
officer at the Secretariat could coordinate member-states'
efforts to set up national task forces and harmonize laws and
policies in line with both the ECOWAS Plan of Action and the
UN Transnational Organized Crime Convention's Protocol to
Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
Especiall Women and Children.


4. The Secretariat also hopes to establish a fund to cover
the costs of short-term protection and the repatriation of
rescued trafficking victims within the ECOWAS region.
Requests for use of these funds would come from
member-states' national anti-TIP task forces or committees
and would be coordinated by the new ECOWAS Secretariat
Coordination Unit. Didigu stated that the Secretariat looks
to the international donor community to assit in setting up
this fund.


5. RNLEO noted that it might be best to let an international
NGO or organization like UNICEF or IOM set up and oversee
such a fund on behalf of ECOWAS, given the extremely limited
capacity at the Secretariat to manage effectively programs
such as this. RNLEO further suggested that USAID's regional
programs might be considered as a possible source of
assistance to help ECOWAS build capacity in this regional
repatriation effort.


6. Didigu and Laloupo disclosed that the Secretariat plans to
organize, and together with UNODCCP, host a regional seminar
in October on coordinating implementation of the Plan of
Action. This two-day seminar would be held back-to-back with
a two-day conference ECOWAS intends to have with
representatives of the Economic Community of Central African
States (ECCAS) to help ECCAS adopt a regional Plan of Action
similar to the one developed by ECOWAS. No venue has yet
been selected for the two events, but Accra is favored.


7. Action for G/TIP: Please provide funding data for this
project and guidance on grant modalities for an agreement
with UNODCCP as soon as possible.


JETER

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