Cablegate: Pressing Turkish Mfa On Trafficking in Persons

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




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) Jan. 27 Polcouns and Poloff paid introductory call
Haldun Otman, newly-appointed MFA Deputy Director General of
Consular Affairs, to press the GOT to follow through on
recent efforts to combat trafficking in persons (TIP).
Polcouns noted that the USG last year upgraded Turkey from
Tier III to Tier II in the annual TIP Report based on a
number of late GOT initiatives. The GOT must follow up on
these initiatives in order to maintain progress against TIP
and remain in Tier II. A return to Tier III could trigger
USG economic sanctions. Polcouns noted that the GOT in
September 2003 signed an anti-TIP protocol with the Human
Resources Development Foundation (HRDF), an Istanbul-based
NGO, that included shelters, a voluntary repatriation
program, and training. MFA officials have explained to the
Embassy (reftel) that neither the GOT nor HRDF have been able
to secure funding for the protocol, but the GOT needs to find
a way to begin implementing it. In addition, the USG this
year will need detailed information about arrests,
prosecutions, and sentencing in TIP-related trials.

2. (U) Otman replied that the GOT takes TIP seriously and is
working to expand its efforts to combat trafficking. Noting
that the USG re-evaluated Turkey and upgraded it to Tier II
recently -- in September 2003 -- Otman averred that the GOT
needs time to implement the latest anti-TIP initiatives. For
example, GOT officials are currently examining options for
opening a shelter for TIP victims.

3. (U) Poloff noted that the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) recently submitted to the GOT a USD 1.2
million pilot project that would include shelters, training,
and a voluntary repatriation program. IOM is seeking
international donors for the plan. The project would allow
the GOT to move forward on the commitments of the protocol it
signed with HRDF. Otman said the GOT is reviewing the IOM
proposal, but needs to resolve a number of issues before
deciding whether to proceed. For example, some elements of
the GOT question why IOM insists that its staff accompany
voluntary returnees all the way to the airplane. Poloff said
this is consistent with IOM procedures worldwide; IOM must
accompany returnees to ensure the returns are voluntary.
Otman said MFA is verifying whether other countries allow IOM
such access. MFA supports the IOM project, but needs more
information in order to convince other ministries.

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