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Cablegate: Recent Developments in Vietnam's Tip Efforts

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) Summary: Vietnam continues to take more direct steps
to combat trafficking in persons (TIP), in part with
assistance from the international community. New and
ongoing strategies include: the creation of anti-trafficking
police units in local provinces; a large-scale media and
education campaign on both sides of the China-Vietnam
border; the release of the first comprehensive statistical
report on trafficking in Vietnam; and final stages to
approve a national strategy for combating TIP. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. (U) According to UNICEF/Hanoi's Nguyen Thi Ha,
ineffective enforcement of current laws against sexual
exploitation and the trafficking of women and children by
local government officials remains a major problem, despite
the central government's efforts to ensure compliance.
Troels Vester, of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime staff in
Hanoi, separately attributed this uneven performance to lack
of awareness by local officials about trafficking generally
and about Vietnamese laws prohibiting trafficking

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3. (U) Beginning in August 2003, UNODC has spearheaded a
USG-funded campaign to educate select law enforcement
officers, prosecutors, judges, and other officials in Hanoi,
Quang Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, and Tay Ninh on trafficking.
In April 2004, the formal training sessions for these
officials took place. Presentations and workshops discussed
topics including: the difference between human trafficking
and smuggling of migrants; victim protection during trial;
mutual legal assistance; and investigation principles. Pre-
and post-training questionnaires tested participants'
awareness of these issues; results showed that "participants
improved significantly during the training," Vester said.

4. (U) Encouraged by the success of the UNODC campaign, the
Ministry of Public Security (MPS) recently decided to set up
dedicated anti-trafficking police units in local provinces,
funded entirely by the GVN. Exact size, composition, and
location of these units have yet to be determined.
According to Vester, UNODC will likely work with MPS on the
implementation phase of the project, with the first units
expected to be put in place by the end of the year. The
goal is for these operations to expand to all 63 provinces
of Vietnam.

5. (U) From June 26 to July 3, UNODC and ten high-level GVN
officials, including the Commissioner of Police, will meet
with counterparts in Australia to discuss Australian anti-
trafficking efforts as a model to develop these new anti-
trafficking units in Vietnam. According to Vester, the trip
will be funded in part by the government of Australia as an
attempt to increase high-level, bilateral talks on a variety
of issues.


6. (U) In addition, UNICEF, the governments of Vietnam and
China, the Vietnam Women's Union, and the Women's Union of
China recently kicked off a joint mass communications effort
to educate people and local government leaders on
trafficking, tactics used by traffickers, signs to detect
persons being trafficked, and related issues. The campaign
also addresses the protection of victims, including health
checks for repatriated victims, training on how to counsel
trafficked persons, and workshops on local laws regarding
sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women and
children. UNICEF's goals for the campaign are to reduce
cross border trafficking and to create a social movement
against trafficking.

7. (U) The UNICEF-led campaign will take place in Vietnam
and China simultaneously, with the same materials (in
different languages) used in both countries. In Vietnam,
the campaign is concentrated in Quang Ninh, Lang Son, and
Lai Chau provinces in the north and An Giang and Dong Tap
provinces in the south. UNICEF's Ha estimated that the
campaign would reach approximately 4000 Vietnamese people
directly and millions more indirectly, through television,
radio, and newspaper announcements. Less than one month
into the project, an estimated US $50,000 has already gone
into the campaign. The campaign is in part funded by UNICEF
and is expected to last until the year's end.

8. (U) The mass education campaign grew from bilateral
talks regarding increasing trafficking activities in border
areas of Vietnam and China. Annual meetings over the issue
began in 2001. Last year's bilateral talks resulted in five
"unofficial" agreements, one of which is the communications
campaign facilitated by UNICEF. No "official" agreements
have yet resulted, but Ha predicted that this first-ever
joint communication campaign between Vietnam and China will
encourage the two countries to sign a Memorandum of
Understanding on combating sexual exploitation and the
trafficking of women and children.

--------------------------------------------- ----

9. (U) Working with Cooperazione Italiana and UNICEF, the
MPS also recently released the first comprehensive
statistical report on trafficking in Vietnam. The report
gathered statistics through June 2003 in 17 key provinces
and cities throughout Vietnam: Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Cao Bang,
Lang Son, Quang Ninh, Ha Tay, Bac Giang, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An,
Ho Chi Minh City, Tay Ninh, An Giang, Dong Thap, Vinh Long,
and Can Tho provinces, as well as in two districts located
along the China border in Lai Chau province. According to
UNICEF and UNODC officials, the actual number of people
being trafficked is likely significantly greater than in the
report, which focused only on cases confirmed by the police.
(MPS has explicitly acknowledged this weakness in the
report.) A detailed analysis of the report will follow


10. (U) The 5th plenary session of the 9th National
Assembly, which concluded on June 15, discussed the current
draft of the 2010 National Program of Action on Trafficking
in Persons, according to Nghiem Phong Vu of the Office of
the National Assembly. Further coordination between MPS and
the Chinese Bureau of State Security will be necessary
before the draft is final, but the process has moved
forward, Vu said. UNODC and UNICEF officials are optimistic
about its ratification.

11. (U) The general objective of the new strategy is to
"create changes in awareness and action of different levels,
departments and the whole society on prevention and
combating against trafficking of women and children. . ."
It includes four main proposals:
- To increase regular advocacy and education at the
community level, particularly in high-risk areas.
Designating the Vietnam Women's Union as the lead agency on
this objective, the plan assumes that advocacy and education
will "integrate the advocacy of the prevention of crimes and
social evils, develop cultural families, healthy communes. .
. [and provide] support [and] counselling for families of
victims, women and children who are vulnerable;"
- To "focus on prevention activities, identification,
investigation and sanction on traffickers. . ." The MPS is
designated the lead agency for this effort;
- To heighten monitoring at border points. The Border Guard
Commanding Bureau will be in charge of conducting,
receiving, and transferring traffickers and trafficking
- To strengthen the existing legal framework prohibiting
trafficking. Vietnam will conduct research on current laws
on trafficking and related issues such as marriage,
adoption, tourism, and labor export in order to address
loopholes that traffickers might easily exploit.

12. (U) Comment: These recent developments show a continued
willingness by the GVN to allocate additional law
enforcement resources to address trafficking. The GVN's
interest in and need for international assistance and
significant bilateral cooperation with China remain high,
however. USG funding, currently through UNODC, is already
making a positive difference in GVN performance and local

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