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Cablegate: Mfa Briefs On 2003 Tip Action Plan Status

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

UNCLAS MANAMA 001113

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ARP, INL/G/TIP: FASEFFA, AND DRL/IL
LONDON FOR ETHAN GOLDRICH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM BA
SUBJECT: MFA BRIEFS ON 2003 TIP ACTION PLAN STATUS

REF: 03 MANAMA 2699

1. On July 10, Chairman of the Interministerial Committee on
Anti-TIP activities, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Assistant
Undersecretary Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Mubarak Al Khalifa
briefed P/E Chief and PolOff on the status of the remaining
items from the GOB 2003 Action Plan.

- VICTIM ABUSE SHELTER - Shaikh Abdul Aziz was pleased to
report that the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of
Labor and Social Affairs have established a victim assistance
shelter in Hidd on the eastern coast of Bahrain. Shaikh
Abdul Aziz invited PolOff to accompany him on a site visit.

- OPERATIONAL HOTLINE - PolOff informed Shaikh Abdul Aziz
that MEPI approved a small grant to train both the MOLSA
hotline telephone operators and the Bahrain Centre for Human
Rights Migrant Workers Group volunteers. "Now that we have
the money and a contractor, we need to set dates," she said.
Shaikh Abdul Aziz said he would discuss Fall scheduling for
the training seminar with MOLSA Director of Labor Relations
Ali bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa.

- PUBLIC AWARENESS PLAN BY THE MUNICIPALITIES - Shaikh Abdul
Aziz reported that only the Manama Central Governate
announced plans to launch a anti-TIP public awareness
campaign. Shaikh Abdul Aziz indicated that he would look at
renewing public awareness activities.

- INVESTIGATION, PREVENTION AND PROSECUTION - Shaikh Abdul
Aziz was pleased to report that the MOLSA Director of Labor
Relations Shaikh Ali has stepped up labor inspections to
crack down on manpower agencies involved in human
trafficking. In a July 7 Gulf Daily News article, MOLSA
cited that three inspectors have been designated to look into
complaints about malpracticing manpower agencies. There are
currently 82 licensed manpower agencies and that in the past
two years 63 agencies have been shut down. Shaikh Ali
reported to PolOff on June 14 that he is working directly
with the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Migrant Workers
Group on investigating housemaid abuse cases. He also said
that MOLSA plans to hire more labor, safety and tourism
inspectors and increase spot inspections. Shaikh Ali has
issued a press release on MOLSA's campaign to crack down on
"free visa" violators.

- CRIMINALIZE TRAFFICKING - P/E Chief inquired whether
Shaikh Abdul Aziz had succeeded in inserting a provision to
criminalize trafficking into the draft labor law. P/E Chief
also asked if the GOB labor law negotiators are looking at
insuring that the labor law protects household workers.
Shaikh Abdul Aziz admitted that the labor law is in its
infancy and would ask the MFA's Director of Legal Affairs to
check the draft to see if it included provisions like these.

-----------------------------------
POSSIBLE ITEMS FOR 2004 ACTION PLAN
-----------------------------------

2. Shaikh Abdul Aziz told Emboffs that he plans to convene
the inter-ministerial task force this month to discuss
anti-TIP activities planned for the upcoming year. EmbOFFs
presented possible items to be included in a GOB 2004 action
plan. Shaikh Abdul Aziz thanked EmbOFFs for their
suggestions and promised to put them before the task force.

3. PolOFF forwarded this list to Shaikh Abdul Aziz.

- Develop a comprehensive anti-trafficking law
- Bring domestic workers under the protection of its labor
laws
- Encourage and foster participation of NGOs to fight
trafficking
- Expedite labor dispute hearings
- Make mediation services widely available to victims
- Provide timely statistics on labor court decisions,
prosecutions and complaints
- Prosecute employers that abuse or traffic victims and
prevent them from securing additional work permits for
foreign workers
- Participate in the approved IOM TIP project
- Schedule hotline operator training
WILLIAMSON

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