Cablegate: Carlin Talks Tip Tactics with Judicial Officials;

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

This is a joint Ankara-Istanbul cable.

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1. (U) IIP Speaker Barbara Carlin, Resident Legal Attache in
Skopje, Macedonia, brought her expertise on prosecution of
human trafficking cases to Turkey to support a Ministry of
Justice conference for 50 judges and prosecutors on February
9. The conference, organized by the International
Organization of Migration (IOM) in cooperation with Public
Affairs Section Ankara, was part of an ongoing training
program undertaken by the Ministry of Justice for officials
of the judiciary, police and gendarmerie on trafficking in

2. (U) The morning session of the conference was devoted to a
discussion of the international legal definitions of
trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, and the
differences between them. An overview of the Turkish
legislation on trafficking was presented by Dr. Cetin Arslan,
public prosecutor for the Turkish Supreme Court. Ms. Carlin
made a detailed presentation on "Prevention, Protection, and
Prosecution" of TIP cases and discussed each component of a
TIP strategy aimed at bringing criminals to justice. Her
extensive and carefully-prepared materials were translated
into Turkish by IOM, thereby assuring full access to them by
all participants. The afternoon session was devoted to case
studies, during which the participants discussed the
applicability of specific prosecutorial practices and engaged
in hands-on activities as they followed cases through stages
from investigation to apprehension and prosecution.

3. (SBU) In the course of the day's sessions, Ms. Carlin's
dialogue with the participants highlighted challenges faced
in prosecuting TIP cases in Turkey, and sought strategies for
managing those difficulties and taking advantage of all of
the legal resources available to combat TIP. Participants
estimated that the overall conviction rate in Turkey was 60%.
They noted, however, that the rate appeared low because in
Turkey when there is any evidence that a crime has been
committed, it must be brought to trial-- not just if the
evidence is strong. Participants also observed that since
the public prosecutor is senior to police and jandarma, he
should carry out the investigation himself, but sometimes
turns it over to police. However, when the prosecutor
himself carries out the investigation, often not as much
evidence is gathered. Police and Interior Ministry officials
separately confided concerns that changes in the Procedural
Code taking effect April 1 would further distance law
enforcement bodies from the investigation process. They
claim that under the new rules, the police will be forced to
ask prosecutors for permission to conduct searches and other
parts of the investigation, and their hands will be tied.

4. (SBU) Participants' comments highlighted a number of
differences between the U.S. and Turkish legal systems, some
of which make prosecution of TIP cases (or any organized
crime) difficult. For example, the use of plea bargaining as
a tool to extract information is not practiced, at least as
we know it. Participants stated that prosecutors have no
authority to bargain; even if an accomplice provides all the
crucial evidence, a case must be filed against him. However,
the judge may elect to give a smaller sentence.
Additionally, according to the organized crime law, if a
person is a member of an organized-crime group but has not
personally committed a crime, they may not be charged. Under
the new Penal Code taking effect April 1, it will be possible
for a judge to give no sentence if a person has provided
information used in a trial.

5. (SBU) Similarly, due to lack of funding, there is little
in the way of a witness protection program as such. Judges
and prosecutors who feel threatened may apply to the
protection board, but the protection mechanism is not very
efficient. In an effort to stimulate participants to find
alternatives, Ms. Carlin described a program funded by Public
Affairs Section Skopje and supported by SECI in which police
officers escort a victim for the duration of her stay for the
trial until her return to her home country. She emphasized
that the witness is in more danger before giving testimony
than afterwards.

6. (SBU) Ms. Carlin described a number of other resources
prosecutors and judges may be able to use in order to get
traffickers convicted. Forfeiture laws could be used to
secure control of traffickers' assets, which could then be
used to help the victims. Videoconferencing (allowed under
the April 1 procedural changes) is a key tool both for
protecting victims and for facilitating their testimony in
other countries. In addition, even when the evidence in a
human trafficking case is elusive, suspects could be charged
with tax evasion, solicitation of prostitution, forming a
criminal group, among other crimes.

7. (U) Results: Ministry of Justice officials, IOM
representatives and the participants themselves rated the
conference a huge success. The conference gave participants
an opportunity to learn firsthand how the U.S. Department of
Justice prosecutes TIP cases and to look at how they can
adapt particular strategies and procedures for use in Turkey.
They also came away with a strong sense of the importance
the USG and the international community place on TIP crimes.
According to Ilyas Pehlivan of the MOJ, participants
expressed interest in further training on trafficking in
persons, particularly focusing on Turkish law, as well as the
effect oF international protocols.


8. (SBU) On February 11 in Istanbul, Carlin led a workshop
for representatives of 14 NGOs that promote women's rights.
The workshop, organized by the Istanbul public affairs
section, was part of continuing efforts to increase public
outreach on anti-trafficking issues and to urge more NGOs to
become involved in anti-trafficking work. Currently, the
Human Resource Development Foundation (HRDF), which runs the
sole shelter for trafficked victims in Turkey, is the only
NGO in Istanbul that includes anti-TIP related activities as
part of its mission. The workshop was particularly unusual
in that it brought women's rights advocates from Turkey's
"secular" organizations and their more
religiously-conservative, Islamic-oriented counterparts
together for the first time. While it was obvious that the
two groups viewed each other with some suspicion at the
beginning of the session, Carlin was able to generate a
fruitful and lively discussion about the issue at hand. The
participants represented a wide spectrum of women's
rights-related interests, including legal, social and
medical. Several of the women were lawyers-- one participant
in particular, Canan Arin, founder of the Istanbul Bar
Association Women Center, is well-known throughout Turkey as
a leading women's rights advocate. Another woman's work
focused on improving the portrayal of women in the media.

9. (SBU) Since most of the participants' activities centered
around problems faced by Turkish-- not foreign-- women,
Public Affairs Section Istanbul decided to focus the
discussion on internally-trafficked victims. These women, as
well as children, come to Istanbul from very underdeveloped
and mostly rural parts of Turkey to look for work. Most come
voluntarily but then find that their lack of education makes
it impossible to find employment. They eventually fall into
prostitution, and in many cases end up being held against
their will. In other cases, impoverished families "sell"
their daughters to the traffickers. The perceived shame that
these women would bring to their families makes their return
home impossible, but shelters for such internally-trafficked
women do not exist in Turkey. The workshop participants
agreed that more should be done for such victims, but that
funding was an issue. Since the women could not be sent
home, they would have to receive extensive long-term
psychological, financial, educational and possibly medical
support. Also discussed was the lack of sufficient legal
repercussions for the clients of trafficked victims in
Turkey. In response to Carlin's raising of the issue, the
lawyers present agreed that Turkey's anti-trafficking
legislation does not call for the punishment of clients of
trafficked victims, and that this should be remedied. All
participants agreed that public awareness of trafficked women
and children should be increased, and discussed the role of
the media in this regard.
10. (SBU) Following the workshop several participants
expressed their thanks for the workshop, noting that they now
realized that NGOs across the board needed to work together
on TIP and women's issues in general. The Consulate plans to
follow up with the NGOs by organizing a DVC with a U.S.-based
NGO on public outreach.

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