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Cablegate: G/Tip Visit Presses Cambodian Government for More

VZCZCXRO6860
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #1385/01 2131101
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011101Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7099
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 001385

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR G/TIP, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ELAB PREL KWMN CB
SUBJECT: G/TIP VISIT PRESSES CAMBODIAN GOVERNMENT FOR MORE
ANTI-TIP ACTION


1. (SBU) Summary. G/TIP Senior Coordinator Mark Taylor,s
July 25-26 visit to Cambodia provided an opportunity to press
the Cambodian government to take additional anti-TIP
measures. USG recommendations to RGC officials focused
primarily on quicker action by police authorities, greater
cooperation with NGOs, and cracking down on corruption. NGOs
discussed labor exploitation and a need to monitor aftercare
facilities. Judicial reform has improved over the year, but
progress in the Ministry of Interior on investigations and
arrests remains largely stagnant. Cambodia's draft
anti-trafficking law is expected to pass by year's end. End
Summary.

--------------------------------------
NGO CONCERNS WITH LABOR AND GOVERNMENT
--------------------------------------

2. (SBU) During G/TIP Senior Coordinator Mark Taylor's
visit to Cambodia, NGO interlocutors voiced concerns over
labor trafficking/exploitation and victim protection. They
claim that 90% of labor exploitation is invisible and
laborers lack essential protections. Currently, 63 licensed,
labor exporting companies operate in Cambodia and mainly send
migrant workers to Thailand, South Korea and Malaysia. The
Cambodian Women's Crisis Center (CWCC) told Taylor that the
Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth (MOSAVY)
verbally agreed that labor companies could confiscate
workers' travel documents upon arrival to Malaysia -- leaving
workers more vulnerable to exploitation. Without the passage
of the anti-trafficking draft law, aftercare shelters lack
legal authority to help victims and depend heavily on court
authorization. NGOs criticized the draft law's definition of
trafficking as too narrowly focused on trafficking for sex
purposes. Moreover, the NGO Coalition to Address Sexual
Exploitation of Children in Cambodia (COSECAM) has proposed
minimal standards for shelters, but they have not yet been
approved by MOSAVY and will be adopted by aftercare shelters
on a voluntary basis. Organizations like CWCC also would
like the government to implement measures to provide security
for aftercare shelters.

3. (SBU) Police inactivity is the most significant factor
in contributing to fewer TIP-related arrests in 2006 to date,
says the International Justice Mission (IJM). The anti-TIP
police unit has grown in size but has done little in the past
six months. During the past year, a lengthy approval process
held up many cases which could have resulted in a greater
number of arrests. A MOU between IJM and the Ministry of
Interior (MOI) is nearing approval; this will speed up the
approval process as well as allow IJM to freely conduct
undercover investigations. AFESIP agreed with IJM that the
lack of police cooperation has hindered investigations.
Somaly Mam noted that AFESIP preferred to work with the
MOI,s anti-TIP police because of AFESIP's distrust of
provincial authorities. Hok Lundy has been more cooperative
with AFESIP lately and has granted almost all of their
requests for police action, say NGO reps.

--------------------------------------------- -------
MOST OF THE GOVERNMENT IS IMPROVING, THE MOI HAS NOT
--------------------------------------------- -------

4. (U) Since initiating reforms nine months ago, the Phnom
Penh Municipal Court has made strides with TIP prosecutions
and convictions. In 2005, the new president of the court,
Chiv Keng, filed 49 cases of trafficking and held trials for
43. Additionally, charges were filed against two police
officers of the anti-TIP unit. Keng and one of the Court's
prosecutors blamed the lack of judicial officers as a
limitation to new prosecutions. Currently, there are only
six prosecutors and eleven judges, while in the past there
were seven prosecutors and 16 judges. The prosecutor
attributed the failed prosecutions to a lack of legal
understanding by police as well as inattention to the
importance of evidence collection. Keng desires greater
modernization of the court, including recording machines and
computer database systems.

5. (SBU) Touch Samon of MOSAVY greeted Taylor and
immediately started to highlight progress in 2006. The MOI,
the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), MOSAVY, the Ministry of Health
(MOH), Ministry of Education (MOE), together with the NGOs
have been drafting an MOU which will determine the roles of
the government and victim support agencies. A conference in
Siem Reap implementing the Cambodian-Thai MOU shaped
agreements on 1) procedure for repatriation and reintegration
of victims and 2) procedure for the prosecution of TIP
offenders. Also, the Thai government has agreed to fund
construction of a shelter along the border to care for

PHNOM PENH 00001385 002 OF 002


Cambodian victims repatriated from Thailand. The Minister of
Women's Affairs, Ing Kantha Phavi, criticized government
corruption for ineffectiveness in combating trafficking.

6. (SBU) During Taylor,s meeting with General Un
Sokunthea, head of the MOI's Anti-Trafficking Department,
Sokunthea praised her department's growth from seven anti-TIP
units to 17 units and an increase in female officers; this
was in contrast to comments made by an advisor to the MOI who
told Taylor that the anti-TIP unit has grown too big and
bloated like the entire Cambodian police force. She also
addressed an NGO concern that the anti-TIP unit lacks power
in the provinces by noting that her department does have the
authority to order provincial police to take action.
Although her unit does not have judicial police, the unit
functions along the lines of the judicial police per General
Hok Lundy,s approval. Taylor gave General Sokunthea three
recommendations: 1) address TIP-related corruption among
police officers 2) facilitate quicker approval for police
action 3) establish a point person for all TIP actions.

7. (SBU) MOJ officials took great interest in the U.S.
Department of Justice's upcoming judicial training regarding
trafficking cases and were open to any other opportunities
G/TIP could provide. In line with best practices, the
judiciary is moving forward with the appointment of special
judges and prosecutors for trafficking cases. Some courts
have already nominated specific judges; others, like the
Phnom Penh court, have not. MOJ reps told Taylor that phase
1 of a joint Asia Regional Cooperation to Prevent People
Trafficking (ARCPPT) project focusing on police training has
just ended, and phase 2 involving the court system will
commence in August. MOJ officials mentioned that the child
exploitation database, developed with UNICEF help, is
operational, and the MOJ hopes to expand it to incorporate
trafficking cases. The MOJ reps complained that the police
have not forwarded all TIP cases to them. MOJ
representatives predicted that the draft trafficking law will
be passed by the end of the year or early next year.

8. (SBU) Comment: NGOs provided a fresh perspective by
focusing at length on labor migration issues, as opposed to
the normal dialogue centering on trafficking for sexual
exploitation. Court changes, especially with some
appointments of specific judges and prosecutors to handle
trafficking cases, signaled a vast improvement with the
judiciary. On the other hand, the MOI was the subject of
separate NGO complaints and has shown little initiative in
2006 to carry out investigations brought to police attention
by various NGOs. In those instances where investigations are
initiated, NGOs note that sometimes it is too late and they
suspect the police have tipped off the establishment. When
the Ambassador carries out the demarche associated with the
Tier 2 Watchlist Action Plan for Cambodia, we will ensure
that these issues are highlighted to RGC officials. End
comment.
MUSSOMELI

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