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Cablegate: Nicaragua Kicks Off "Call and Live" Anti-Trafficking Campaign

VZCZCXRO9183
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #2717/01 3531902
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191902Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8462
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MANAGUA 002717

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO GTIP DRL IWI PRM WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM KFRD KWMN PHUM PREL
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA KICKS OFF "CALL AND LIVE" ANTI-TRAFFICKING CAMPAIGN

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Inter American Development Bank (IDB),
the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Ricky
Martin Foundation, and UNICEF launched the Nicaraguan "Llama
y Vive" (Call and Live) anti-trafficking in persons (TIP)
campaign December 6 with the participation of the Ministries
of Government and Family. The campaign includes a
youth-oriented media communications strategy to raise
awareness and promote the use of a free 24-hour emergency
hotline. Representatives of the Llama y Vive initiative
expressed concern about Nicaragua's vulnerability to
trafficking, the lack of awareness of the existence of the
phenomenon, and its consequences for human rights and
development. While acknowledging the campaign was a first
step in the prevention phase, they also stressed it was "not
enough" and called for greater civil society and government
collaboration to combat the scourge of human
trafficking. The IOM credited the State Department's Office
of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) for its role in
introducing a pilot program for the Return and Reintegration
of TIP Victims in Central America.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY CONTINUED: Subsequent discussions held the
week of December 11-15, with the Minister of Family, Vice
Minister of Government, and the Director of the Nicaraguan
Women's Institute (INIM) indicate that the 133 hotline is not
well advertised, has suffered technical difficulties and is
not always reliable, and may not be sufficiently staffed or
administered. According to some accounts, the hotline only
works in Managua, which counters the campaign's pledge to
provide assistance to people at risk of being trafficked
along Nicaragua's borders. Further, shelters that are run
out of the Ministry of Family are set up only to assist
children and adolescents, and thus unlikely to meet the needs
of trafficked women. END SUMMARY

133 HOTLINE--CALL AND LIVE, IT'S FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL
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3. (U) Poloff attended the December 6 launching of the Llama
y Vive anti-trafficking campaign, a collaborative project
sponsored by the IDB, Ricky Martin Foundation, IOM, UNICEF,
and the Ministries of Family and Government. The Llama y
Vive initiative is part of a regional effort to provide a
mechanism for the prevention and protection of trafficking
victims aimed primarily at vulnerable women, adolescents, and
individuals seeking to find work outside of Nicaragua. The
campaign seeks to enable and encourage potential victims and
witnesses to report and denounce trafficking incidents by
providing a free and confidential hotline under the slogan of
"call and live." The Ministry of Family had already
established a free 24-hour emergency hotline #133 to help
children and youth at risk, and in conjunction with the Llama
y Vive initiative is extending the use of the hotline to
serve victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation. The 133
hotline ostensibly will be staffed by lawyers, psychologists,
and social workers trained to provide assistance to victims
of trafficking. In addition, the Ministry of Family is to
provide transportation service that will take victims to
shelter.

4. (U) The campaign features the images of pop culture in its
mass media strategy to disseminate information about the
risks and dangers of trafficking. The popular Puerto Rican
entertainer Ricky Martin is the Llama y Vive spokesman and
face in several TV commercials, videos, radio ads, and other
forms of outreach. The campaign also includes short
vignettes of testimonials by trafficking survivors, and
portrays those who fall into the hands of traffickers as the
"slaves of our time."

"NO KNOWLEDGE OF PHENOMENON"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

5. (U) The interlocutors of the opening event warned that Nicaragua is especially vulnerable as a source country due to extreme poverty, level of education, lack of opportunity, and geographic location. Citing the dearth of knowledge about the existence of modern day slavery in Central America, Mirna Llevano of the IDB underscored the need for civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the media to work together to "create awareness" in order to address the problem. She noted that the communications campaign was aimed primarily at prevention but was "not enough," asserting that more needs to be done on the prosecution side and for the protection of victims. She lamented that trafficking was not yet defined as a punishable offense in Nicaragua. Citing the success of Llama y Vive in Peru, where the campaign was first launched five months ago, Llevano wants to see similar results in Nicaragua. She opined that anti-trafficking efforts ought to be incorporated into the modernization of Nicaragua and other developing countries. The Llama y Vive campaign will be extended to Ecuador, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. Further on it will be introduced in Colombia, Mexico, and in Latino communities in the United States.

6. (U) In her remarks, Vice Minister of Government Deyanira
Arguello reiterated the concern about Nicaragua's
vulnerability to trafficking in persons and need to promote
greater awareness of and education about the issue.
Touting the role of the National Anti-Trafficking Coalition
to strengthen police action along the border, and the
actions by the Ministry of Education to teach children and
adolescents about the dangers of trafficking, Arguello
pledged the current government's commitment to fighting
modern day slavery. She hopes that the incoming government
will continue to deal seriously with the issue. Arguello
extolled the Llama y Vive initiative as the first time NGOs
and the government have joined forces to effect
"transcendental change."

7. (U) UNICEF representative Debora Comini presented
statistics on the number of children affected by the
phenomenon and highlighted the devastating consequences it
posed for Nicaragua's development. According to Comini,
available statistics give only part of the story; for every
trafficking incident reported, there are probably
three more that go unreported. She praised the Ministries of
Family and Government for their commitment, and pointedly
called upon the National Assembly to complete the task of
reforming the Penal Code to guarantee that trafficking
offenders receive punishment that is proportional to the
crime.

OFF LINE, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS EXPRESS SKEPTICISM

8. (SBU) Follow-up discussions poloff had separately with the
Minister of Family, Ligia Teran de Astorga; Executive
Director of INIM, Maria Ester Vanegas Lopez; and Vice
Minister Arguello, revealed capacity weaknesses at the
government level that would affect the feasibility of the
anti-trafficking initiative. The vice minister shared her
skepticism about operation of the hotline, noting that the
133 emergency line set up by the Ministry of Family (under
Teran's leadership) was not fully functional nor reliable.
In addition, she revealed that 133 is inadequately staffed
and that often there was no vehicle available to provide
transportation for the callers in peril. She said the
success of the Llama y Vive campaign will depend on whether
the Ministry of Family can improve the hotline service. As
head of the women's institute, Vanegas expressed concern
about the lack of resources and political will to address the
issue.

9. (SBU) Vanegas claimed public knowledge about the hotline
was limited, and that it was primarily established to provide
a line of support for children and adolescents. Arguello
indicated that the existing government-run shelters were only
for children and not equipped to assist women who were either
trafficked or suffered other forms of abuse. Teran, in
contrast, was far more upbeat about the hotline as a service
to assist children and adolescents, but explained that #133
was "only available in Managua," a statement at odds with the
media campaign which suggests the service is set up to assist
prevention throughout the country.

U.S. PRAISED FOR ASSISTANCE WITH REINTEGRATION OF VICTIMS
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10. (U) While Llama y Vive focuses primarily on the prevention phase of the anti-trafficking in persons strategy, Raul Rivas of IOM took the opportunity of the forum to also discuss a separate pilot project underway to address the protection of victims phase. Citing the need for governments and international organizations to work in partnership to combat trafficking, Rivas credited the involvement of the State Department's Office of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in implementing the Return and Reintegration of Victims of Trafficking, program.

COMMENT
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11. (SBU) The Llama y Vive initiative is a positive development in employing NGO and government cooperation to raise awareness and generate media coverage to address the prevention side of trafficking in persons. However, given the Nicaraguan government's limited resources, the campaign may be advertising a service that does not exist. Concerns raised by representatives of the Ministry of Government and the Nicaraguan Institute for Women (INIM) suggest a disconnect between a flashy media campaign and reality. At the same time, by increasing awareness of the problem, international organizations, civil society, and the media can help play a key role as a check on the government's commitment to deal with the trafficking phenomenon.

TRIVELLI

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