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Cablegate: Anti-Trafficking Law Progressing in Parliament

VZCZCXRO4118
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #1084 3391121
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051121Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7472
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 001084

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR G/TIP AND NEA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2017
TAGS: PHUM PREL KWMN ELAB SMIG BA
SUBJECT: ANTI-TRAFFICKING LAW PROGRESSING IN PARLIAMENT


Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(C) Summary: In a meeting with the GOB's point-man on trafficking, PolOffs inquired about the progress of anti-trafficking legislation in the Parliament and reminded him that merely enacting the law will not be enough to improve Bahrain's Tier III designation. They discussed a recent prostitution case as an example of how the GOB could better show its commitment to prosecuting traffickers and pro-actively identifying victims. End summary.

2.(U) On November 26, Poloffs met with MFA Undersecretary Sheikh Abdulaziz Bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa and inquired about progress on the anti-trafficking agenda. PolChief noted that recent press reports on the progress of the comprehensive anti-trafficking bill seemed positive, but that lifting the Tier III designation would require more than just passage of the law. Al-Khalifa confirmed that the parliamentary Legal Affairs and Legislation committee had determined that the bill passed constitutional muster and had referred it out of committee with a favorable recommendation. He anticipated passage within several weeks.

3.(C) PolChief reminded Al-Khalifa of the road map Ambassador Lagon spelled out for the GOB during his September 23 visit, which called on Bahrain to enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, show evidence it was prosecuting traffickers, and become more pro-active on victim identification. PolChief noted that passage of the law would be a step in the right direction. He referred to a recently publicized prostitution sting that netted several foreign prostitutes and their Thai madam. It was not clear whether the ring had a Bahraini sponsor. Embassy contacts indicated that the police did not appear to be investigating the case beyond the madam's involvement. (NOTE: Local police requested and received assistance from the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigation Service in executing the sting operation. Most of the customers were reportedly Americans. End note.) PolChief said that cases like this presented an opportunity for the newly-formed anti-trafficking task force to show GOB commitment to prosecuting those who control the vice rings, as well as identification of possible trafficking victims. He also noted that the eight women arrested had all been charged with prostitution and residency violations, and the police did not appear to be treating them as possible trafficking victims. Al-Khalifa was unaware of the case and said he would inquire about the investigation.

4.(U) Al-Khalifa noted that the MFA was working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to identify and recruit a local project manager for a nine month project. He complimented IOM's recently completed project and said that Bahrain needs assistance in implementing anti-trafficking programs. PolChief encouraged the GOB to find the means to fund future programming to further highlight its commitment to anti-trafficking efforts.

5.(C) Comment: Parliament is likely to pass the anti-trafficking law this legislative session. We will continue to impress upon GOB officials that they must show genuine progress on the anti-trafficking law, on prosecutions, and on victim identification if they hope to improve their Tier III designation. ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ******** ERELI

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