Cablegate: Update On Trafficking in Persons in Romania

DE RUEHBM #1334/01 3391545
R 051545Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: While Romania remains both a country of
origin and transit point for trafficking in persons (TIP),
its growing prosperity has increased the risk of a
concomitant growth in internal trafficking. Interior
Ministry statistics also suggest that trafficking for labor
exploitation is growing relative to trafficking for sexual
exploitation. There is increased cooperation between
government agencies and NGOs on the prevention front, and
more focus on improving coordination with neighboring states
Moldova and Ukraine to help forestall the risks of Romania
becoming a destination country for trafficking. End Summary.

2. (SBU) TIP NGOs and other contacts have reported that the
GOR's statistical reporting methodology has improved, and
post has growing confidence in recent numbers. Statistics
are gathered from fifteen regional centers, and are
consolidated by the Romanian National Anti-Trafficking Agency
(ANITP) located in the Ministry of Interior and
Administrative Reform. However, ANITP realizes the number of
victims identified likely does not capture the total number
of victims of TIP-related crimes as many victims are
reluctant to identify themselves, primarily because of the
social stigma associated with prostitution. ANITP told
Embassy that it is increasingly trying to bridge the "trust
gap" so that victims feel more comfortable in identifying
themselves to authorities.

3. (SBU) The Interior Ministry identified some 936
trafficking victims in the first half of 2007. All were
Romanian nationals, including 150 minors. 528 victims were
female, and 408 victims were male. With 425 victims, labor
exploitation led the list of types of exploitation, followed
by 406 sexual, 73 begging, and 32 other forms of
exploitations. 105 of the identified TIP victims were
victims of internal trafficking. Victims exploited for labor
included 344 males; victims of sexual exploitation were
almost all females (405 out of 406 victims). Out of the 425
victims exploited for labor, 200 were exploited in
agriculture, 141 in construction, and 27 in the hotel
industry. Victims, ages ranged from 13 to 68 years of age.
113 minors were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 15 for
begging, 10 for forced labor, and 12 for child pornography.

4. (SBU) Italy and Spain remain traditional destination
countries, with 225 and 209 victims trafficked, respectively.
However, the Czech Republic has emerged as a new destination
country, with 114 victims trafficked into the Czech Republic
during the second half of the current year. The regions with
the highest reported number of victims are: Teleorman (66),
Mures (61), Arges (56), Constanta (53), Dolj (54), and Iasi
(45). Only 11 recorded victims were from Bucharest. Victim
profiles suggest that labor exploitation victims are males
from bi-parent families, 25 years of age, from both rural
and urban areas, who are generally recruited through false
job offers. They are frequently emotionally abused and
burdened with debts. Most often they enter the destination
country via bus. Victims of trafficking for sexual
exploitation are generally females from a single-parent
family, between 18 and 25 years of age, originating from
urban areas. They are mostly single, have a high school
education, were recruited by a close family friend or
acquaintance, and were emotionally vulnerable. Many female
victims of sex trafficking may have had a limited
understanding that may be working on the margins of the sex
trade as barmaids or dancers, but do not realize the extent
of the exploitation they will face. MOI data suggest a
growing shift in victim numbers from sexual exploitation to
forced labor. Factors explaining this shift include greater
freedom of movement in the EU and a wider pool of job
opportunities, or simply greater attention to the issue.

5. (SBU) The profile of traffickers varies. They include
members of organized crime rings that may also specialize in
other crimes including narcotics and weapons smuggling.
However, according to MOI contacts and NGOs, most traffickers
tend to come from small networks that maintain contact with
similar small criminal groups in other countries. These
groups tend to consist of five to six members, including
recruiters, transporters, safe houses, and other links in the
trafficking chain. Employment, travel and tourism agencies
have also been implicated. There is no/no indication that
Romanian government officials are involved in trafficking
activities, or that traffickers use their profits to finance
various armed groups, terror organizations or to bribe
Romanian officials. According to a representative of the

BUCHAREST 00001334 002 OF 003

Southern European Cooperation Initiative (SECI), traffickers
are increasingly in semi-consensual relationship with
victims: to avoid detection and possible arrest and/or
conviction, traffickers are increasingly allowing victims to
keep their passports/travel documents, as well as some of
their earnings.

6. (SBU) Funding of NGOs remains an issue of concern. Since
Romania,s accession to the European Union in January 2007,
there has been a reduction in European non-reimbursible
financing programs. Some TIP NGOs have had difficulties in
carrying out their mission. In response, the ANITP set up a
National Interest Program, aimed to provide grant money (over
200K USD) to cover necessary services provided to TIP
victims. The program is funded until the end of 2007, and
all indications point to renewed funding in 2008.

7. (SBU) Official national prevention efforts stress the
theme of "Be careful: there's a price to pay!" These efforts
are aimed at increasing awareness of potential victims and
reducing their vulnerability to trafficking through provision
of a national toll-free number where persons contemplating
working abroad can call for counseling and assistance. In
addition, this help line provides assistance to individuals
already trapped in trafficking situations, who might be
sequestered or otherwise might need assistance, or in
providing counsel to individuals whose relatives or close
friends might be victims. A parallel campaign focusing on
forced labor is due to be launched next year. ANITP is also
in the process of initiating an international toll-free
number for Romanian victims trafficked outside of the
country. At the regional level, prevention activities are
being carried out in schools and local employment agencies,
with the use of leaflets/brochures, educating individuals
contemplating working abroad regarding possible risks and
their legal rights. GOR efforts include a focus on improving
law enforcement cooperation with neighboring states including
Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine, on the premise that--with
growing prosperity--Romania may become a destination country
for victims from Moldova and Ukraine.

8. (SBU) Romanian investigation and prosecution efforts are
improving. According to ANITP in the first six months of
2007, there were 641 investigations of trafficking offenders
(compared to 618 in the same period of 2006). There was also
an increase in the total number of convictions: 131 in the
first six months of 2007 (compared to 187 during all of
2006). Observers point to improved interagency cooperation
as a key factor in the increased number of convictions.
Prosecutors from the Directorate for the Investigation of
Organized Crime and Terrorism-related Offenses also cite
increased information exchanges with counterparts in
destination countries, including in 13 recent cases involving
TIP. They note, too, that they received 44 requests of
international assistance in criminal matters, including 18
requests successfully handled in cooperation with local
police service, and 26 other requests were still in the
courts. The same penalties apply in cases of both
trafficking for sexual exploitation cases and for labor
trafficking offenses. Sentences range from three years to 25
years, based on factors including: number of perpetrators,
age of the victim, harm caused to the victim, and whether
kidnapping, fraud, and/or violence or threats were employed.

9. (SBU) Cooperation between Romanian law enforcement and
NGOs has been much improved through the ANITP, and there have
been joint government-NGO efforts to provide proactive
publicity aimed at potential victims. However, the
leadership of the ANITP and MAI realize law enforcement
efforts remain largely reactive in nature, with investigation
taking place after trafficking has already been committed.
To improve this, SECI contacts note there have been improved
efforts recently to identify organizers and leaders of
trafficking rings and to address the issue on a more
systematic basis, including linked connections of entire
organizations (e.g., the mastermind, pimps, transporters,
etc.) Investigation techniques employed include greater use
of informants, wiretaps, undercover agents, surveillance, and
investigation of money and paper trails. SECI also cites
improved transborder cooperation between and among source,
transit, and destination countries in the region.

10. (SBU) The GOR appears to recognize the necessity to
provide protection and social reintegration for TIP victims,
and the need for a more seamless link between investigations
and assistance. Recent practical experience has demonstrated
that investigative outcomes were improved when assistance
specialists with ANITP, NGOs, or local agencies were

BUCHAREST 00001334 003 OF 003

involved. The ANITP now has 15 regional centers with three
staff members for each (an increase from the previous
requirement for two staff members). These centers help
analyze TIP trends at the local level, monitor the
implementation of anti-trafficking plans, and evaluate
shelter activity. The ANITP's National System for Monitoring
and Assessment processes victims' personal data for
identification and speedy referral to specialized support
services, and cross-references data of TIP victims, including
personal data, pre-trafficking period, recruitment and
transportation, exploitation period, assistance period, and
post-assistance period. This data management has helped
improve the evaluation of the dynamics of TIP at a national
level, and is increasingly integrated with information from
law enforcement, regional TIP centers, NGOs, and medical

11. (SBU) Comment: One continuing weak point remains victim
identification. The onus remains on the victim alone to
identify himself/herself and to come to authorities for help.
In response, ANITP has developed an identification project
and referral norms to increase the number of victims
identified and referred to specialized support services.
National standards are also being developed for victim
assistance services. Another promising area is in
international cooperation with Romanian authorities seeking
to share "best practices" and to deal more effectively with
the trans-national aspects of the issue. Ongoing
partnerships include bilateral programs with the Dutch
government for improving the quality of protection assistance
and a Victim/Witness Coordination program initiated by this
US Embassy (cited by the U.S. Department of Justice as a
regional "best practice"). Romania also participates in a
program to support the development of a transnational
referral mechanisms for TIP victims in Southast Europe,
developed by International Centre for Migration Policy
Development with American financial support. The GOR also
works with UNICEF, UNHCR, Agence Nationale Del l'Accueil des
Etrangers et des Migrations (ANAEM) France, the International
Organization For Migrartion, and the International Labor
Organization. However, the phase-out of USG SEED-sponsored
programs in Romania may adversely impact some of these
efforts. Romanian civil society is starting to fill some of
these gaps, including the participation of Red Cross Romania
in campaigns to prevent child trafficking; Salvati Copiii,s
(Save the Children) outreach to tourism industries and their
work in developing a "code of conduct" for hotels and tourism
industries. Caritas now provides anti-TIP and anti-drug
information in schools, and AIDRom has focused on prevention
and training. Finally, the Ambassador's recent positive
discussion with the new Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox
Church (reftel) also suggests another fruitful area for
developing a "coalition of the willing" in the anti-TIP
effort. End Comment.

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