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Cablegate: Usg Experts Train New Anti-Trafficking Unit

VZCZCXRO3325
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #0486/01 2041344
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221344Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8004
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0250
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAMA 000486

SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/TIP
BAGHDAD FOR AMBASSADOR ERELI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/22/2018
TAGS: KCRM PHUM ASEC BA
SUBJECT: USG EXPERTS TRAIN NEW ANTI-TRAFFICKING UNIT

REF: MANAMA 144 Classified By: CDA Christopher Henzel for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: NCIS and ICE provided anti-TIP training for 13 Bahraini police officers. The trainees described challenges they face, some cultural, some procedural, and some simply reflecting a lack of expertise. End summary.

2. (C) In June, Richard Silver, a British advisor to Bahrain's Ministry of Interior, approached the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) office attached to NAVCENT headquarters here. Silver asked for training for the Interior Ministry's new anti-trafficking in persons unit (reftel). NCIS and Embassy brought in agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Riyadh. On July 9 and 10, ICE attaches Barry Harsa and Oscar Hagelsieb, and NCIS Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge Glenn Roessler, trained 13 officers from Bahrain's anti-TIP unit, the vice squad, and the cyber crimes unit. Poloff also attended.

3. (C) Captain Ebrahim Rumaihi commands the Interior Ministry's ten-member anti-trafficking unit. According to NCIS, Rumaihi was selected because of his rank and 14 years of service, despite his less than stellar reputation. During the training, he sat in the back of the room, and barely seemed interested. (NOTE: Rumaihi's apparent lack of interest may have stemmed from his weak English. End note.) First Lieutenant Bedoor Muath is second in command, and one of eight female officers in the unit. In stark contrast to her boss, Muath, who has three years of service, sat up front, engaged the trainers, and translated for the more senior officers who attended.

4. (C) Assistant Lieutenant Ali Hassan Mohammed of the vice unit has 28 years of police service and was the longest serving Bahraini to attend. He described some of the challenges confronting the police, and particularly male officers, when combating TIP: -- Male officers feel it inappropriate to contact a female colleague after hours; -- Male officers worry that if they were seen meeting a female, whether a colleague or victim, in public, they could lose their job; -- Traditionally, the police force takes sources to the police station for interviews, so the force has little experience running long-term sources; -- Police must pass suspects to Public Prosecution within 48 hours of their arrest, and may not pursue the case further without a request from the prosecution; -- The unit does not maintain on-call interpreters for the languages TIP victims typically speak, and not all local embassies are responsive to police requests for support; -- Public Prosecution "has not supported" the unit's cases to date.

5. (C) Lieutenant Mohammed offered examples of the last two complaints. After arresting 121 Chinese women, the vice unit approached the Chinese embassy to request Chinese language support. The embassy refused to provide any support and told the unit, "We are not involved in this case." Not having anticipated the embassy's reaction and lacking the linguistic resources to take the investigation further, the unit could not meaningfully engage the women to explore possible trafficking. In the end, the evidence gathered by the unit allowed the Public Prosecution to pursue nothing more than prostitution charges. The women were sentenced to jail time and processed for deportation.

6. (C) In another recent case, police arrested a Thai woman and Indian man for leading a ring of 39 prostitutes. The woman was sending BD 20,000 (USD 53,000) out of the country every month. Despite an intensive effort on the part of the anti-trafficking unit to interview the women, the Public Prosecution deemed the evidence insufficient to support trafficking charges. The Thai woman and Indian man were charged with running a brothel, not with trafficking. One of the police officers involved in the investigation told poloff that a representative of the prosecutor's office told him that, "the women knew they were coming to be prostitutes." He believed that the investigation had generated strong evidence and surmised that the prosecutors took the easy way out by not pressing trafficking charges against the two. MANAMA 00000486 002 OF 002

7. (C) The police officers who attended the training expressed disappointment that they were often unable to meet the evidentiary demands of the Public Prosecution. Lts. Muath and Mohammed both expressed an interest in practical training and working directly with U.S. law enforcement. Mohammed specifically requested two weeks working on cases with ICE for himself and other members of the unit. Members of the anti-trafficking unit visited NCIS offices on July 13 to enhance their working relationship.

8. (C) Comment: ICE and NCIS agents expressed amazement at the apparent lack of the Bahraini trainees' investigative sophistication. NCIS, ICE, and Embassy will offer further training to MinInt. ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ******** HENZEL
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