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Cablegate: Child Protection Officials Disappointed With

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RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHBP #0759 2460734
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 020734Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAMAKO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9596
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAMAKO 000759

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR G/TIP ZEITLIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM KWMN PHUM PGOV ML
SUBJECT: CHILD PROTECTION OFFICIALS DISAPPOINTED WITH
DECISIONS OF JUDICIAL COLLEAGUES

REF: BAMAKO 00707

1.(U) On August 15 the Embassy met with Ayouba Goile, the
newly appointed Deputy Director of the National Office for
the Protection of Children. The National Office is the
Malian Government's lead agency in the area of combating
trafficking in persons and falls under the authority of the
Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children and Families
(MPFEF). The Embassy visited Goile to establish contact and
brief him on our concerns regarding Mali's efforts to combat
trafficking. During the meeting we provided Goile with a
copy of the 2007 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report and
explained Mali's status as a Tier 2 TIP country. We also
inquired about the status of five child trafficking suspects
recently released by local authorities in the towns of Kita
and Sikasso (Ref. A).

2.(U) Goile expressed his thanks for the contact and the TIP
report. He confessed that he was unaware of the release of
the trafficking suspects and agreed to look into the matter.
He went on to explain that Mali was dedicated to combating
trafficking, but somewhat at a loss as how to proceed. In
recent years the GOM has tried, with moderate success, to
establish community-level committees to fight trafficking.
This is in addition to partnering with some local NGO
involved in anti-trafficking activities. Goile noted,
however, that Mali seemed to lack an overall, integrated
anti-TIP plan.

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3.(U) On August 28 the Embassy spoke to Goile's supervisor,
Director Alou Barry, who confirmed that the trafficking
suspects in Kita and Sikasso had indeed been liberated on
their own recognizance pending trial dates - which have not
yet been set. Barry expressed exasperation with his
colleagues at the Ministry of Justice and complained that his
office had no ability to influence decisions made by court
officials. Barry said he did not know if any measures were
taken by judicial authorities to prevent the trafficking
suspects in Kita and Sikasso from disappearing, now that they
have been freed, in advance of their trial dates. The
suspects in Sikasso were both Ivorian nationals. The three
suspects in Kita were Malians but only one of the three was
apparently from the town of Kita.

4.(U) Barry instructed the MPFEF representative in Sikasso
to contact local legal authorities to express the MPFEF's
displeasure with the decision to release the two Ivoirian
trafficking suspects arrested in 2007. He also told the
Embassy that the Minister of the Promotion of Women, Children
and Families, Ms. Maiga Sina Damba, was drafting a letter for
the Minister of Justice to express her disappointment with
the decisions of authorities responsible for judging the
trafficking cases in Kita and Sikasso. According to Barry,
Minister Damba's letter will reiterate the MPFEF's mandate to
ensure the protection of children, underline the MPFEF's
disappointment with decisions made by Ministry of Justice
officials regarding the release of alleged traffickers, and
note that such decisions are undermining Mali's ability to
effectively combat child trafficking.

5.(SBU) Comment: Officials within the Ministry of the
Promotion of Women, Children and Families are clearly
dedicated to combating child trafficking in Mali. Their
dedication renders the recent legal rulings in Kita and
Sikasso that much more discouraging. We will continue to
coordinate with Barry and Goile and intend to reinforce
Minister Damba's message to her Judicial counterpart by
following up with the Justice Ministry once Minister Damba's
letter has been delivered.
LEONARD

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