Cablegate: Discussions On Trafficking in Persons Law And

DE RUEHBUL #3036/01 3291013
P 241013Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

KABUL 00003036 001.3 OF 003

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Afghan officials appear eager to implement
the country's new anti-trafficking law, but the level of
conceptual clarity on the definition of trafficking differed
among government officials. Judicial delay, corruption, and
weak coordination remain obstacles to effectively punishing
trafficking offenses. The government has made some nascent
progress and has already undertaken several important
positive steps to protect victims, including increased
coordination between police and women's shelters, active
monthly prison monitoring by the Afghan Independent Human
Rights Commission (AIHRC) and the Ministry of Women's Affairs
(MOWA), and a new referral center for victims staffed by the
Ministry of Interior (MOI) and MOWA and supported by UNIFEM.

2. (SBU) G/TIP Officer Gayatri Patel discussed Afghanistan's
new trafficking in persons law and plans for its
implementation during her October 7-10 visit to Kabul. Patel
met with officials from MOI, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ),
and MOWA. She also met with representatives from AIHRC,
UNIFEM, UNICEF, and the International Organization on
Migration (IOM) who provided further information about
trafficking in persons and the GoIRA's efforts to implement a
new anti-trafficking law and protect victims.

Afghanistan's Anti-TIP Law

3. (SBU) Afghanistan's law was enacted by presidential decree
in July. The law provides for protection of victims --
prohibiting the prosecution of trafficking victims and
allowing foreign victims to legally remain in Afghanistan for
at least six months. Second, it establishes a high
commission for countering human trafficking, headed by the
MOJ and composed of representatives from the Attorney
General's Office, MOI, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA),
Ministry of Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs, MOWA,
Ministry of Public Health, AIHRC, and several other
organizations. This commission is particularly important,
IOM's Nigina Nomadjnova stressed, because it establishes a
formal mechanism for government coordination in efforts to
protect victims, prevent trafficking, and prosecute
traffickers. In the past it was necessary to search out the
appropriate institutional partners for each situation - a
time-consuming and often ineffective process.

GoIRA Officials' Reaction to the Anti-TIP Law

4. (SBU) Nazir Hakimi, MOI Chief of Detection for Organized
Crime, said distinguishing between human trafficking and
kidnapping is a new concept for the Afghanistan law
enforcement community. He and other MOI officials present
during the meeting, however, were able to articulate the
difference between kidnapping and trafficking and discuss in
detail provisions of the new law including those for
protecting victims.

5. (SBU) MOJ Deputy Minister Qader Adalat described the
process of proposing and drafting the law with the assistance
of international advisors. MOWA's Legal Director Fawzia
Hamini said that although the anti-trafficking law is new,
all implementing government agencies are aware that it is in
force and are making the necessary preparations to implement
it. During an IOM-organized regional TIP conference held in
Kabul on October 12-13, high level officials from MOI, MOJ,
MFA, the Attorney General's Office, and MOWA also expressed
strong support for the new law and a government-wide anti-TIP

Trafficking Patterns in Afghanistan

6. (SBU) MOI officials reported of trafficking incidents in
which brokers lured third country nationals to Afghanistan
under the pretense of high-paying employment opportunities in
the reconstruction effort; instead, the brokers forced the
people into labor or sex work without pay. MOI reported on
other alleged cases where parents sent their sons with people
who promised to deliver them to good schools in Pakistan when
in reality they were sent to paramilitary training camps.
Finally, officials reported brokers increasingly used
internet sites to attract women and girls, promised marriage
to a wealthy husband, provided the women with forged travel
documents and then sold the victims to a trafficker. UNIFEM
and others noted that some Afghan men prostitute their wives
against their will. Further details and confirmation of these

KABUL 00003036 002.3 OF 003

incidents were not available.

7. (SBU) MOWA's legal department assisted four victims of
trafficking in the last six months, including a girl sold in
Khost Province and an 18 year-old woman sent from Afghanistan
to Lahore and back to Afghanistan under the influence of
drugs and alcohol, Hamini said. Noriko Izumi, UNICEF, argued
that much trafficking in persons organizational attention is
paid to situations that likely are not trafficking - for
example, deportations of economic migrants from Iran. She
believes too little attention is paid to situations that
likely are trafficking such as some forced marriages.

8. (SBU) MOI reported that during the last six months its
officers investigated 173 kidnapping cases, some of which
involved multiple victims. Of that total, 26 cases had a
political motivation, 33 had a financial motivation, and in
the remaining cases the motive was unclear. Information was
not available on how many of those cases involved

Government Efforts: Protection and Prevention

9. (SBU) MOWA and civil society-funded shelters have a
memorandum of understanding under which police refer cases to
MOWA, which in turn refers women, including trafficking
victims, to an appropriate facility. MOWA also supports the
shelters by introducing potential donors to the NGOs that run
the shelters. MOWA staff visit prisons several times a month
to investigate why women and girls there are in custody, to
ensure that they are not there because they are victims of
sex crimes and/or trafficking.

10. (SBU) AIHRC, however, reported problems regarding
security of TIP victims in ad hoc shelters. AIHRC noted that
these shelters sometimes do not accept victims in cases that
are too sensitive, and shelter managers sometimes face
threats from the community and government leaders,
particularly when assisting in cases that involve honor
issues. In some cases, shelters will give women back to
their families or to the police, leaving them vulnerable to
further abuse.


11. (SBU) Dr. Anou Borrey, UNIFEM, said the above memorandum
of understanding has led to increased cooperation between
MOWA, MOI, and the shelters. The launch of a referral center
in Jalalabad (operated by MOI with support from MOWA and
UNIFEM) has led to a sharp drop in the number of arbitrary
detentions of women. Some of these women were trafficked to
Pakistan for forced marriage and escaped back to Afghanistan.
Four MOI employees investigate the cases and four MOWA staff
work as paralegals to support the women. A committee with
representatives from the AIHRC, NGOs, UNAMA, MOJ, the
Attorney General's Office, the Supreme Court, Ministry of the
Youth, and Ministry of the Hajj - advise the referral center.
Dr. Borrey said this cooperation stopped the arrests of
women seeking social services. Another referral center
opened October 9 in Bamyan and plans are set for a third to
open in Jowzjan Province later this year.


12. (SBU) IOM with the cooperation of MOI has conducted
training focused on trafficking issues for 1000 police
throughout the country in 2008. Nomadjnova has already
observed an improvement in how law enforcement officials
treat victims. MOJ and MOI requested training on
implementation of the new anti-trafficking law. IOM will
start this training in January through a G/TIP grant. MOI
officials also plan to work with Ministry of Education
officials to develop a program to raise awareness among
teachers and students about human trafficking. They have
already stationed staff at airports and border crossings
specifically to combat trafficking. Nomadjnova said the
biggest challenge to TIP work is poor coordination among law
enforcement entities, but the new commission proposed in the
anti-TIP law should improve this situation.


KABUL 00003036 003.2 OF 003

13. (SBU) AIHRC discussed its efforts to monitor prisons in
order to prevent victims of human trafficking from being
detained. Corruption, judicial delay, and lack of resources
are factors that inhibit proper identification of trafficking
victims and chances of successfully prosecuting traffickers.

14. (U) Ms. Patel cleared on this message.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


APEC : Leaders Issue Kuala Lumpur Declaration

The leaders of the 21 APEC member economies issued the Kuala Lumpur Declaration following the first-ever virtual 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Convening for the first time since the ... More>>

UN: Refugee Resettlement Numbers Fall To Lowest In Two Decades

Refugee resettlement numbers will be at a “record low” this year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Wednesday, with only 15,425 people resettled in the first nine months of 2020, compared to more than 50,000 in 2019. In 2016, resettlement ... More>>

OHCHR: UN Committee Issues Recommendations To Combat Racial Profiling

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today published its guidance to combat racial profiling, emphasizing, among other issues, the serious risk of algorithmic bias when artificial intelligence (AI) is used in law enforcement. The ... More>>

G20: Global Co-Operation And Strong Policy Action Needed For A Sustainable Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed major weaknesses in our economies that can only be fixed through greater global co-operation and strong, targeted policy action, according to a new OECD report presented to the Leaders of the G20 countries at their ... More>>