Cablegate: The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood's Anti-Trafficking Efforts
DE RUEHEG #1758/01 2531451
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101451Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3577
C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 001758
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA, G/TIP FOR YOUSEY, NEA/RA FOR
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2019
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KCRM KWMN KJUS SOCI EG
SUBJECT: THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR CHILDHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD'S ANTI-TRAFFICKING EFFORTS Classified By: Minister Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Donald A. Blome for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.(SBU) Key Points: -- The quasi-governmental National Council for Childhood and Motherhood's (NCCM) study on "summer marriages" found that girls and families agreed to these marriages because dowries and bridal gifts help provide substantial income for their families living in poverty. -- The Ministry of Family and Population and NCCM initiated a telephone hotline to provide assistance and consulting for girls, and will organize and train "Governorate Protection Committees" to counter the influence of "brokers" that promote summer marriages by disseminating information to parents, health centers, and community leaders on the hazards of early and forced marriage, and providing legal assistance to make people aware of the child trafficking law. -- NCCM is also conducting trafficking recognition and awareness seminars for healthcare providers, plans to educate parents in the Fayoum district about the dangers of "getting paid" in exchange for their child's labor as either a domestic servant or street beggar, and is undertaking efforts to train social workers, police officers, and detectives to recognize and deal with street children who are vulnerable to being trafficked.
2.(SBU) Comment: Our recent conversations with local TIP experts revealed that recruitment of children to participate in various forms of trafficking such as summer marriages, child domestic servitude, and child begging tend to be localized to specific areas because brokers specialize in forms of trafficking and have connections in specific villages and city districts. This can allow the GoE to target its anti-trafficking efforts in different areas of the country based on the specific trafficking crimes prevalent in the area. NCCM is committed to providing assistance to trafficking victims, but Egypt still lacks the formal infrastructure to adequately provide for victim protection. Azza El Ashmawy, Head of the Anti-TIP unit at NCCM on August 27 told us the GoE is extremely upset with the 2009 TIP Report because it left Egypt on the "watchlist" after it passed a comprehensive child trafficking law and began steps to prosecute trafficking offenses using the law. She said NCCM was working with the U.S.-funded IREX project to develop the capacity of Egyptian NGOs to assist in combating TIP and protecting victims. End Comment. ------------------------- Study on Summer Marriages -------------------------
3.(U) El Ashmawy provided us with a copy of a study that NCCM recently completed on "summer marriages." The study focused on three villages in the 6th of October Governorate where this activity is most prevalent. The study showed that most summer marriages occur between poor Egyptian village girls and wealthy men from the Arabian Gulf countries. According to the study, in 80 percent of the cases, the girls "consented" to the marriage, primarily because of high dowries of between 5,000-50,000 Egyptian pounds (USD 900-9,000) and bridal gifts help provide substantial income for families living in poverty. The average family of five in the three villages has an annual income of 8,300 Egyptian pounds (USD 1,500). "Brokers," assisted by women in the village, facilitate 85 percent of these "temporary" marriages. Two-thirds of the villagers were aware of summer marriages by girls in the three villages, but only 10 percent approved of these marriages. -------------------------- Combating Summer Marriages --------------------------
5.(C) As a result of the study, NCCM instituted an early/forced marriage telephone hotline to provide assistance and consulting for girls. The hotline is being promoted on Egyptian television channels. El Ashmawy told us a 16-year old girl was the first caller the hotline to complain that she had been forced into a marriage by a family for which she was a domestic servant. After an initial investigation it was discovered that the girl's family agreed to have her work as a domestic servant and the girl had "agreed" with her employer to become a "temporary bride" in exchange for a payment of 1000 Egyptian pounds (USD 180). Authorities removed the girl from the home, but returned her to her family where she now fears she could be forced into a marriage.
6.(SBU) According to El Ashmawy, the Ministry of Family and Population, which oversees NCCM, is planning to organize "Governorate Protection Committees" that will include civic and NGO leaders. NCCM and IREX will train these committees on the child trafficking law. These committees will be charged with countering the influence of brokers in the villages by disseminating information to parents, health centers, and community leaders on the hazards of early and forced marriage, and providing legal assistance to make people aware of the child trafficking law. Brokers that are convicted of child trafficking are fined 50,000-200,000 Egyptian pounds (USD 9,000-36,000) and sentenced to not less than five years in prison. Because the study showed summer marriage is a consequence of poverty, NCCM plans to institute a microcredit program in the three villages that will give families other monetary options. ------------------------------ Other Anti-Trafficking Efforts ------------------------------
7.(U) NCCM is conducting recognition and awareness seminars for healthcare providers to educate them about the trafficking laws and help them realize the signs of a trafficking victim. NCCM plans to organize a project in the Fayoum area designed to educate parents about the dangers of "getting paid" in exchange for their child's labor as either a domestic servant or street beggar. Somaya El Alfy, NCCM's Coordinator of Street Children project told us NCCM was undertaking efforts to train social workers, police officers, and detectives to recognize and deal with street children vulnerable to being trafficked. She said the biggest challenge is to educate police on "child rights." El Alfy stated that a French NGO recently opened a shelter for street mothers and three other NGOs had opened shelter for "at risk" children, which she defined as street children and the disabled. Scobey