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Cablegate: Decrease in Reported Tip Cases in Nrw Could Hide Additional

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DE RUEHDF #0037/01 2681046
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251046Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0234
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL CQCTIVE
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDF/AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF 0250

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSSELDORF 000037

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/TIP, EUR/CE, EUR/PGI, DRL, G-AC, INL, AND PRM
STATE - PLEASE PASS TO USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIP KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB GM
SUBJECT: DECREASE IN REPORTED TIP CASES IN NRW COULD HIDE ADDITIONAL
VICTIMS

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1. (U) Summary: The number of human trafficking perpetrators
and known victims in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) decreased
significantly from last year, but the statistics likely do not
capture the full numbers of trafficking perpetrators and
victims. Most victims are non-German with many coming from new
EU member states in Eastern Europe, meaning they entered Germany
legally and were usually working legally. Because fewer laws
are broken due to the EU expansion and changes in German law
legalizing prostitution, police face challenges in starting TIP
investigations as suspicions of residency violations and/or
prostitution do not provide grounds to open a case. End
summary.

2. (U) The number of identified trafficking in persons (TIP)
perpetrators continued to sink from 124 in 2007 to 101 in 2008,
marking the lowest number in 10 years. The perpetrators are
predominantly foreign, with the NRW State Police (LKA) reporting
that 56 suspects were non-German, while 29 were German (down
from 63 and 55 respectively in 2007, with the remainder
unidentified in the report). The foreign perpetrators stem
mostly from Romania, Poland, Bulgaria and Turkey. The 40% drop
in known victims was even sharper, from 130 in 2007 to 79 in
2008, but it should be noted that 2007 had an exceptionally high
number due to a few large cases. Almost 3/4 of the victims
(71%) were non-German, coming primarily from Eastern Europe,
particularly Bulgaria and Romania.

3. (SBU) Barbara Meier-Beck, expert at the NRW Ministry of
Generations, Family, Women and Integration on TIP, told Poloff
that she expects the number of unreported cases of TIP victims
has remained static because the poor economic situation in
Eastern Europe hasn't improved. The LKA predicts that the
number of human trafficking proceedings will remain static or
decrease marginally, and our other source predicts that, given
the long-term economic development that comes with EU
membership, the number of victims from traditional source
countries will eventually decline.

4. (U) The number of victims appears smaller mostly because the
expansion of the EU has made it more difficult for the police to
track human trafficking activity. Only 14% of victims were
illegally in Germany, and the majority of those only became
illegal by working. Significantly, more (65%, compared with
2007's 54%) proceedings were initiated by the victim's complaint
and fewer (17%, compared with 2007's 28%) came from police
investigations. Due to legalized prostitution, nearly half
(47%) of victims' activity was registered, although our source
in NRW government considers the legalization of prostitution
less relevant than the decrease in border control.

5. (SBU) The eight NGOs in NRW dedicated to TIP issues play a
vital role in investigating trafficking cases. With fewer raids
on brothels recently due to the legalization of prostitution,
the NGOs work to find victims directly by maintaining contact
with other sex workers and assisting potential victims.
According to Meier-Beck, an NGO in Dortmund reports receiving up
to 30 tips a week from customers about prostitutes they suspect
are forced to do sex work. NGOs organize conferences among the
police, LKA, and government representatives from the EU and
source countries. The police cooperate closely with
organizations that support victims, considering them essential
in stabilizing the victims and housing witnesses. The victims,
coming from southeastern Europe and Africa, are often unfamiliar
with NGOs, and their mistrust of these organizations makes them
likely to refuse counseling.

6. (U) NRW is a trafficking transit and destination site, with
traffickers frequently relocating the victims, largely within
the EU Schengen zone, to keep them isolated and unfamiliar with
their surroundings, and also to offer customers different
options. African victims are commonly brought in through the
Netherlands, and are particularly challenging for NRW NGOs to
establish contact with because of cultural differences. Another

DUSSELDORF 00000037 002.2 OF 002


growing trend involves women who travel willingly to Germany for
sex work, but are then forced to work off real or invented debts
under physical and/or psychological threat, often with their
identification confiscated.

7. (SBU) Comment: The lower reported figures of both victims
and suspects do not necessarily reflect a decrease in human
trafficking for sexual exploitation. While legalized and
monitored prostitution, combined with open EU borders, have
complicated the work of the police, possibly resulting in a
decrease of police-initiated cases in NRW, the rise in
victim-initiated cases could be due to more NGOs and other
assistance providers being active in the field and supporting
victims in bringing cases forward. NGOs are trying to fill the
gap and find more victims, but they face different obstacles.
As long as there is demand in NRW, economic development of one
source country will only result in victims coming from a
different, more underdeveloped, country.

8. (U) This message was coordinated with Embassy Berlin.
WEINER

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