Cablegate: Philippines: Tip Tier 2 Watch List Action Plan


DE RUEHC #5743 2581710
O 151650Z SEP 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. A. 2008 STATE 132759
B. B. 2007 STATE 150188
C. C. 2009 STATE 005577
D. D. 2009 STATE 62182

1. (U) This is an action request (see paras 2-4).

2. (SBU) Begin action request: Drawing from points in para
8, Post is requested to approach appropriate host government
officials to highlight the United States' strong commitment
to continue to work with the Government of Philippines to
help strengthen its efforts to combat and prevent trafficking
in persons (TIP) and to assist victims. Post is requested to
convey the recommendations in para 9 as a non-paper and draw
from the talking points in para 8 to explain to the host
government the need for prompt action on the first set of
recommendations for a positive review in the interim
assessment that the Department will release to Congress by
February 2010 and for movement out of the Tier 2 Watch List
in next year's Report. Additional recommendations are also
included in para 9 to aid the host government in making
progress in its overall anti-TIP efforts. The notes
indicated in brackets in the action plan are for post,s
background only and may be omitted from the non-paper. The
&Implementation Guidelines8 referenced in the action plan
notes are contained in reftel B. These guidelines provide
guidance to posts on how the Minimum Standards of the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended, (TVPA) are
implemented, and have been cleared by regional bureaus.

3. (SBU) Action request continued: Post is further
requested to emphasize to the Government of Philippines that
the first set of recommendations is designed to help remedy
the specific shortcomings identified in the 2009 TIP Report
that resulted in the placement of the Philippines on the Tier
2 Watch List. These recommendations are often referred to as
"high-priority" items for Tier 2 Watch List removal. However,
sustained and significant anti-trafficking efforts by the
government throughout the year will remain the basis for
determining next year's tier placement. The interim
assessment for Special Watch List countries (to include Tier
2 Watch List countries) will provide a progress report
regarding the government's actions to address the short list
recommendations designed to address the concerns that
resulted in the country's placement on the Tier 2 Watch List
in the 2009 TIP Report (high-priority items), but there will
be no changes in tier ratings at that time. We will
reconsider the government's tier placement when we conduct
our annual full assessment for the March 2009-2010 reporting
period next spring.

4. (SBU) Action request continued: The Department
recognizes that Post may choose to use this opportunity to
provide additional recommendations, beyond the
recommendations for moving out of the Tier 2 Watch List. In
such a case, we request that Post make clear to the
government which are the "high-priority" items to move off of
the Tier 2 Watch List. The non-paper in para 9 includes both
"high-priority" recommendations for Tier 2 Watch List removal
and further-reaching goals for longer-term success in
combating trafficking in persons in all 3 P areas:
Prosecution, Protection, and Prevention. (For posts,
background information: G/TIP will be asking for posts to
report on the country's progress in meeting these
recommendations by no later than November 15, 2009, in order
to compile narratives for the interim assessment.)

5. (SBU) In preparation for the interim assessment and 2010
TIP Report, the Department is asking posts to work with host
governments throughout the year to collect as many statistics
as possible on law enforcement actions and judicial
proceedings related to TIP crimes, specifically the
Department requests data on investigations, prosecutions,
convictions, and sentences (e.g., fines, probation, length of
prison sentences imposed, asset seizure information when
available). Whether a government collects and provides this
data consistent with the government's capacity to obtain such
data is considered in determining whether the government
qualifies for Tier 1. Law enforcement statistics, when
available, are a good way of highlighting how well a
government enforced its law and demonstrates strengths and
weaknesses in various approaches. Please note that host
governments and embassies must interpret data terms provided
by host governments such as indictments, charges, cases
disposed, cases submitted for prosecution, etc., to ensure
that they fit into one of the following categories:
investigations, prosecutions, convictions or sentences.

The Department cannot accept "trafficking-related" law
enforcement statistics (e.g, statistics on prostitution or
smuggling offenses) because their direct correlation to
trafficking crimes is not clear. The Department will accept
only law enforcement data that fall into the following
categories: (1) investigations, prosecutions, convictions,
and sentences for offenses that are explicitly defined as
trafficking; and (2) investigations, prosecutions,
convictions, and sentences for offenses that are not defined
explicitly as trafficking but in which the competent law
enforcement or judicial authority has specific evidence
indicating that the defendant was involved in trafficking.

6. (SBU) The Department is also asking Posts to engage with
host governments on efforts to address amendments made by the
2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act
(TVPRA). As indicated in reftel C, the TVPRA of 2008
contains a provision requiring that a country that has been
included on Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years after
the date of enactment of the TVPRA of 2008 be ranked as Tier
3. Thus, any automatic downgrade to Tier 3 pursuant to this
provision would take place, at the earliest, in the 2011 TIP
Report (i.e., a country would have to be ranked Tier 2 Watch
List in the 2009 and 2010 Reports before being subject to
Tier 3 in the 2011 Report). The new law allows for a waiver
of this provision for up to two additional years upon a
determination by the President that the country has developed
and devoted sufficient resources to a written plan to make
significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the
minimum standards.

7. (SBU) Please keep in mind the TIP Report measures host
government efforts. In order for anti-trafficking activities
financed or conducted principally by parties outside the
government to be considered for tier placement purposes, Post
needs to demonstrate a concrete role or tangible value-added
by a host government in such activities carried out by NGOs,
international organizations, or posts.

8. (U) Background Points:

Begin talking points:

-- The Obama Administration views the fight against
human trafficking, both at home and abroad, as a critical
piece of our foreign policy agenda. We are committed to
making progress on this issue in the months ahead by working
closely with partners in every country.

-- The U.S. Government's Trafficking Victims Protection Act
requires the State Department to submit an annual report to
Congress on the status of foreign governments, efforts to
combat trafficking in persons. Pursuant to the Trafficking
Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 (TVPRA), the
Department created a special category for Tier 2 countries
that do not show increasing efforts from the previous year,
have a very significant number of victims, or whose Tier 2
rating is based on commitments to take additional steps over
the next year.

-- Also as mandated by the TVPRA, by February 2010 the
Department will submit to Congress an interim assessment. At
the end of 2009 in preparation for that submission, the
Department will conduct an assessment of Tier 2 Watch List
countries' progress in responding to the specific issues of
concern that resulted in the Tier 2 Watch List rating.

-- The Philippines was placed on Tier 2 Watch List in this
year's Report because of a lack of evidence of increasing
efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from
the previous year.

-- We offer the following recommended actions (Action Plan
for the Short-term) to tackle specific shortcomings
highlighted in the 2009 TIP Report. We believe these to be
within the reasonable ability of your government to fulfill
in the near-term and encourage you to take prompt action for
a positive narrative in the interim assessment. New tier
evaluations will not occur at the interim assessment. We
will reconsider a government,s tier placement when we
conduct our annual full assessment for the 2009-2010
reporting period next spring. Prompt, appropriate, and
significant actions will lead to a more favorable tier
placement; conversely, failure to address the issues
mentioned above may lead to a Tier 3 placement.

-- We would welcome the Government of Philippines, comments
on these recommendations and any other ideas you might have
to advance our common struggle against trafficking in

-- In addition to the short list of recommendations
corresponding to our concerns that resulted in your
government,s placement on the Tier 2 Watch List in the 2009
TIP Report, we offer additional suggestions of actions that
your government may choose to take (Action Plan for the Long
term). These further measures would be in addition to the
Philippines, continuation of its current efforts to combat
trafficking in persons.

End talking points.

9. (SBU) Begin Action Plan:

I. Action Plan for the Short-Term: The following are
recommended measures for a positive interim assessment in
January 2010 and in the broader assessment of government
efforts during the reporting period:

A. Significantly increase the number of criminal prosecutions
and criminal convictions in human trafficking cases,
including cases of forced labor.

-- Persons convicted in trafficking cases should receive
prison sentences sufficiently stringent to deter future
crimes and adequately reflective of the heinous nature of the
crime. (Note to Post: A majority of sentences should involve
imprisonment of one year or more, taking into consideration
other factors such as the severity of the individual,s
involvement in trafficking.)

-- Punishments limited to administrative penalties such as
bans on future hiring, fines, and payment of back-wages to
victims are not considered sufficient.

B. Significantly increase efforts to address
trafficking-related corruption among officials and share
information on efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict and
sentence officials complicit in trafficking in persons.

C. Include anti-trafficking elements in training programs for
police and other law enforcement personnel, including lower
and higher level ranked officers. Such training should
address trafficking-related corruption and penalties
associated with such crimes.

D. Expand training programs to educate and sensitize law
enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors, and other
government officials about human trafficking, the proactive
identification of trafficking victims, and the effective and
victim-sensitive handling of both sex and labor trafficking

E. Ensure that MOU,s with foreign countries hiring workers
from the Philippines are abided by and that workers are being
adequately protected while abroad.

Other areas we believe the Philippines could consider for
action to boost its anti-trafficking efforts:


--To facilitate the timely completion of trafficking
prosecution, dedicate increased resources to the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, such as
dedicated anti-trafficking investigators and prosecutors, ,
and/or increased funding levels to anti-trafficking law
enforcement entities..

-- Increase efforts to engage governments of destination
countries through law enforcement channels in the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders, and
to share relevant information.


-- Devote increased resources to victim protection, including
funding for additional trafficking shelters and/or other
appropriate alternatives and housing for trafficking victims
(i.e. temporary housing or hotels), training for shelter
workers, counseling, medical, and other rehabilitation
assistance for trafficking victims.

-- Engage governments of destination countries/territories on
the safe repatriation of trafficking victims and the
prosecution of their traffickers.

-- Ensure trafficking victims are not subject to criminal
punishment for acts committed as a result of being trafficked.

-- Continue to expand and strengthen the anti-trafficking
national network and localized taskforces comprised of social
organizations, law enforcement entities, and government
agencies to facilitate assistance to victims when identified.


--Work closely with destination countries on the
investigation and prosecution of traffickers of Philippine
nationals abroad.

--Develop and implement methods to measure and address
domestic labor trafficking in the Philippines.

--Conduct anti-trafficking awareness campaigns directed at
domestic and foreign clients of the sex trade in the
Philippines to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.

-- Encourage senior government officials to use public forums
to address the human trafficking problem, and encourage
provincial and local officials to regularly educate and warn
the general public about trafficking.

--Dedicate increased funding for the Inter-Agency Council
Against Trafficking (IACAT) and improve anti-trafficking
coordination between government agencies.

-- Continue to train police and immigration officials,
judges, elected officials, and foreign service officers on
how to protect and assist trafficking victims.

--Continue to inform departing workers of their rights while
working abroad, emphasizing
obligations of employers toward foreign domestic workers and
other laborers, and highlighting assistance available to
workers if they find themselves a victim of trafficking.

-- Continue to work closely with non-governmental
organizations and other international organizations on
trafficking in persons.

(End non-paper)

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