Cablegate: Tunisia: Tip Tier 2 Watch List Action Plan


DE RUEHC #4684 2802031
O 072010Z OCT 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 Tunisia 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 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.

3. (SBU) Action request continued: Post is further
requested to emphasize to the Government of Tunisia that
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. (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.

-- We offer the following recommended actions 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 Tunisia,s comments on
these recommendations and any other ideas you might have to
advance our common struggle against trafficking in persons.

End talking points.

9. (SBU) Begin Action Plan:

The Government of Tunisia has ratified the U.N. Protocol to
Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Women and Children. This Protocol contains a
number of provisions, including those relating to protection
of trafficking victims, criminalization of trafficking
offenses, and prevention of trafficking. The government may
wish to consider working toward full implementation of the
Protocol, including adopting legislative measures to
criminalize trafficking in persons as defined in the

The United States recognizes that Tunisia made progress on
addressing human trafficking in 2008 and early 2009,
particularly by convicting a trafficking offender and signing
a cooperative agreement with Italy on trafficking and
migration. We recommend, however, that the Government of
Tunisia concentrate on implementing several reforms before we
can advocate removing Tunisia from the Tier 2 Watch List
classification. We suggest the government focus its efforts
on three specific areas: 1) raising public awareness of human
trafficking; 2) taking law enforcement action against human
trafficking; and 3) instituting a victim identification and
referral mechanism. To help achieve these goals, we offer
the following suggestions of specific steps the government
could consider.

-- Launch a nationwide awareness campaign aimed at educating
government officials and the general public about the nature
of human trafficking. Publicize available resources for
trafficking victims and populations vulnerable to
trafficking. This could be carried out in a variety of
locally appropriate ways. For example:

a. Air brief informational spots on local radio and
television stations;

b. Government officials knowledgeable on trafficking give
press interviews or include discussions of trafficking and
trafficking related issues in public appearances and

c. Place opinion editorials (op eds) on trafficking in
persons in local newspapers;

d. Publicize, where appropriate, trafficking-related court
proceedings in local news media; or

e. Encourage government-sponsored media including radio,
television, and print to air anti-trafficking messages and
advertisements free of charge.

-- Utilize existing criminal statutes against forced labor
and forced prostitution to investigate and prosecute human
trafficking offenses, particularly those involving internal
trafficking of children for domestic servitude. Convict and
sentence, where appropriate, trafficking offenders. Make
available statistics on trafficking prosecutions,
convictions, and sentences achieved during the year. Such
statistics can include those prosecutions achieved under
non-trafficking statutes (e.g., kidnapping, assault, rape,
etc.), but must be confirmed to involve trafficking-specific
crimes ) such as forced adult or child labor, forced
prostitution, and child prostitution ) in order to be cited
in the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report.

-- Consider the feasibility of and show progress toward the
development of a specific and comprehensive national law
against human trafficking that includes both transnational
and internal trafficking. The law should define trafficking,
specify who can be considered a trafficker, and outline a
punishment scheme for various trafficking acts.

-- Establish and implement formal policies and procedures for
identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable groups,
interviewing potential victims, and transferring victims to
the care, when appropriate, of local NGOs or international
organizations. These steps will enhance the ability of
police, other law enforcement entities, and social welfare
officials (such as child protection delegates) to respond to
the physical and psychological needs of trafficking victims.

-- Institute training on human trafficking as a standard part
of the mandatory training program for new police and border
guards. Ensure that graduating law enforcement officials can
distinguish between human trafficking and smuggling; have
developed skills in interviewing suspected victims of
trafficking; are aware of procedures for transferring victims
to the care of NGOs or other social service providers; and
understand how to properly report and document the crime.
-- Undertake a baseline assessment of human trafficking in
Tunisia to better understand the scope and magnitude of the
problem. This could be done in partnership with an NGO,
international organization, or professional organization
specializing in human trafficking research.

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