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Cablegate: Mali Addresses Low Tip Ranking

VZCZCXYZ0025
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBP #0711/01 3061650
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021650Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAMAKO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0853
INFO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BAMAKO 000711

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, AF/RSA, AF/W
DEPT PLEASE PASS USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB KCRM KFRD KWMN PHUM PREF SMIG ASEC ML
SUBJECT: MALI ADDRESSES LOW TIP RANKING

REF: 09 BAMAKO 96

1. Summary: Over the past several weeks, the Embassy held
meetings with GOM officials to address Mali's Tier 2
Watchlist ranking in the 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
report. Mali's anti-TIP standing has been affected by the
GOM's failure to prosecute alleged traffickers. A Justice
Ministry official described the Ministry's re-engagement with
the fight against trafficking in persons and said the
Ministry's closer monitoring of new trafficking cases in the
courts would lead to more prosecutions. End summary.

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Weak Law Enforcement And Prosecution
------------------------------------

2. Due primarily to an active NGO network, Mali has
demonstrated success in identifying and repatriating victims
of trafficking. NGOs such as Enda Tiers Monde and Mali Enjeu
have assisted in the repatriation of hundreds of child
trafficking victims over the past year (reftel). Mali has
also shown a capacity for law enforcement, as authorities
were able to arrest a number of suspected traffickers. These
arrests have not been followed by prosecutions, however, and
the traffickers were subsequently released either due to a
lack of evidence or were released provisionally pending
trial. Cases in Kita and Sikasso have been stalled since
2008 (reftel).

3. A key challenge in Mali's efforts to combat trafficking in
persons has been interministerial coordination, prescribed by
a 2007 national action plan on child trafficking. A
committee on child trafficking, chaired by the Ministry for
the Advancement of Women, Children, and the Family (MPFEF) is
composed of 43 institutional members, including 13 government
ministries, NGOs, and civil society representatives. The
purpose of the committee is to coordinate and provide
oversight of the GOM's anti-TIP activities, but GOM members
have so far failed to participate actively.

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Embassy Engages GOM on TIP
--------------------------

4. In response to Mali's drop to Tier 2 Watchlist status, the
Embassy held a series of meetings with GOM officials at the
MPFEF and the Ministry of Justice, two of the ministries
central to the GOM's anti-TIP efforts. On October 8, the
Embassy met with Special Advisor to the Minister of Women,
Children and the Family, Colonel Konipo. Konipo said the
Minister understands the potential ramifications for U.S.
assistance and is committed to improving Mali's ranking.
Konipo was recently designated the Ministry's focal point on
TIP, replacing Director of the MPFEF's National Office for
Women and Children Alou Barry, who had previously been the
Embassy's point of contact on trafficking issues. This came
as a welcome change, elevating TIP as a political issue and
promising to improve Embassy collaboration with MPFEF.

5. On October 16, the Embassy met with the Secretary General
of the Ministry of Justice, Badou Hasseye Traore, to explain
Mali's ranking and the need to prosecute suspected
traffickers. Traore welcomed the Embassy's demarche,
observing that TIP is an important issue and noting that the
Ministry of Justice has designated its own point of contact
on TIP, Special Advisor Bouya Dembele. Dembele, with whom we
met subsequently on October 21, said he is collaborating
closely with MPFEF. He said that, earlier in the same week,
he had been called by Konipo to discuss the GOM's statistics
on cases of trafficking over the past year as well as to
discuss Mali's action plan, provided to Konipo and Dembele by
the Embassy. Dembele said the Justice Ministry previously
tracked cases of trafficking closely but had failed to do so
in the past three years. He said this would be a renewed
priority and should result in an increase in prosecutions.

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GOM Efforts Ramp Up
-------------------

6. Both Konipo and Dembele described their recent
participation in a number of anti-trafficking initiatives.
They served as representatives to an October Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meeting in Abuja to
discuss regional efforts to combat trafficking in persons.
MPFEF officials participated in an October regional seminar
organized by the International Organization for Migration
(IOM) to discuss migratory flows, and MPFEF also co-hosted a
conference with UNICEF in Bamako to discuss Mali-Cote
d'Ivoire cooperation on addressing child trafficking between
the two states. Active collaboration between the Justice
Ministry and the MPFEF, along with continued Embassy
engagement, promises to yield positive results for Mali in
the fight against TIP.
MILOVANOVIC

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