Cablegate: 2009 Tip Interim Assessment: Lebanon


DE RUEHLB #1235 3221018
R 181018Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 112489

1. (U) Summary: This 2009 TIP Interim Assessment for Lebanon
is submitted in response to action request in reftel. The
Government of Lebanon (GOL) made limited progress in
addressing trafficking in persons (TIP) issues, partially
because of parliamentary inaction before the June 2009
elections and the lack of a government from June until
November. An anti-TIP law and a labor law amendment are
awaiting action by the new cabinet, which has not yet
received a vote of confidence. End Summary.


2. (U) Two significant legal initiatives are pending
implementation. First, an interministerial review of the
proposed national anti-TIP law was completed, and the law is
with the ministry of justice (MOJ) pending the cabinet's
approval. Second, an amendment to the Labor Law that will
extend the same legal protections that Lebanese workers enjoy
to all foreign workers was successfully reviewed by the
National Steering Committee and sent to the ministry of labor
for submission to the cabinet. A separate March 2009 Labor
Code revision providing a unified contract for migrant
workers was implemented in Arabic. However, the notarized
translations of the contract into workers' native languages,
as required by the law, have not yet been completed by the
International Labor Organization.


3. (U) The GOL investigated and prosecuted four new
trafficking cases in the last nine months. It also
established a working committee on October 14 to draft a
standard operating procedure (SOP) to guide the Surete
Generale (SG) in identifying victims of trafficking among
immigration detainees, referring them for assistance, and
managing detainee cases at the SG detention center. This
working committee includes representatives from the SG and
other GOL agencies, as well as NGOs.

4. (U) To prevent abuse of artist work visas for
prostitution, SG is cooperating with the UN Office on Drugs
and Crime (UNODC) on the pilot Moldova Project, which
provides Moldovan artists training and information on their
rights and resources in Lebanon, including hotline and
emergency telephone numbers, in both Russian and Moldovan.
The final implementation phase is scheduled to occur in late
November under the uspices of the ministries of justice and
interior UNODC is also working with the MOJ and SG to
prmit sex workers who are victims of trafficking to remain
in Lebanon for at least one year to allow the courts and SG
time to investigate and prosecute their cases. The SG has
undertaken to create similar resources for women from
Belarus, Morocco, and Tunisia based on the Moldovan pilot
project. This second phase of the UNODC TIP program is
scheduled to conclude in 2010.

5. (U) In July, NGOs convinced the general prosecutor for the
Mount Lebanon region to refer victims of trafficking to NGOs
to receive services rather than prosecuting them for crimes
that resulted from their being trafficked (e.g., immigration
violations). NGO interlocutors also report improvements in
identifying and handling victims at the SG due to officer
training programs. In June, the SG detention center also
began installing upgrades -- including cable televisions for
each detainee area, air conditioning and better air
circulation, and new automatic doors with emergency
safety-release locks -- to improve detainees' living
conditions during processing. The detention center is also
now using computerized spreadsheets to track the admission
date, status, and legal or civil charges for each detainee.

6. (U) COMMENT: A new cabinet was named in early November
after a five-month hiatus, but it remains in caretaker status
until ratified by parliament, which is expected to occur by
early December. To achieve significant progress, the new
cabinet must pass and implement the pending anti-TIP law and
the Labor Law amendment.

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