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Cablegate: Gvn Officials, Ngos Assess Tip Issues in Workshop On Vn's

DE RUEHHI #1216/01 3160950
R 120949Z NOV 09



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: GVN Officials, NGOs Assess TIP issues in Workshop on VN's
National Plan of Action

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On October 22, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh
Trong chaired a workshop to evaluate the GVN's implementation of
its "National Plan of Action (NPA) against Trafficking in Women and
Children 2004-2010" and to discuss prospects for the future. The
workshop's reports will affect planning and influence the next
five-year NPA, as well as the law on TIP currently being drafted by
the Ministry of Justice. During the course of the workshop,
participants cited a number of accomplishments, including:
successful public awareness campaigns, increased border
surveillance, and numerous training and capacity building
activities. As most workshop participants noted, the greatest
challenge to combating trafficking in Vietnam continues to be a
serious lack of funding and human resources. To that end, post is
extremely pleased that Vietnam was named a priority country for
G/TIP funding, and we have begun outreach efforts to publicize the
grant application process. END SUMMARY.

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2. (SBU) On October 22, the GVN hosted a one-day workshop to
review the five-year implementation of the "National Plan of Action
(NPA) against Trafficking in Women and Children 2004-2010."
Approved by the Prime Minister on July 14, 2004, the NPA was an
attempt to provide a coherent framework for anti-TIP efforts in
Vietnam. This event, presided over by Deputy Prime Minister (and
Politburo member) Truong Vinh Trong, was simultaneously broadcast
in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and included representatives from all
levels of Vietnamese government, including all fourteen members of
the National Committee 130 (NC130) Steering Committee and members
of the National Assembly. International organizations such as
UNODC, IOM, UNDP, UNICEF, World Vision, and the Asia Foundation and
representatives from several embassies attended. Workshop
presenters included the Chairman of NC130, the President of the
Vietnamese Women's Union (VWU), the director of the Asia
Foundation, people's committee representatives from provinces
sponsoring pilot projects, and officials from the Ministries of
Public Security (MPS), Foreign Affairs (MFA), and Justice (MOJ).

3. (SBU) The workshop reported that during the five years of the
NPA's implementation, the government investigated 1,586 cases of
trafficking in persons involving 2,888 criminals and identified
4,008 trafficking victims. According to the GVN, over 60 percent
of victims had been trafficked to China, around ten percent had
been trafficked Cambodia, and a smaller percentage to Laos. Data
on trafficking cases to other countries was not presented. While
all 63 provinces reported trafficking cases, the following
provinces reported the most cases: Ha Giang (134 cases), Lao Cai
(105 cases), Lang Son (95 cases), Quang Ninh (73 cases), Ha Noi (66
cases), Nghe An (66 cases), Lai Chau (56 cases), and Bac Gian (44

4. (SBU) Le Hong Anh, NC130 Chairman, opened the conference,
stating that trafficking in Vietnam had become larger in scale,
more complicated, and diversified, with traffickers becoming more
sophisticated, organized, and transnational. He noted that many
trafficking victims hailed from remote, economically disadvantaged
areas, which made them more vulnerable to trafficking.

5. (SBU) Representatives from An Giang, Lang Son, and Quang Ninh
-- designated as pilot provinces under the NPA -- reported that
they had established steering subcommittees to work on TIP,
increased border surveillance, instituted anti-TIP training
programs, and established services to assist TIP returnees. The
provincial representatives commented that the success of their
efforts had increased significantly when anti-trafficking messages
were integrated with the other economic and social activities of
their organizations. All three stated that in the past five years
there had been a drop in the number of TIP cases in their
provinces, which they attributed to their coordinated efforts. The
Lang Song representative, for example, noted that in the last five
years, there had 98 been cases of trafficking with 128 traffickers
identified and 102 victims rescued, a 30 percent reduction in
trafficking cases compared with the preceding five years.

6. (SBU) The lack of funding and human resources was a common
challenge mentioned by most workshop participants. Limited
resources affected all aspects of anti-trafficking programs:
outreach, victim support, training, law enforcement, and even

HANOI 00001216 002 OF 003

international cooperation. Many of the participants expressed
concern that Program NC130 was set to expire at the end of 2010,
and urged Program NC130 to become a "National Level Target."
(Note: Program NC130 is a separate anti-TIP program from the NPA.
Program NC130 is the legal mandate under which NC130 operates. It
expires in 2010; renewing the mandate will be the Prime Minister's
decision. End note.) Many attendees expressed hope that this
would raise the importance of the program and more resources would
be dedicated to combat trafficking from the central government to
increase the capacity of the program nationwide.

7. (SBU) Several presenters criticized Vietnam's continued
inability to reintegrate victims of trafficking. Some efforts have
been made to help strengthen the capacity of victim identification
and referral, and a few "self-help clubs" have been established at
local levels to assist former victims of TIP access services and to
support reintegration into the community; however, these services
still fall far short of the need and are available in only a few
localities. MPS representatives noted that victims are afraid of
being stigmatized, and this affects their willingness to cooperate
with police in TIP investigations, a view seconded by MOJ officials
who stated that victims were often reluctant to assist
prosecutions. Some presenters also noted the challenges of working
with their international counterparts. The representative from
Quang Ninh province also explained that investigation cases
overseas could be complicated, lengthy, costly and hampered by
limited funding. Participants also recommended the need to improve
language capabilities of staff, especially in the languages of
border countries.

INGO Input


8. (SBU) Speaking on behalf of INGOs who support anti-human
trafficking activities in Vietnam, the Country Director of the Asia
Foundation highlighted many of the past five years'
accomplishments, and discussed new trends involving internal
trafficking, overseas labor recruitment, and men. The main
accomplishments cited, include: raising awareness about human
trafficking issues, implementing pilot programs to provide victim
protection services, and numerous training and capacity building
programs with many government partners regarding TIP. Based on
these trends, she offered recommendations about activities
international NGOs would be interested in supporting, including
projects to promote safe migration and improve TIP victim support.
She also suggested that INGOs support efforts to bring the GVN's
definition of TIP into accord with the United Nations Convention
against Transnational Organized Crime. (Note: Currently, the GVN's
law on trafficking does not include men or certain cases of labor
exploitation. End note.) Speaking for NC130, Anh welcomed
strengthened relations with INGOs. In his concluding remarks, DPM
Trong instructed conference attendees to pay attention to the
report prepared by the INGOs. (Note: Post provided significant
input into the report and included references to labor and internal
trafficking. End Note.)

DPM Tasks anti-TIP Action


9. (SBU) In what was billed as the "instructional conclusion" of
the event, DPM Trong acknowledged a lack of resources, but called
on government at all levels, mass organizations, local leaders and
"important people with titles" to redouble their efforts to combat
TIP. He assigned tasks to the various departments and
organizations in attendance, singling out specific GVN officials
responsible for police and border guard training. Trong also
called for further efforts to raise public awareness of trafficking
and to improve support for trafficking victims.

Comment: Next steps for USG Support of anti-TIP Action

--------------------------------------------- ------------

HANOI 00001216 003 OF 003

10. (SBU) At the conclusion of his speech, DPM Truong Vinh Trong
asked "what was the next step forward for Vietnam?" The answer is
a great deal. With only fifteen months remaining on the current
action plan, the GVN has a full agenda: First, the draft bill on
the prevention of trafficking must be concluded and presented to
the National Assembly in 2010. Second, cooperation between Vietnam
and its neighbors must be improved. And, finally, the GVN must
develop its next NPA. We are encouraged that DPM Trong
specifically mentioned the contributions that INGOs can bring, as
well as the marching orders he gave specific ministries/agencies.
We are also encouraged that the discussion on TIP now includes
trafficking in men, internal trafficking, and labor trafficking,
although the GVN's concerns about labor trafficking appear
primarily focused on cross-border trafficking with Vietnam's
immediate neighbors. The DPM was forthright in acknowledging the
severe resource constraints that Vietnam faces in combating
trafficking, a consistent problem affecting all of Vietnam's social
programs. Despite the commitments expressed during this workshop,
we still have questions about the GVN's "political will" to tackle
TIP issues beyond the government's traditional focus on trafficking
for sexual exploitation, and intend to follow up with our GVN and
NGO contacts to see if Trong's "marching orders" result in concrete
movement towards addressing the remaining challenges.

11. (SBU) Trong's assessment of what is needed in Vietnam opens
the door for future bilateral and multilateral cooperation in key
areas regarding human trafficking, including: raising public
awareness, police/border guard training, and support for victims.
With this in mind, Post is pleased that Vietnam was designated a
priority country for TIP-related programming. We already have
publicized widely the grant information, and look forward to
working with the Department to devise approaches and projects to
partner with local and international NGOs and the GVN to strengthen
its capability in combating TIP in areas such as safe migration and
victim support. End Comment.

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