Cablegate: Cambodia: 2009 Tip Interim Assessment

DE RUEHPF #0846/01 3201013
O 161013Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 111958


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: As part of its anti-trafficking efforts
since April 2009, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has
implemented a broad training initiative to reach law
enforcement, judicial, and other government officials. The
RGC consolidated its policy structure under a single umbrella
known as the National Committee on the Supression of Human
Trafficking, Smuggling, Labor Exploitation,and Sexual
Exploitation (the National Committee), and issued new
national minimum standards for the protection of victims of
human trafficking. Police arrested at least 28 perpetrators
since April 2009, and the courts convicted at least 4
perpetrators on human trafficking charges during the same
period. The RGC also passed a new Penal Code in October that
includes anti-trafficking statutes, and police sources have
said the broader Penal Code improves anti-trafficking efforts
because it "fills some gaps" that existed in the 2008 Law on
the Supression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.
The RGC has been receptive to the recommendations contained
in the 2009 TIP Report and is setting in place a sustained
policy and implementation effort that is designed to go the
distance in combatting TIP in Cambodia. END SUMMARY.

Training for Police and Government Officials

2. (SBU) The RGC implemented an extensive training
initiative to educate police officers and other government
officials on the enforcement of human trafficking provisions
in the 2008 Law. Under the leadership of the Cambodian
National Police and the Secretariat of the National
Committee, the RGC held 87 separate training sessions
throughout the country that reached 4,000 government
officials, 2,500 of whom were police officers. The RGC
designed curriculum for various courses with assistance from
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and RGC trainers
directed and implemented the courses. For example, the
Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection (AHTJP) Unit
of the Cambodian National Police maintains a staff of seven
full-time trainers. These seven trainers, together with the
Director of the AHTJP Unit and the Deputy Commissioner
General of the National Police, work with NGOs to develop
curriculum for national and provincial police officers, and
travel the country implementing these training courses.
According to the Director of the AHTJP Unit, the initial
emphasis has been training for anti-human trafficking police
officers and other judicial police, such as the criminal
investigative division officers. In 2010, the focus will
expand to front-line officers, in particular the
administrative police, immigration police, and border police.

3. (SBU) Training for judicial professionals on the 2008 Law
began in August 2009 and will reach Cambodia's entire
complement of 240 judges and prosecutors by the end of the
calendar year. The Royal Academy for Judicial Professionals
(RAJP) directed the creation of a one-day TIP module within
its two-week continuing education course, which all judges
and prosecutors must attend once each year. The module is an
ASEAN-approved judicial training course, taught by RAJP
judges and lawyers, and Cambodia is the first ASEAN nation to
implement the course. Furthermore, the RAJP developed a TIP
module for inclusion in the one-year judicial intake program
that trains all incoming judicial professionals. The module
will be used for the first time in the judicial intake
program that starts November 30.

Improving Prosecutions and Convictions

4. (SBU) The RGC is improving prosecutions and convictions
on trafficking, though its emphasis remains on prosecuting
child sex tourists. Courts convicted at least four
traffickers since April 2009, and at least 28 cases are
pending action by investigating judges. This includes the
conviction and sentencing to 10 years in jail of Chan Phally,
a mother who prostituted her minor daughter to a foreign
pedophile, one of the first such convictions in Cambodia.
Reporting of such statistics from the courts remains
difficult due to resource and technical limitations. Thus,
the RGC and most observers believe the total number of cases
is higher than those reported. On November 20, the Ministry
of Justice will train court clerks and prosecutors from 19
provinces with courts on the 2008 Law and on correct data

PHNOM PENH 00000846 002 OF 003

gathering and submission formats in order to improve
provincial court reporting. In an effort to resolve the
court backlog resulting from the lack of judges and
prosecutors, the RAJP created a five-year plan to increase
the number of judicial professionals, and the RGC committed
to the planned increase in its budget. In September, the
Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior formed a
criminal justice working group to examine all types of cases,
including TIP, for evidence of improper charging, sentencing
or dismissal. Formed at the order of the Prime Minister, the
working group is intended to resolve concerns of case
mishandling raised by police, judicial officials, NGOs, and
donors. According to the National Committee Secretariat, the
working group has completed its examination of courts in 19
provinces and is in the process of compiling its reports.

5. (SBU) The Ministry of Justice continues to work on a
first-ever "Explanatory Note" regarding the anti-TIP law,
which should help police, prosecutors, and judges distinguish
between TIP crimes and other related crimes of sexual
exploitation. One goal of this new initiative is to increase
understanding of TIP crimes and maximize prosecutions and
convictions. The "Explanatory Note" is expected to be
published in early 2010.

Interagency Cooperation

6. (SBU) On September 25, the Prime Minister signed the
sub-decree merging the former National Task Force and
High-Level Working Group into one policy-making structure,
the new 18-member National Committee. The National Committee
is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
Sar Kheng, with deputy chairmanships held by the Ministers
for Womens Affairs, Social Affairs, and Labor. The
Secretariat for the National Committee, which leads the
day-to-day policymaking and coordination work of the RGC's
anti-TIP efforts, has six working groups with
interministerial membership. Each group also has a permanent
vice-chair for an NGO representative, to ensure inclusion and
dialogue between the RGC and TIP NGO community.

Victim Protection

7. (SBU) On August 31, the Ministry of Social Affairs
promulgated a new Policy and National Minimum Standards for
the Protection of the Rights of Victims of Human Trafficking.
The document specifies 10 rights that must be protected by
all persons working with victims, including police, social
workers, health-care workers, and judicial officials (Ref B).
According to the Minister of Social Affairs, these standards
provide guidelines for all government authorities in their
efforts to identify victims among vulnerable populations, and
ensure victims receive protection and rehabilitation. In
response to needs expressed by the NGO community, the
Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Justice have begun
work on a policy to provide legal protections to shelters
that accept victims referred by the government, shielding the
shelters from legal actions brought by disgruntled parents,
traffickers, or others. Finally, an MOU between the
Governments of Cambodia and Vietnam on victim identification
and repatriation is under negotiation, and the Ministry of
Social Affairs indicated it may be completed by year's end.

Public Awareness

8. (SBU) The RGC continues strong public education and
awareness efforts nationwide to discourage commercial sex
acts, particularly by tourists. These efforts include
billboard advertisements, television and radio commercials,
and outreach to hospitality and hotel owners and workers to
report suspect activity. The effort yields results, as
police in Siem Reap Province indicated they received and
investigated over 300 calls regarding suspect activity so far
this year. There has also been a highly visible crackdown by
the government on child sexual exploitation, including by
Cambodians and other Asians. Earlier this year, police
arrested a Cambodian man for purchasing sexual favors from
boys in his community. In July, the Sihanoukville court
convicted a Japanese national for commercial production of
child pornography, and in September, police in Phnom Penh
arrested another Japanese national for commercial sexual
exploitation of a minor girl. Media attention is
particularly high for foreign arrests and convictions, which
contributes to the public awareness campaign.

PHNOM PENH 00000846 003 OF 003


9. (SBU) The RGC has been receptive to the recommendations
contained in the 2009 Annual Trafficking in Persons report,
and the suggested steps in the Action Plan released in
August. The government committment to combating trafficking
was apparent in frequent meetings with the many government
officials who work on these efforts, including with
Ambassador CdeBaca. It is apparent that the RGC is setting
in place a sustained policy and implementation effort that is
designed to go the distance in combating TIP, and not just a
one-off campaign to keep up appearances or satisfy short-term
expectations. The greatest obstacles continue to be lack of
resources and technical capacity in reporting court activity
in a timely and usable way, and the lack of capacity in the
legal system overall, which will continue to result in slow
processing of cases.

© Scoop Media

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