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Cablegate: Demarche On Restitution for Tanzanian Tip Victim

VZCZCXYZ0006
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #1720 3632159
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 292154Z DEC 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM PRIORITY 0000

UNCLAS STATE 131720

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIP ELAB KCRM KWMN PGOV PHUM PREL SMIG TZ
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE ON RESTITUTION FOR TANZANIAN TIP VICTIM

1. This is an action request; please see para 7.

2. BEGIN SUMMARY: Department requests that post present our
concerns over the failure of Mr. Alan Mzengi, a Tanzanian
diplomat formerly posted in Washington, DC, and his wife,
Mrs. Stella Mzengi, to make the court-ordered restitution to
Ms. Zipora Mazengo, whom they allegedly subjected to forced
labor and other abuses in the United States over a four-year
period. Mr. and Mrs. Mzengi have thus far made no effort to
provide restitution and have apparently faced no consequences
for their actions by the Government of Tanzania since their
return home. The Department seeks clarification of the
GOT,s views and actions in relation to this matter. The
Office of Protocol and Office of East African Affairs will
make a demarche to the Tanzanian Ambassador in Washington
parallel to Post,s approach to the GOT. END SUMMARY.

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Background
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3. On October 1, 2007, a U.S. federal court entered a default
judgment against Mr. Alan Mzengi, a Tanzanian diplomat posted
in Washington, DC, and his wife, Mrs. Stella Mzengi, as a
result of their alleged ill treatment of Zipora Mazengo, a
citizen of Tanzania, whom they brought to the United States
to serve in their home as a domestic servant. In ruling
against the Mzengis, the U.S. District Court for the District
of Columbia entered the following findings of fact. Mr. and
Mrs. Mzengi deceived Ms. Mazengo, promising her a job as a
housekeeper and nanny with a fair wage, a forty hour work
week, extra pay for overtime, a two-week annual vacation, and
medical insurance. Mr. Mzengi signed a contract with Ms.
Mazengo guaranteeing these terms of employment. However,
when Ms. Mazengo arrived in the United States, Mr. Mzengi
stripped her of both her passport and her employment
contract. Instead of the employment conditions promised in
her contract, Ms. Mazengo faced 17-hour workdays, seven days
a week. The Mzengis refused to provide her with necessary
medical care, consistently refused to give her a day off, and
did not permit her to leave their home without an escort.
They subjected her to physical and emotional abuse and did
not pay her for any of her work over a four-year period.

4. Ms. Mazengo fled the Mzengi home after demanding her
salary in 2004. She wrote to the Ambassador of Tanzania on
multiple occasions, requesting that the Ambassador assist her
in recouping her back wages. When the Embassy of Tanzania
did not respond to her appeals, Ms. Mazengo sought assistance
from the legal system, and the U.S. Department of Justice
opened a criminal investigation against Mr. Mzengi. In 2007,
Ms. Mazengo filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court
for the District of Columbia against Mr. Mzengi and his wife,

alleging the couple had trafficked her to the United States
and held her in forced labor for four years. On April 28,
2008, the U.S. federal court issued a final order for damages
in the case, ordering the Mzengis to compensate Ms. Mazengo
for the ill treatment she suffered in their home. The order
found that the Mzengis jointly and severally liable to Ms.
Mazengo for a total of $1,059,348.79, including attorney,s
fees. The back wages amounted to $170,083.

5. Ms. Mazengo received no assistance from the Embassy of
Tanzania in reaching a settlement with Mr. Mzengi. The
embassy,s demands that Ms. Mazengo appear at the Embassy of
Tanzania to face questions from embassy officials -- while
Mr. Mzengi remained employed in the embassy -- served to
intimidate Ms. Mazengo. The embassy subsequently refused to
meet with Ms. Mazengo and her attorneys on neutral territory.
Mr. Mzengi left the United States in April 2008 without
fulfilling the court,s order or attempting to reach
settlement with Ms. Mazengo. The Department is not aware of
any investigation conducted by the Government of Tanzania
into this matter.

6. The Department of Health and Human Services certified Ms.
Mazengo as a trafficking victim and she was subsequently
provided with a T-visa. (Note: Ms. Mazengo,s lawsuit had no
relation to her legal status in the United States.)

--------------
Action Request
--------------

7. The Department seeks to: a) ensure that the GOT is fully
informed of the Mazengo case and the outstanding restitution
claim, b) ascertain if any action has been taken in relation
to Mr. Alan Mzengi and/or his spouse in relation to the
Mazengo case, and c) raise concerns about the failure of Mr.
and Mrs. Mzengi to make the court-ordered restitution to Ms.
Mazengo. Additionally, the Department wishes to inform the
GOT of new provisions in the 2008 reauthorization of the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPRA) relating to the
treatment of domestic workers sponsored by foreign diplomats
residing in the U.S. (although we are not/not making any
comment at this time on whether these provisions would apply
to the Tanzanian Embassy in regard to the Mazengo case).

8. Begin demarche points:

-- On October 1, 2007, a U.S. federal court entered a
judgment against Mr. Alan Mzengi, a Tanzanian diplomat posted
in Washington, DC, and his wife, Mrs. Stella Mzengi, as a
result of their alleged ill treatment of Zipora Mazengo, a
citizen of Tanzania, whom they brought to the United States
to serve in their home as a domestic servant.

-- In ruling against the Mzengis, the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia entered the following findings of
fact. Mr. and Mrs. Mzengi deceived Ms. Mazengo, promising
her a job as a housekeeper and nanny with a fair wage and
forty hour work week, extra pay for overtime, a two-week
annual vacation, and medical insurance. Mr. Mzengi signed a
contract with Ms. Mazengo guaranteeing these terms of
employment.

-- When Ms. Mazengo arrived in the United States, Mr. Mzengi
stripped her of both her passport and her employment
contract. Instead of the employment conditions promised in
her contract, Ms. Mazengo faced 17-hour workdays, seven days
a week. The Mzengis refused to provide her with necessary
medical care, consistently refused to give her a day off, and
did not permit her to leave their home without an escort.
They subjected her to physical and emotional abuse and did
not pay her for any of her work over a four-year period.

-- Ms. Mazengo fled the Mzengi home after demanding her
salary in 2004. She wrote to the Ambassador of Tanzania on
multiple occasions, requesting that the Ambassador assist her
in recouping her back wages. When the Embassy of Tanzania
did not respond to her appeals, Ms. Mazengo sought assistance
from the legal system and the U.S. Department of Justice
opened a criminal investigation against Mr. Mzengi. Because
the Mzengis ran a commercial catering business out of their
home, their activities fell under one of the exceptions to
diplomatic immunity.

-- In 2007, Ms. Mazengo filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia against Mr.
Mzengi and his wife, alleging the couple had trafficked her
to the United States and held her in forced labor for four
years. On April 28, 2008, the U.S. federal court issued a
final order for damages in the case, ordering the Mzengis to
compensate Ms. Mazengo for the ill treatment she suffered in
their home. The order found that the Mzengis liable to Ms.
Mazengo for a total of $1,059,348.79, including attorney,s
fees. The back wages amounted to $170,083.

-- The United States is not aware of any assistance provided
to Ms. Mazengo from the Embassy of Tanzania to reach a
settlement with Mr. Mzengi. On the contrary, the embassy,s
demands that Ms. Mazengo appear at the Embassy of Tanzania to
face questions from embassy officials )- while Mr. Mzengi
remained employed in the embassy )- reportedly served to
intimidate Ms. Mazengo. The embassy subsequently refused to
meet with Ms. Mazengo and her attorneys on neutral territory.
Mr. Mzengi left the United States in April 2008 without
fulfilling the court,s order or attempting to reach
settlement with Ms. Mazengo.

-- The U.S. Government is also not aware of action taken by
the Government of Tanzania to investigate these criminal
allegations, to obtain restitution from Mr. Mzengi and his
wife for Ms. Mazengo, or to otherwise hold the Mzengis
accountable for their actions. Please inform us of any
efforts that have been made in this regard.

-- We respectfully ask that your government assist us in
obtaining a settlement for Ms. Mazengo from Mr. and Mrs.
Mzengi. While payment of the lost wages to Ms. Mazengo is
our first priority, we also hope that any diplomat who has
treated his domestic staff in such an abusive manner would
face appropriate sanction upon his return home.

-- We also ask that the Government of Tanzania adopt a policy
and practice of investigating allegations of human
trafficking within its diplomatic corps and holding
perpetrators accountable. The issue of the treatment of
domestic staff by U.S.-based foreign diplomats has received a
great deal of Congressional and advocacy community interest
in Washington. Some may interpret the current lack of
official response to this case as reflecting poorly on the
Government of Tanzania and on its commitment to combating
human trafficking.

-- Additionally, we would like to call to your attention
recent changes in the 2008 reauthorization of the Trafficking
Victims Protection Act (TVPRA) relating to the treatment of
domestic workers sponsored by foreign diplomats residing in
the U.S. Section 203 of that law mandates the Secretary of
State to suspend the issuance of A-3 and G-5 visas to all
applicants seeking to work for officials of a diplomatic
mission or international organization if the Secretary
determines that there is credible evidence that one or more
employees of such mission or international organization have
abused or exploited one or more A-3 or G-5 visa holders and
that the diplomatic mission or international organization
tolerated such actions.

End demarche points.

9. The Office of Protocol and Office of East African Affairs
will be delivering the same points to Ambassador Sefue in
Washington. Post is requested to contact Jennifer Weronski
in Protocol and Justine Treadwell in AF/E via email to
coordinate timing of demarche delivery.

10. The Department appreciates the Embassy,s continued
efforts to monitor the human trafficking situation in
Tanzania and raise concerns in meetings with GOT officials.
CLINTON

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