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Cablegate: 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report for Macedonia

VZCZCXRO4386
RR RUEHIK
DE RUEHSQ #0069/01 0471211
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161211Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY SKOPJE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8883
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE 0599

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 SKOPJE 000069

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/TIP, G- LAURA PENA, INL, DRL, PRM, EUR/PGI, EUR/SCE,
INFO USAID, DOJ, DHS, DOL, DOT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PHUM KCRM KTIP KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC ELAB MCA AJ
TI, MW, BK, KS, MK

SUBJECT: 2010 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT FOR MACEDONIA

SKOPJE 00000069 001.2 OF 011


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY


1. Summary: During the reporting period the GOM continued to show a
strong commitment to combating trafficking-in-persons (TIP) and
participated in international activities directed at identifying and
eliminating human trafficking. High-ranking GoM officials took an
active interest in combating TIP and made public speeches
domestically and internationally against TIP. The National
Commission (NC) for Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in
Persons and Illegal Migration worked proactively with the
international community and the primary TIP NGOs in the country to
improve its TIP prevention, prosecution, and victim protection. The
government continued to strengthen its TIP specific bi-lateral and
multi-lateral relationships to ensure expedient victim
identification and referral across borders, and maximize the
effectiveness of international trafficking and smuggling law
enforcement efforts. The NGOs and international organizations that
work with the NC reported positive collaboration and cooperation
with the GoM.

2. PolOffs Matt Keener and Amanda Timko currently serve as post's
TIP Officers. Post coordinates anti-TIP programs through a TIP
committee comprised of the DCM, POL, PAO, OPDAT, ICITAP and USAID.
Keener's contact information: Embassy phone 389-2-310-2265, fax
389-2-310-2499; unclassified e-mail KeenerM@state.gov. Timko's
contact information: Embassy phone 389-2-310-2413, fax
389-2-310-2499; unclassified e-mail TimkoAM@state.gov. Both PolOffs
are FS-04s and spent approximately 100 combined hours on the
preparation and drafting of this TIP Report. (End Summary)

-------------------
REPORTING QUESTIONS
-------------------


25. (U) MACEDONIA'S TIP SITUATION:

-- A. Post's main sources of information on TIP were The National
Commission; the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) under the Ministry
of Labor and Social Policy (MLSP); the International Organization
for Migration (IOM); the OSCE; the Vienna-based International Centre
for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), two local NGOs that
provide assistance to victims of trafficking in the country's two
TIP victim shelters and a handful of additional NGOs that work on
TIP prevention. In December 2009 the newly appointed National
Reporter on Trafficking and Smuggling completed the first annual
National Reporter's report detailing TIP combating activities. The
report's qualitative assessment of TIP complements the NC's more
quantitative annual report. Interested in delivering the most
accurate, critical assessment of TIP possible, the National Reporter
organized a formal presentation of the findings of the report's
first draft to the National Commission, International Community and
TIP-focused NGOs and requested their feedback and recommendations
prior to publishing the final report. The final report included the
resulting feedback and suggestions conveyed by the international and
NGO community, along with recommendations for improving the report
going forward.

-- B. Macedonia continued to be a transit country for smuggled
migrants. International trafficking crimes continued to drop during
the reporting period. One foreign victim from Kosovo was discovered
during the reporting period. There are some indications that
Macedonia may be a source country for victims of labor trafficking.
One particular case, in which approximately 370 migrant workers
(primarily Bosnian) allegedly became victims of trafficking while
working for a Serbian company in Azerbaijan, reportedly included a
number of Macedonian workers as well. Upon learning of the case,
Macedonian TIP authorities contacted Bosnian authorities and the IOM
for more information. Through the course of the investigation
Macedonian authorities identified a handful of Macedonians who had
worked for the company in Azerbaijan and proactively reached out to
the workers to offer them assistance and interview them in
accordance to the SOPs. All of the retuned workers refused
assistance and most insisted they were not victims. In fact, most
of them also indicated a strong desire to return to Azerbaijan and
work for the company again. Macedonian authorities uncovered some
indicators of TIP in the course of their interviews but have been
unable to substantiate any concrete evidence of TIP so far. The MOI
has planned to conduct additional interviews with other workers and
will pass its report on to the Prosecutors Office upon completion.
The IOM lauded the Macedonian authorities' professionalism and
diligence in proactively following up on the case. There were no
other reports of Macedonian citizens being trafficked abroad during
the reporting period. The majority of the trafficking that occurred
during the reporting period was internal. Internal TIP victims were
primarily minors, generally trafficked for the purpose of sexual
exploitation, often with the complicity of family members or
acquaintances.

During the reporting period 157 people were interviewed by
Macedonian TIP authorities and offered assistance as presumed
victims of trafficking. Most of those were foreigners who were
either smuggled into the country in transit to western European
destinations or discovered working as prostitutes during police
raids of bars and nightclubs. Of those, six Macedonian minors were
identified as confirmed victims of trafficking. One foreign victim
was identified as a confirmed victim of trafficking. Macedonia's
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) consider a person a "presumed
victim of trafficking" if there are any indications that a person
may have been subject to any of the elements of force, fraud or
coercion. The GoM provides a full range of TIP victim services to
presumed TIP victims. Only after an extensive interview by a
competent trafficking in human beings authority can a potential
victim be categorized as a "confirmed victim of TIP."

-- C. Since Macedonia's TIP victims were almost exclusively
Macedonian minors trafficked by family members and acquaintances,
they were primarily trafficked through the use of fear and coercion.
Victims were generally allowed some freedom of movement and were
sometimes even paid small salaries by their traffickers.

-- D. According to the NC and NGOs, poor, uneducated, single women
between 15 and 25 years old were at the highest risk of becoming
victims of trafficking. Ethnic minorities, particularly Roma, were
also identified as most vulnerable.

-- E. According to the MOI, Traffickers were typically 20 to 50 year
old, Macedonian males. The traffickers were not typically part of
organized criminal groups, rather first time, one-off trafficking
offenders. False marriages have been identified as a common tactic
in recent years to lure to the victims.


26. (U) SETTING THE SCENE FOR THE GOVERNMENT'S ANTI-TIP
EFFORTS:

-- A. The Government was acutely aware of the problem trafficking
in persons presents domestically, regionally and globally and
continued to make combating TIP a GoM priority at the highest
levels. Many GoM officials publicly spoke out against trafficking,
and highlighted it as an issue the government must continue to
vigorously address.

-- B. The NC was the government body responsible for drafting
legislation and coordinating the GoM's anti-trafficking efforts. The
NC was headed by the National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking
in Persons. Within the NC were representatives from MOI's
Department for Organized Crime, the Ministry of Labor and Social
Policy (MLSP), the National Referral Mechanism under the MLSP, the
Ministry of Education, Public Prosecutors office, Skopje Criminal
Court One (which tries all TIP cases) and the Centers for Social
Welfare. The MOI's Department of Organized Crime's Sector for
Anti-trafficking of Human Beings was in charge of all TIP-related
law enforcement activities. The Public Prosecutors' Organized Crime
and Corruption Unit handled all TIP prosecutions. The NRM under the
MLSP was the lead on prevention campaigns and trainings related to
victim identification, protection and assistance. The NRM also
coordinated the work of 30 centers for social welfare that dealt
with internally trafficked victims around the country.

-- C. There were no significant limitations on the Government's
ability to address TIP. Some communication problems between the MOI
and the Public Prosecutors office and vacancies in six of the 13
Organized Crime and Corruption public prosecutor positions slowed
the handling of TIP cases during the reporting period. Aware of the
communication problem, the NC is encouraging more direct
participation of this office in NC activities. The six vacancies are
a temporary problem. The Public Prosecutors office has funding for
the six vacant positions and expects to fill at least four by
mid-2010, if not all, but has had trouble finding qualified
candidates. Police funding has been adequate and the government
currently has sufficient resources to aid victims. During the
reporting period the government completed the process of taking over
full financial responsibility for the office of the NRM. (Note: The
NRM was previously working within the Ministry of Labor and Social
Policy but its employees and activities were mostly funded by the
OSCE.) The government also set aside 20,000 EURO in the budget
dedicated to establishing a government run domestic shelter in an
existing government owned building. During the reporting period the
MLSP opened an additional three centers for social welfare, which
also provide victim assistance.

-- D. The government consistently monitored its anti-trafficking
efforts on all fronts. The National Coordinator for TIP gathered and
compiled statistical data from the entire spectrum of TIP-related
agencies and organizations and held frequent meetings with the
primary TIP NGOs and international community to disseminate this
information and discuss ongoing TIP activities. In January 2010 the
newly appointed National Reporter on Trafficking and Smuggling
published the first annual National Reporter's report detailing TIP
which provided a comprehensive assessment of TIP activities during
the year. The National Reporter formally presented the first draft
of this report to the NC, international community and primary TIP
NGOs in December 2009 for evaluation and integrated the feedback and
criticism from that evaluation into the final draft of the report as
areas of focus and improvement for 2010. The GoM also operated two
databases: one of TIP victims (hosted by the NRM), and another of
TIP criminals (hosted by the MOI).

-- E. Macedonia maintains a standard, modern system for identity
establishment. Births are registered and filed by municipal
governments and transmitted to the Ministry of Interior for
consolidation into a national citizenship database. The government
also takes regular censuses. The next census is scheduled for
2011.

-- F. The MOI maintains case management and criminal databases,
including the aforementioned database exclusively for tracking TIP
criminals. The courts also maintain a separate case tracking
database and, with the assistance of USAID, have been working to
modernize their case management system and improve transparency.
The government has no significant gaps in tracking law enforcement
efforts.


27. (U) INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS:

-- A. Macedonia has a law specifically prohibiting trafficking in
persons. This law criminalizes TIP not only when carried out for
purposes of sexual exploitation, but also for other purposes, such
as forced labor, involuntary removal of human organs for
transplantation, pornography, forcible marriage or fertilization,
and illegal adoption.

The TIP-specific articles in the Criminal Code were introduced in
2004. On January 4, 2008, the Macedonian Parliament adopted
amendments to the 2004 Criminal Code which fully harmonized the
relevant Macedonian legislation with the 2000 UN Palermo Convention
against trans-national organized crime and its Supplementing
Protocols, and provided the legislative basis for the ratification
of the Council of Europe's Convention on Action against Trafficking
in Human Beings (2005) and the Convention on the Protection of
Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (2007). The
exact text of Article 418 is included below:

TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS
Article 418-A

(1) A person who by force, serious threat misleads or uses other
forms of coercion, kidnapping, deceit and abuse of his/her own
position or a position of pregnancy, weakness, physical or mental
incapability of another person, or by giving or receiving money or
other benefits in order to obtain agreement of a person that has
control over other person or in another manner, recruits,
transports, transfers, buys, sells, harbors or accepts persons
because of exploitation through prostitution or other forms of
sexual exploitation, pornography, forced labor or servitude,
slavery, forced marriages, forced fertilization, unlawful adoption,
or similar relationship or illicit transplantation of human body
parts, shall be punished with imprisonment of at least four years".

(2) A person who destroys or takes a way an ID, passport or other
documents for identification with aim to commit the crimes set out
in paragraph 1 of this article shall be punished with at least 4
years of imprisonment.
(3) A person who uses or enables another person to use sexual
services or other type of exploitation from persons for whom knew or
should have known or were victims of human trafficking shall be
punished with imprisonment between 6 months and 5 years.
(4) If the act from paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this article is
committed by an official person in the course of duty, this person
is punished with a minimum sentence of eight years in prison.
(5) The consent of the victim of trafficking with the intention for
exploitation prescribed in paragraph 1 is of no relevance for the
existence of the crime of paragraph 1.
(6) If the crime of this article is committed by a legal entity, it
shall be fined.
(7) The real estate utilized and the items used and the means of
transport used for committing the crime shall be confiscated.

SMUGGLING OF MIGRANTS
Article 418-B

(1) One who, using force or serious threat that will attack the life
or body, with kidnapping, fraud, out of greed, with misuse of
his/her official position or using of the powerlessness of other
illegally transfers migrants through the state border, as well as
one that produces, purchases or owns fake passport with such
intention, shall be sentenced with imprisonment of at least four
years.
(2) One that engages, transports, transfers, buys, sells, hides or
accepts migrants shall be sentenced with imprisonment of one to five
years.
(3) If during the commitment of the crimes stipulated in the
paragraphs 1 and 2 the life or the health of a migrant is
endangered, or the migrant is treated especially humiliating or
cruelly, or he/she is prevented to use the rights he/she has
according to the international law, the stipulator shall be
sentenced with imprisonment of at least eight years.
(4) If the crime stipulated in the paragraphs 1 and 2 is committed
with a minor, shall be sentenced with imprisonment of at least eight
years.
(5) If the act from paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) of this article
is committed by an official person in the course of duty, this
person is punished with a minimum sentence of ten years in prison.
(6) The means and vehicles used for committing the crime shall be
confiscated.

ORGANIZATION OF A GROUP AND URGING FOR COMMITTING THE CRIMES HUMAN
TRAFFICKING, TRAFFICKING IN A MINOR AND SMUGGLING OF MIGRANTS
Article 418-C

(1) One who will organize a group, gang or other association with
intention to commit crimes stipulated in the articles 418-a, 418-b
and 418-d, shall be sentenced with imprisonment of at least eight
years.
(2) One who will become a member of a group, gang or other
association stipulated in paragraph 1 or in other way helps the
group, gang or association, shall be sentenced with imprisonment of
at least one year.
(3) The member of the group stipulated in the paragraph 1 who will
disclose the group before he/she commits a crime as its member or on
its behalf, shall be pardoned.
(4) One that calls, urges or supports commitment of the crimes
stipulated in the articles 418-a, 418-b and 418-d, shall be
sentenced with imprisonment of one to ten years.

TRAFFICKING OF A MINOR
Article 418-D

(1) The person who recruits, transports, transfers, buys, sells,
harbors or accepts minor because of exploitation through
prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, pornography,
forced labor or servitude, slavery, forced marriages, forced
fertilization, unlawful adoption or similar relationship or illicit
transplantation of human body parts, shall be punished with
imprisonment of at least eight years
(2) The person who shall commit the crime from paragraph 1 by force,
serious threat, by misleading or through other forms of coercion,
kidnapping, deceit and abuse of his/her own position or a position
of pregnancy, weakness, physical or mental incapability of another
person, or by giving or receiving money or other benefits in order
to obtain agreement of a person that has control over other person,
shall be punished with at least 10 years imprisonment.
(3) A person who shall use or enable another person to use sexual
services or other type of exploitation of a minor for whom the
person knew or should have known that are victims of human
trafficking shall be punished with at least 8 years imprisonment.
(4) A person who destroys or takes away an ID, passport or other's
person documents for identification with aim to commit the crimes
set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this article shall be punished with
at least 4 years of imprisonment.
(5) If the act from paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) of this article
is committed by an official person in the course of duty, this
person is punished with a minimum sentence of ten years in prison.
(6) The consent of the minor with the activities foreseen in
paragraph 1 is of no relevance for the existence of the crime of
paragraph 1.
(7) If the crime of this article is committed by a legal entity, it
shall be punished with a fine.
(8) Estates utilized and the objects and the vehicles used for the
committing of the crimes shall be confiscated.

In September 2009 the government adopted amendments (above) to all
four of the TIP related sections of the criminal code that mandate
an eight year minimum sentence for any of these crimes committed by
a public official while in the course of official duty, ten years if
the victim is a minor.

The criminal code also includes a law against "mediation in
prostitution," Article 191. Article 191 includes a subsection on
prostitution "by using force or by serious threat to use force."
The sentence for this subsection was increased to eight years in
November 2008. This law cannot be used in prostitution cases
involving minors. All crimes related to prostitution involving
minors must be charged as "Trafficking in Minors" under Article
418D.

-- B. Penalties for traffickers engaging in sexual exploitation
carry a minimum of four years imprisonment. Any of the crimes
involving the sexual exploitation of a minor carry a minimum
sentence of eight years, ten years if the trafficker abuses a
position of authority or a physical or mental weakness of the victim
in order to commit the crime. The minimum penalty for
mediators/organizers of prostitution is three years.

(See 27. -- A. for full details on the prescribed penalties for
trafficking for sexual exploitation)

-- C. Article 418a also criminalizes trafficking for purposes of
forced labor and carries a minimum sentence of four years. (See 27.
-- A. for full details on the prescribed penalties for trafficking
for labor exploitation)

The Law on Labor Relations and the Law on Criminal Procedure cover
all acts of non-trafficking related labor exploitation. Child labor
abuse, not specifically as a result of trafficking, is dealt with in
Section XIII, Articles 172-176, of the Law on Labor Relations.
Article 173 bans employees under the age of 18 from working in
difficult or dangerous labor conditions, while Article 175 precludes
them from working between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am.

-- D. Penalties for rape or forcible sexual assault are prescribed
in Articles 186 through 189 of Criminal Code and carry a sentence
ranging from three years to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment. For
rape committed against a child less than fourteen years of age the
minimum sentence is eight years.

-- E. The MOI arrested 18 suspects in connection with seven alleged
trafficking cases during the reporting period. Investigation is
ongoing in five of those cases and two of those cases are currently
being prosecuted in the courts. No trafficking cases opened during
the reporting period have reached the conviction stage as of this
report.

-- F. During the reporting period the government and IOM conducted
an extensive training program focused on improving adherence to the
standard operating procedures and victim identification skills
across all of Macedonia's TIP responders. The first phase of the
program, completed in December, included eight, two-day trainings
reaching 280 local law enforcement officials and border police to
improve understanding and implementation of the Standard Operating
Procedure by front-line law enforcement officials. The trainings
included a special focus on identifying the new, more discreet
victim profile and adapting police methods to the changing modus
operandi of traffickers that have emerged due to Macedonia's
crackdown on human trafficking over the past three years. Those
trainings are now being followed up with six specialized trainings
reaching 150 officials from the Prosecutor's office, MOI and NRM.
The third phase of these trainings will be a series of integrated
trainings to improve coordination between the MOI, labor inspectors,
NGOs, prosecutors and social workers. Those trainings are set to
begin in spring 2010 and will reach 120 employees from the various
institutions. The trainings were funded with Macedonia's EU
Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) funds.
Separately, the MLSP and State Labor Inspectorate, in conjunction
with the OSCE, conducted a series of four three-day workshops
focused on training more than 120 labor inspectors. The trainings
are designed to help the inspectors identify the less obvious
indicators of labor trafficking and educate them on appropriate
procedures for investigating and reporting those crimes through the
National Referral Mechanism.
Embassy officers from the US Department of Justice representing
ICITAP and OPDAT work closely with the GoM to provide broad training
and assistance to the Judiciary and law enforcement. ICITAP and
OPDAT make an effort to work TIP enforcement into all oQ;Q&oDmXyc@J! in cooperation with Serbian officials
through the SECI center

Through the Migration, Asylum and Refugee Regional Initiative
(MARRI), a governmental organization formed out of the 2003
Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, which includes six regional
member states, Macedonia has continued the implementation of various
TIP related and border security projects in coordination with the
other countries belonging to the initiative.

-- H. The GOM extradites foreign criminal suspects upon receiving a
request from authorities in the country of origin. However, the
Macedonian constitution prohibits the extradition of Macedonian
nationals who are charged with criminal offenses. In such cases, the
GoM requests that the other country transfer its jurisdiction for
criminal action against, for example traffickers, to the GoM for
prosecution. The government can extradite other-country nationals
who are charged with trafficking. The extradition procedure is
delineated in the Law on Criminal Procedure, bilateral extradition
treaties, and the Council of Europe's Extradition Convention.

No cases requiring criminal extradition occurred during the
reporting period.

-- I. There was no evidence of involvement of high-level GoM
officials in TIP, or of the tolerance of TIP at any level.

-- J. No government officials were involved in human trafficking
cases during the reporting period. However, due to the rise in
human smuggling cases transiting through Macedonia over the last
couple of years, law enforcement officials have increased their
efforts to root out any corruption that makes Macedonia more
vulnerable to organized international human smuggling and
trafficking networks. On July 1, 13 people in Macedonia, including
one senior MOI police officer, were arrested and charged with human
smuggling for the smuggling of Asian migrants from Serbia, through
Macedonia, to Greece. Operation "Kanis" (as the case has been
dubbed) was coordinated in cooperation with Serbian officials
through the SECI center. Separately, beginning on August 25, the
Organized Crime Unit began arresting border police and customs
officers in operation "Boomerang" for allegedly taking and/or
soliciting bribes at border entry points. To date, charges have
been brought and indictments levied against 57 border police and 3
customs officials. Trials are underway for all 60 defendants.
Although there is no evidence connecting either case to TIP crimes,
Macedonian authorities consider both cases significant wins in
securing the borders against vulnerabilities to international
smuggling and trafficking crimes.
To further discourage corruption, in September 2009 the government
also adopted amendments to the TIP related sections of the criminal
code that mandate an eight year minimum sentence for any of these
crimes committed by a public official while in the course of
official duty (10 year minimum sentence if committed against a
minor).

-- K. Macedonia contributes troops to the ISAF peacekeeping mission
but none of those troops have been implicated in facilitating any
form of trafficking or the exploitation of trafficking victims.

-- L. Macedonia does not have an identified problem of sex tourism
involving children nor is there any indication that Macedonian
nationals engage in sex tourism. Nonetheless Macedonia has been
particularly aggressive in its investigation and prosecution of TIP
crimes against minors.


28. (U) PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS:

-- A. Macedonia offers formal witness protection services to victims
testifying in high-risk, high profile cases. Witnesses are often
housed in safe houses or hotels and receive 24-hour police
protection. No TIP cases during the reporting period required this
level of witness protection. Additionally, the Reception Center for
international TIP cooperation a high priority. The GoM finished
developing its trans-national referral mechanism (TRM) for TIP with
14 other governments throughout Europe and hosted the TRM project's
fourth and final international conference in Ohrid in June 2009.
The TRM harmonizes victim identification, referral, and return, and
investigative cooperation among participating governments when
dealing with international TIP crimes.

Additionally, Macedonia continued to coordinate smuggling and TIP
investigations through the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative
(SECI) center. On July 1, 13 people in Macedonia, including one
senior MOI police officer, were arrested and charged with human
smuggling for the smuggling of Asian migrants from Serbia, through
Macedonia, to Greece. Operation "Kanis" (as the case has been
dubbed) was coordinated in cooperation with Serbian officials
through the SECI center

Through the Migration, Asylum and Refugee Regional Initiative
(MARRI), a governmental organization formed out of the 2003
Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, which includes six regional
member states, Macedonia has continued the implementation of various
TIP related and border security projects in coordination with the
other countries belonging to the initiative.

-- H. The GOM extradites foreign criminal suspects upon receiving a
request from authorities in the country of origin. However, the
Macedonian constitution prohibits the extradition of Macedonian
nationals who are charged with criminal offenses. In such cases, the
GoM requests that the other country transfer its jurisdiction for
criminal action against, for example traffickers, to the GoM for
prosecution. The government can extradite other-country nationals
who are charged with trafficking. The extradition procedure is
delineated in the Law on Criminal Procedure, bilateral extradition
treaties, and the Council of Europe's Extradition Convention.

No cases requiring criminal extradition occurred during the
reporting period.

-- I. There was no evidence of involvement of high-level GoM
officials in TIP, or of the tolerance of TIP at any level.

-- J. No government officials were involved in human trafficking
cases during the reporting period. However, due to the rise in
human smuggling cases transiting through Macedonia over the last
couple of years, law enforcement officials have increased their
efforts to root out any corruption that makes Macedonia more
vulnerable to organized international human smuggling and
trafficking networks. On July 1, 13 people in Macedonia, including
one senior MOI police officer, were arrested and charged with human
smuggling for the smuggling of Asian migrants from Serbia, through
Macedonia, to Greece. Operation "Kanis" (as the case has been
dubbed) was coordinated in cooperation with Serbian officials
through the SECI center. Separately, beginning on August 25, the
Organized Crime Unit began arresting border police and customs
officers in operation "Boomerang" for allegedly taking and/or
soliciting bribes at border entry points. To date, charges have
been brought and indictments levied against 57 border police and 3
customs officials. Trials are underway for all 60 defendants.
Although there is no evidence connecting either case to TIP crimes,
Macedonian authorities consider both cases significant wins in
securing the borders against vulnerabilities to international
smuggling and trafficking crimes.
To further discourage corruption, in September 2009 the government
also adopted amendments to the TIP related sections of the criminal
code that mandate an eight year minimum sentence for any of these
crimes committed by a public official while in the course of
official duty (10 year minimum sentence if committed against a
minor).

-- K. Macedonia contributes troops to the ISAF peacekeeping mission
but none of those troops have been implicated in facilitating any
form of trafficking or the exploitation of trafficking victims.

-- L. Macedonia does not have an identified problem of sex tourism
involving children nor is there any indication that Macedonian
nationals engage in sex tourism. Nonetheless Macedonia has been
particularly aggressive in its investigation and prosecution of TIP
crimes against minors.


28. (U) PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS:

-- A. Macedonia offers formal witness protection services to victims
testifying in high-risk, high profile cases. Witnesses are often
housed in safe houses or hotels and receive 24-hour police
protection. No TIP cases during the reporting period required this
level of witness protection. Additionally, the Reception Center for
foreign victims included round-the-clock police security and the
domestic victims' shelter maintained a high level of secrecy and
discretion with its location and employed an on-call private
security company. There have been no TIP cases in recent years
where victim protection failed.

-- B. The MOI, with IOM support and the help of NGO specialists,
fully operated the Reception Center (formerly the Shelter Transit
Center) for foreign victims of trafficking and irregular migrants.
The Center provided safe housing for victims at the pre-trial,
trial, and post-trial stages, until the eventual repatriation of
victims to their countries of origin. The government budget for
the Reception Center was approximately $105,000 in 2009.

During the reporting period domestic victims were housed in the
domestic victims' shelter, run by the NGO OpenGate. The shelter was
funded in part by the Dutch International NGO Lastrada, as well as a
40,000 EURO award OpenGate received from the ERSTE Foundation. The
government nominated OpenGate for the ERSTE award based on its
prevention programs in Macedonia and OpenGate was awarded the first
prize out of 1,300 project submissions. During the reporting period
the NC and MLSP ran into a number of setbacks in plans to take full
financial and material responsibility for the domestic victims'
shelter. In September, the NC identified an ideal location for the
new domestic victims' shelter and received a full endorsement of the
location from the two NGOs that would ultimately operate victim care
and day-to-day operations of the shelter. However, tenants in an
adjacent facility for the blind did not want a victims shelter
placed next to their facility and threatened to create media
problems if the government followed through on the plans. Wishing
to keep the shelter low profile and discreet, and to avoid an ugly
media frenzy, the GoM decided to abandon the location. In October,
GoM officials believed they had identified another suitable location
for the shelter, but following a tour of the location with the NGOs
(in which Embassy PolOffs also participated) the location was deemed
inadequate and the government was forced to continue its search. On
February 12, the NC was granted authorization to convert a large
government owned apartment, which will ultimately shelter as many as
nine victims, into the new domestic victims' shelter. The NGOs have
fully endorsed this plan. They feel the apartment is secure, well
located, and provides an appropriate level of freedom, comfort and
amenities for domestic victims.

Domestic victims who choose not to reside in the domestic shelter
can receive psychological and social services from any of the 30
MLSP-run centers for social welfare. The centers for social welfare
also provide victim reintegration services. The MLSP opened three
new centers for social welfare during the reporting period. The
2009 government budget for the centers for social welfare was
approximately $11,000,000.

There was one foreign victim of TIP discovered during the reporting
period who was housed in the Reception Center prior to returning to
Kosovo. The NGO-run shelter for domestic TIP victims assisted 11
confirmed victims during the reporting period. Five of the victims
assisted were from cases opened during the previous reporting
period. The centers for social welfare assisted seven TIP victims
during 2009.

-- C. In the Reception Center the GoM provided social and
psychological services through resident civil servants. The GoM
also provided office space for the NGO Happy Childhood to provide a
variety of victim services. The MLSP provided legal services to
victims through a legal advocate employed in the NRM. The GoM
signed a MoU with the Red Cross during the last reporting period to
provide emergency medical assistance to foreign victims in the
reception center. The government transfers approximately $350 a
month to the Red Cross to provide those services. Macedonian
citizens are entitled to healthcare under the law but due to
complexities surrounding registration for healthcare some domestic
victims who were not previously registered are not immediately able
to obtain it. In these cases the government has provided healthcare
to domestic victims on a case by case basis or the NGO that runs the
domestic shelter has paid for emergency medical care itself. During
the reporting period, the MLSP submitted amendments to Parliament
that would eliminate these complexities and guarantee that all
domestic TIP victims are granted government healthcare no matter
what. That legislation is still awaiting Parliamentary approval.


Additionally, domestic victims can receive psychological and social
services from any of the 30 MLSP-run centers for social welfare.
The centers for social welfare also provide victim reintegration
services. Additionally, the centers for social welfare in
conjunction with the NGO OpenGate have continued their program to
assist TIP victims with job placements upon reintegration.


-- D. The Law on Foreigners, which came into force on January 1,
2008, allows persons suspected of being TIP victims to be given a
two-month temporary residence permit in the country while they are
deciding whether or not to testify. During that period, the GOM is
to support and protect the presumed victims. The period can be
extended for victims who are minors. Article 82 allows for the
granting of a six-month temporary residence permit for all TIP
victims who have agreed to testify.

-- E. After domestic victims leave the domestic shelter they can
continue to receive a full range of victim support services through
the Centers for Social Welfare, including social reintegration
services, psychiatric services and in some cases skills training and
employment services.

-- F. The National Referral Mechanism and the SOPs outlined detailed
procedures for victim referral to either the domestic shelter or
Reception Center by police, social workers, prosecutors and other
potential TIP first responders.

-- G. Seven confirmed victims of TIP were identified during the
reporting period. Of those victims six were Macedonian minors and
one victim was a foreign minor from Kosovo. Three victims were
victims of just sexual exploitation, two were victims of just labor
exploitation, and two were victims of both sexual and labor
exploitation. One of the victims of labor exploitation was also a
victim of forced begging. All of the domestic victims have received
assistance from the NGO funded domestic shelter for TIP victims as
well as the government funded centers for social welfare.

-- H. The TIP SOPs, formally adopted by the GOM at the beginning of
2008, establish a formal system for victim identification for use by
the police, social services personnel and any other potential first
responders. All the police, immigrations officers, prosecutors and
social workers expected to encounter TIP victims have been trained
on the SOPs. The SOPs were developed to fully conform to accepted
international standards on victim identification and treatment.

The Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs requires its consular
officers to receive training on recognizing potential victims of
trafficking. Consular officers are instructed not to routinely issue
visas or work permits to women for employment in the "entertainment
industry." Such requests are flagged and sent to the MOI's internal
review board, which assesses the credentials of the applicant as
well as the authenticity of the Macedonian establishment where the
visa applicant is to work.

-- I. Victim rights were respected during the reporting period.
Initial screening of victims was carried out by TIP-trained police
officers in the unit to combat human trafficking and social workers
from the local centers for social work. Where police and social
workers suspected any elements of TIP they referred victims to one
of the two shelters. The shelters provided any immediate health or
social services to the presumed victims.

There were no reports of potential TIP victims being detained,
jailed, prosecuted or fined during the reporting period, nor were
there any reports of unsatisfactory adherence to the SOPs by local
law enforcement as there had been in years past.

-- J. The government encouraged victims to participate in
investigations and trials, and provided support to them. During the
reporting period, two of the victims provided witness testimony in
the courts and three of the victims have assisted in the
investigation of their cases. In cases when foreign victims of
trafficking are witnesses against their traffickers, the victims do
not have the right to obtain other employment in the country. In
cases in which a foreign witness has not been repatriated or
requested a residency permit they stay at the government-run
reception center.

Victims can institute civil proceedings to claim damages and/or
compensation and compensation has been awarded in several cases in
the past few years. However, the current process for victim
compensation continues to be too complex, and victims who have been
awarded compensation have thus far been unable to see the entire
process through to fruition. To remedy this problem, the NC is
pushing for the creation of a TIP victims' fund from which victim
compensation could be paid out as soon as compensation rulings are
awarded by the court. This would place the responsibility for
seizure of assets entirely on the GoM rather than requiring the
victim to pursue compensation.

-- K. During the reporting period the government provided
specialized training on TIP victim identification and assistance to
law enforcement officials, border police, the Prosecutor's office,
MOI officials, NRM officials and state labor inspectors as
previously noted in 27.--F.
The Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs requires its consular
officers to receive training on recognizing potential victims of
trafficking.

No trafficking victims sought host country embassy or consulate
assistance during the reporting period.

-- L. Repatriated Macedonian TIP victims are permitted to stay in
the domestic shelter and given access to a full range of services
offered by the Centers for Social Welfare. They also receive new
identity documentation, a government health insurance card and legal
representation from the office of the NRM as necessary.

-- M. Several NGOs and international organizations were active in
prevention and awareness-raising projects in Macedonia. To date,
those involved in working directly with victims of trafficking are:

a) "For Happy Childhood" is an NGO responsible for the psychosocial
support of victims of trafficking in the MOI Reception Center. The
NGO will become one of the MLSP's two NGO partners in the new
domestic victims' shelter. The GoM provided office space, phones and
computers to Happy Childhood at the Reception Center and the
University of Skopje during the reporting period.

b) "The International Organization for Migration" (IOM), which
provides financial support to the Reception Center, is responsible
for the repatriation program for foreign TIP victims and provides
material support and funding for a number of awareness campaigns.
Additionally, the IOM worked on an ESS TIP project that began in
2007 that helped vulnerable victim groups create micro-businesses in
order to improve their financial stability, thus reducing their risk
factors.

c) "Open Gate - La Strada" is an NGO that manages the shelter for
victims of internal trafficking and victims of Macedonian origin.
The NGO will become one of the MLSP's two NGO partners in the new
domestic victims' shelter. Through the domestic shelter the NGO
provided a full range of support services including adult education
programs and specialized skills training. During victim
reintegration Open Gate worked with the centers for social welfare
to help place victims in jobs where they could receive practical
training in their new skill set. Open Gate also operated the
national toll-free TIP victims' helpline.

d) "Red Cross"- The NC has signed a memorandum of understanding with
the Red Cross which has integrated the Red Cross into the victim
identification process and allows the Red Cross to provide medical
services to TIP victims in both shelters.

All these organizations have reported that Macedonian authorities
are cooperative and supportive of the NGOs and international
organizations in their anti-trafficking programs and activities.


29. (U) PREVENTION:

-- A. During the reporting period the government conducted a variety
of anti-trafficking education and awareness campaigns. On October
18, EU Anti-Trafficking Day, the Minister of Interior and Minister
of Justice attended an EU Ministerial Conference in Brussels where
they each delivered speeches on the importance of joint
international efforts and cooperation in combating TIP. The NC also
distributed TIP awareness leaflets and brochures in two of
Macedonia's largest malls, and MOI together with IOM sent out a
press-release detailing the current facts and figures of TIP to
promote TIP awareness.

On December 2, the World Abolition of Slavery Day, the NC with the
help of the NGO Semper distributed leaflets and brochures in Bitola,
Macedonia's second largest city, which has been identified as a
particularly high risk city for TIP. With the cooperation of the
Red Cross, the NC and Semper also held an awareness raising event on
the same day for high school students in Bitola. Semper conducted
similar workshops in Bitola throughout the year.

Seeking to address client demand for victims of trafficking, the NC
began broadcasting a demand reduction campaign over the state
television network in November 2009. The NC translated the IOM's
"Buy Responsibly" campaign into Macedonian for use in the campaign.

In addition to these activities, an inter-ministerial panel on
children's rights, which includes the head of the NRM, distributed
TIP prevention leaflets to schools throughout Macedonia. The
government's Agency of Youth and Sports granted the NGO OpenGate
$1000 in funding to assist in the continuation of their TIP
prevention lectures to youth around the country. The public
University of Skopje, through an ongoing partnership with the NGO
"For Happy Childhood," continued to organize seminars and films
promoting TIP awareness. Furthermore, the Minister of Interior has
delivered public speeches on the importance of combating TIP at
national conferences and training events throughout the reporting
period.

-- B. The government monitors immigration and emigration patterns
for evidence of trafficking. As a member of the regional
governmental organization MARRI, Macedonia has participated in a
number of projects focused on improving regional cooperation and
implementing tools to monitor and control regional migration more
effectively. The projects have included harmonizing identification
documents and visas between the member states, facilitating the
exchange of migration information between countries, creating tools
for tracking regional migration and the circular migration of
temporary workers, and integrated border management.

All of Macedonia's border police and immigration officers have
received victim identification training and specialized training to
identify fraudulent documents and visas.

-- C. Internally, the NC was responsible for coordinating the
anti-trafficking efforts between all of Macedonia's primary TIP
stakeholders. The NC was headed by the National Coordinator for
Combating Trafficking in persons. Within the NC were
representatives from MOI's Department for Organized Crime, the NRM
under the MLSP, the MOE, Skopje Criminal Court One (which tries all
TIP cases) and the Centers for Social Welfare.

The MOI law enforcement Sector for Anti-trafficking worked closely
with the SECI center, which coordinates the international law
enforcement efforts of 13 member countries and has successfully
broken up a number of regional human trafficking and smuggling
operations.

During the reporting period the GoM completed the development of its
Transnational Referral Mechanism with 14 other governments
throughout Europe. The TRM harmonizes victim identification,
referral, return and investigative cooperation between governments
when handling international TIP crimes.

The GoM coordinates many of its regional, policy-level TIP
activities through MARRI. These activities include projects
specifically to combat regional TIP as well as a number of other
projects designed to bolster regional cooperation and
infrastructures for monitoring and controlling migration.

-- D. The NC, in collaboration with international community and NGOs
completed its a new NAP for 2009-2012 at the end of the previous
reporting period and the new NAP was adopted by the government in
September 2009, along with an approximately $550,000 budget for its
implementation. The international community and NGOs have cited the
new NAP as an excellent example of collaboration between all the key
stakeholders combating TIP in Macedonia. For the first time, the
new National Action Plan (NAP) for combating trafficking included
detailed government funding responsibilities. Previously the NAP
only detailed Macedonia's specific TIP combating goals and
objectives but did not define specific funding sources to achieve
those goals. Now, every one of the goals and objectives in the NAP
includes a funding directive that defines which ministries are
responsible for funding that specific activity. This change will
make budget allocations easier and require ministerial
accountability for TIP combating responsibilities.

-- E. Seeking to address client demand for victims of trafficking,
the NC began broadcasting a demand reduction campaign over the state
television network in November 2009. The NC translated the IOM's
"Buy Responsibly" campaign into Macedonian for use in the campaign.

The public University of Skopje, through an ongoing partnership with
the NGO "For Happy Childhood," continued to organize seminars and
films promoting TIP awareness. These presentations and films
included speakers and materials focused specifically on demand
reduction, including presentations by lawyers and doctors on the
severe consequences of procuring commercial sex services.

During the reporting period the NGO Semper also held a number of
workshops in Bitola which included sessions focused on reducing
demand for commercial sex by encouraging attendee awareness of the
possibility that commercial sex workers may be unwilling TIP
victims.

-- F. The international community, NGOs and GoM generally concur
that Macedonian nationals do not travel abroad for sex tourism. The
government did not take any specific measures to combat
international child sex tourism by Macedonian nationals during the
reporting period.

-- G. The GoM continued to provide pre-deployment training for
soldiers that included awareness and prevention training on the
dangers of TIP and its link to the demand for commercial sex.

--------------------
30. (U) PARTNERSHIPS
--------------------

-- A. The MOI law enforcement Sector for Anti-trafficking worked
closely with the SECI center, which coordinates the international
law enforcement efforts of 13 member countries and has successfully
broken up a number of regional human trafficking and smuggling
operations.

The GoM also coordinates many of its regional, policy-level TIP
activities through MARRI. These activities include a TIP specific
project to develop a regionally integrated approach to preventing
and combating TIP as well as a number of other projects designed to
bolster regional cooperation and infrastructures for monitoring and
controlling migration.

-- B. The government has hosted the headquarters of the
inter-governmental regional initiative, MARRI, in Skopje since the
initiative's inception free of charge. Representatives from each of
MARRI's six member countries coordinate regional projects and
initiatives out of the headquarters which are located in the
government owned Macedonian TV building.

In September 2009, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy General
Prosecutor from Tajikistan visited Macedonia and met with senior NC
official to learn best practices for combating TIP in Tajikistan.
At the international TRM conference in Ohrid in June, the Deputy
Minister of Interior from Montenegro asked the Macedonian National
Coordinator for combating TIP if Macedonia could assist Montenegro
in improving its TIP combating activities. The NC will be sending a
delegation to Montenegro on February 25, 2010 to meet with
Montenegrin TIP officials to discuss ideas for assistance and
coordination. In April 2009, students from the University of
Toronto also visited NC officials in Macedonia to learn about best
practices for combating TIP.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CHILD SOLDIERS PREVENTION ACT
--------------------------------------------- ----------

33. Macedonia has not been the subject of allegations regarding
illegal child soldiering.

---------------------------------------
NOMINATION OF HEROES AND BEST PRACTICES
---------------------------------------

35. In December 2010 the newly appointed National Reporter on
Trafficking and Smuggling completed the first draft of the first
annual National Reporter's report detailing TIP combating
activities. Interested in delivering the most accurate and critical
assessment of TIP combating activities in Macedonia as possible,
the National Reporter organized a formal meeting to present the
findings of the report's first draft to the National Commission,
International Community and TIP focused NGOs, and requested their
feedback and recommendations prior to publishing the final report.
The final report included the resulting feedback and suggestions
conveyed by the international and NGO community, along with
recommendations for 2010. All who participated commended the
government for its inclusive approach to preparing the report and
its willingness to proactively seek a broad critical assessment of
the report in order to achieve best results.


REEKER

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