Cablegate: Tunisia: Input for the 2010 Trafficking in Persons
DE RUEHTU #0123/01 0491533
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181533Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7304
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS TUNIS 000123
FOR G/TIP, G (LAURA PENA), INL, DRL, PRM, AND NEA/MAG, ALSO
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB KTIP KCRM KFRD KWMN KMCA PHUM PREF SMIG
SUBJECT: TUNISIA: INPUT FOR THE 2010 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
REF: A. STATE 2094 (NOTAL)
B. TUNIS 97 (NOTAL)
C. 09 TUNIS 850 (NOTAL)
D. 09 TUNIS 831 (NOTAL)
E. 09 TUNIS 775 (NOTAL)
F. 09 TUNIS 758 (NOTAL)
G. 09 TUNIS 95 (NOTAL)
Sensitive but Unclassified. Please protect accordingly.
1. (SBU) Summary: Neither the Tunis offices of the IOM,
UNHCR, or UNICEF, nor any local or international NGOs working
in Tunisia, identified any specific instances of trafficking
during the reporitng period. End summary.
2. (SBU) This cable responds to questions posed by the
Department in ref A. Embassy POC for TIP issues is Laura
Byergo, (Tel) 216-71-107-306, (Fax) 216-71-107-053. Number
of hours spent by rank: 2 hours FE-MC, 2 hours FE-OC, 43
3. (SBU) Paragraphs below are keyed to questions posed in
paragraphs 25-33 in ref A.
4. The Country's TIP Situation (paragraph 25)
A. Sources of Available Information on Trafficking in
Persons: In researching the questions posed ref A, the
Embassy consulted with other relevant organizations to
compile this response, including DHS/ICE, the International
Organization for Migration, UNICEF, the General Union of
Tunisian Workers (UGTT), diplomatic missions in Tunis, and
local and international press coverage of illegal immigration
issues. The Embassy believes that the information from these
sources is reliable, but continues to pursue direct,
substantive dialogue with the GOT as the best means to obtain
definitive information and influence policy on TIP. Per ref
E, the GOT has named a point of contact for substantive
discussions with the Embassy on TIP issues, but has not yet
responded to requests to schedule a meeting.
B. Tunisia has not been identified as a significant country
of origin, transit, and/or destination for internationally
trafficked people. Neither the Tunis offices of the IOM,
UNHCR, Or UNICEF, nor any local or international NGOs working
in Tunisia, identified any specific instances of human
trafficking during the reporting period. Non-governmental
contacts report that there was no evidence of coercion,
fraud, or use of force to induce migrations and no indication
that these migrants are subject to involuntary servitude,
peonage, or debt bondage in Tunisia. All contacts reported
individual migrants were seeking to migrate in Europe
independently of any organized criminal or trafficking
network. Tunisia's geographic location makes it attractive
to illegal migrants, both Tunisian and foreign, attempting to
reach Europe but the migrant flow is small compared to
Morocco or Libya. Many Tunisian migrants prefer to go
through Libya rather than depart from Tunisia. The GOT works
hard to secure its borders for security reasons and therefore
has the laws and resources in place to minimize illegal
migration across its borders. Additionally, Tunisia's small,
homogeneous, and educated population helps diminish the
likelihood of trafficking and exploitation. Comprehensive
government laws and policies focused on social justice and
equality mean Tunisia is well prepared to combat the
international phenomenon of trafficking in persons.
Government officials are knowledgeable about the
international problem, and the GOT has undertaken legal and
practical steps to prevent its emergence in Tunisia and to
coordinate with those fighting the problem in neighboring
countries. There was no evidence of forced labor in Tunisia,
and the GOT actively manages and supervises the labor market,
including the market for domestic employees.
C-E. Not applicable (N/A).
5. (SBU) Setting the Scene for the Government's Anti-TIP
A. The GOT does not identify trafficking in persons as a
problem in Tunisia. Although the GOT is serious about
enforcing legislation designed to combat illegal migration
and trafficking, Tunisia does not have a law specifically
prohibiting trafficking. Therefore, there were no
investigations or arrests specifically designated as
trafficking in 2009. However, there are a number of laws
under which traffickers could be punished. The Government of
Tunisia considers that crimes established in the Penal Code
and other laws criminalizing slavery and forced and bonded
labor bring Tunisia into compliance with the TIP protocol.
Moreover, Tunisian authorities strongly believe and often
reiterate that trafficking in persons is an insignificant
phenomenon in Tunisia.
The Tunisian passport law (No 6/2004) was amended in 2004 to
include punishments for anyone who "guides, arranges,
facilitates, assists, acts as an intermediary, or organized
the surreptitious entry or exit, even without remuneration,
of an individual to or from Tunisia by land, sea or air."
Violators face imprisonment for up to twenty years and a fine
of 100,000 Tunisian dinars (approximately $73,000) if the
crime results in death. Traffickers could also be prosecuted
under laws prohibiting slavery, bonded labor, and the misuse
of boats. Slavery was banned in Tunisia in 1846, and in 1966
Tunisia ratified the 1926 League of Nations Slavery
Convention and related UN protocols. Economic, sexual or
criminal exploitation, as well as forced labor, prostitution,
participation in armed conflict, displacement and any other
form of servitude is illegal (see also paragraph 5B). The
penal code stipulates that government employees be sentenced
to life imprisonment for document forgery. In order to
combat illegal migration by sea, marine laws were amended in
2004 (No. 3/2004 and No. 4/2004) to require all boats with
motors larger than five horsepower to inform the National
Guard of its route and passengers before leaving port, or
face a fine of 1,000 Tunisian dinars (approximately $730).
All related international agreements also have the effect of
codified law once ratified.
There were no investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or
sentences for offenses that were explicitly defined as
trafficking during the reporting period. There was an
indication of possible trafficking although nothing has been
proved. Kalima, a Tunisian on-line independent news magazine
that is not always accurate, reported that, after a complaint
by the regional delegate for child protection, the police in
Gabes had opened an investigation on January 20, 2010 into
reports that a group of children had been sexually exploited
by Libyan tourists.
Throughout the year illegal migrants from Tunisia and
elsewhere were intercepted off Tunisia's coastline or landed
in Tunisia. Most recently, on January 22, 2010 the French
government announced that it was investigating a case of 124
illegal immigrants reached Corsica. The group included 38
children and several pregnant women. Some of the people
claimed to be Kurds from Syria while others were from North
Africa. The French authorities reportedly suspected that the
boat transporting the immigrants came from North Africa,
possibly Tunisia. There is no evidence that these migrants
are being trafficked. Non-governmental contacts report that
there was no evidence of coercion, fraud, or use of force to
induce migration and no indication that migrants are subject
to involuntary servitude, peonage, or debt bondage in
Tunisia. All contacts reported individual migrants were
seeking to migrate to Europe independently of any organized
criminal migration or trafficking network.
B. No government ministry has been specifically designated
as the lead agency for trafficking. However, several
ministries are involved with enforcing the network of laws
that cover immigration and social welfare issues including
the ministries of: Justice and Human Rights; Interior and
Local Development; Social Affairs, Solidarity and Tunisians
Abroad; and Women, Family, Children and Senior Citizen's
Affairs. The government assigns a child protection delegate
to each of Tunisia's districts to ensure that child sexual
abuse victims receive adequate medical care and counseling.
The GOT employs government workers, including social workers,
to assist in shelters for abused women and children operated
by the Tunisian National Women's Union. The GOT also uses
Social Affairs attaches posted to Embassies in countries with
large Tunisian expatriate communities to inform Tunisians of
C. The GOT has adequate funding for its national security
forces. Corruption is a problem but does not impact the
competence of the security forces. The GOT faces more
funding limitations in providing social services such as
D. The GOT does not systematically monitor its
anti-trafficking efforts because it has not identified
trafficking as a significant problem.
E. The GOT registers birth and deaths and has a national
identity card. A citizen requests an identity card at age 18
that does not expire. The card has several security features
including, photo, fingerprint, and barcode data. Security
forces are allowed to stop people and ask for an
identification card at any time. They can also confiscate a
person,s card. If someone does not have a card, he or she
can be taken to the police station for questioning. The
identification card is widely required to apply for
government and legal services.
F. The government is capable of gathering and analyzing
statistics, however it does not publish statistics relevant
to trafficking in persons.
6. (SBU) Investigations and Prosecutions of Traffickers
A. Although the GOT is serious about enforcing legislation
designed to combat illegal migration and trafficking, Tunisia
does not have a law specifically prohibiting trafficking.
Tunisia did not enact any laws specifically related to
trafficking in persons in 2009.
B. Sexual exploitation is addressed by the penal code and
child protection laws. These laws do not specifically
address trafficking, and penalties depend on the degree of
exploitation or violation of the law. Government statistics
on child welfare do not indicate how many were victims of
commercial sexual exploitation nor do they include the
sentences for those convicted of involvement. The GOT has
not yet published statistics related to child welfare for
2009 or for 2008. When the statistics are published by the
Ministry of Social Affairs they cover demographic, health,
and education trends. In a small number of Tunisian cities,
prostitution is legally organized and supervised by the
Ministry of Interior in confined areas. Otherwise,
prostitution is illegal under articles 231 and 232 of the
penal code, which includes punishments for prostitutes,
clients, and intermediaries, and is strictly enforced.
Prostitutes and their clients can be imprisoned from six
months to five years and face fines of up to 500 Tunisian
dinars (approximately $370). Panders can get one to three
years in prison. Enforcement and prosecution of prostitution
laws is strict.
C. The Tunisian labor code is comprehensive and strictly
enforced. Slavery, forced, and bonded labor are banned by
the constitution, national laws, and international
conventions. In April 2009 a Tunis court convicted a
Tunisian woman to three years in prison for subjecting a
seven year old girl to domestic servitude and physical abuse.
The Ministry of Employment operates regional centers in each
of Tunisia's 24 governorates, as well as 83 smaller offices,
to assist job seekers in securing legitimate jobs and
contracts. The Ministry of Social Affairs, Solidarity and
Tunisians Abroad is responsible for investigating violations
of the labor code, including reports of labor abuses, and
conducts approximately 30,000 investigations annually.
Tunisia is not a destination for labor migrants.
D. The maximum penalty for rape with the use of violence
and/or threat with a weapon is death, which is also
prescribed for rape of a child under ten, even without the
use or threat of violence. In practice the death penalty has
not been implemented since 1991. For all other rape cases
(i.e., without consent of the victim) the penalty is life
imprisonment. Tunisian law states that children under the
age of 13 cannot consent to sexual relations. Those guilty
of or intending to have sexual relations with a child over 13
and under 15 can be sentenced to six years. Those guilty of
or intending to have sexual relations with a child over 15
and under 20 can be sentenced to five years.
E. The GOT did not prosecute any cases against human
trafficking offenders during the reporting period.
F. GOT officials are knowledgeable about trafficking issues,
but the GOT did not publicize or otherwise inform the Embassy
of any specialized training for government officials in
trafficking issues during the reporting period.
G. The GOT does cooperate with other countries to secure its
borders, to prevent illegal migration, and to protect its
citizens abroad. However, there were no reported cases of
international cooperation specifically related to trafficking
in persons in the reporting period. The Tunisian penal code
allows for the punishment of individuals who commit crimes of
debauchery outside of the country.
H. The GOT does not publish extradition figures.
I - J. There is no evidence of GOT involvement in or
tolerance of trafficking on a local or institutional level.
K. There was no evidence that Tunisian peacekeepers deployed
abroad engaged in or facilitated trafficking.
L. Sex tourism has not been identified as a problem in
Tunisia and there were no reports in 2009 of any prosecutions
of foreign pedophiles. However, Kalima, a Tunisian on-line
independent news magazine that is not always accurate,
reported that, after a complaint by the regional delegate for
child protection, the police in Gabes had opened an
investigation on January 20 2010 into reports that a group of
children had been sexually exploited by Libyan tourists.
7. (SBU) Protection and Assistance to Victims (paragraph 28):
A. Neither international organizations nor the government
reported evidence of the presence of foreign or domestic
trafficking organizations in Tunisia. As there was no
evidence of trafficking, the government provided no dedicated
support to organizations for services to trafficking victims
or witnesses and there were no organizations specifically
undertaking this effort.
B. The GOT funds centers that provide limited shelter and
assistance to children without parents, and operates juvenile
reform centers. Two private NGOs operate women's shelters
that could be utilized by trafficking victims. The
government does not have victim care facilities. However,
the GOT generally cooperates with UNHCR and other
humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees and asylum
seekers. There are several private charities and
government-sponsored NGOs that offer assistance to illegal
immigrants entering the country. UNHCR reported that none of
the people it interviewed during 2009 provided any
indications that they had been trafficked.
C. As noted above, neither the Tunis offices of the IOM,
UNHCR, or UNICEF, nor any local or international NGOs working
in Tunisia, identified any specific instances of trafficking
during the reporting period. The GOT does not identify
trafficking victims and so does not provide services to them.
H-J. The GOT does not proactively identify victims of
trafficking among high-risk persons and therefore does not
encourage victims to assist in the investigation and
prosecution of trafficking per se.
K. The GOT did not report that it had provided any
specialized training for government officials in identifying
trafficking victims. The Tunisian office responsible for
assisting Tunisians abroad (ONAT), under the Ministry of
Social Affairs, states on its website that it has the
responsibility to assist Tunisian citizens abroad and
intervene on their behalf with the host country authorities.
It is responsible for collecting data on immigrants and their
families remaining in Tunisia. However, it does not provide
any public statistics on its assistance to Tunisians abroad.
The Ministry of Social Affairs publishes demographic
statistics but does not publish statistics on child labor or
M. UNHCR, IOM, and UNICEF are present in Tunisia and report
that the government is generally cooperative in assisting
them in their work. Their offices in Tunisia are not aware
of any trafficking victims.
8. (SBU) Prevention (paragraph 29):
A. We are not aware of any such campaigns.
B. We are not aware of any such specific monitoring.
C. There is no specific interagency mechanism or task force
established to deal with trafficking; however, the government
works across agencies to handle illegal immigration issues
and to control illegal labor, prostitution and other social
D. As the GOT has found no evidence of trafficking in
persons it has not developed a national plan to deal with
E-F. The government did not report any actions or campaigns
to reduce demand for commercial sex or to reduce
participation by its nationals in international sex tourism.
G. The government did not report any measures to ensure its
nationals deployed as peacekeepers do not engage in or
9. (SBU) Partnerships (paragraph 30):
B. The GOT does not currently provide assistance to other
countries to address TIP.