Cablegate: Anti-Human Trafficking Recommendations Reached, Russia,


DE RUEHUNV #0061/01 0501306
P 191306Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Anti-Human Trafficking Recommendations Reached, Russia,
Iran and Pakistan Intransigence Notwithstanding

Ref: A) 09 UNVIE 0187, B) UNVIE 0034, C) UNVIE 0035


1. (U) The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Working Group (WG) engaged
in three days of often fruitful discussion and emerged with nearly
fifty recommendations that will be forwarded to the Organized Crime
Convention (UNTOC) Conference of the Parties (COP) in October 2010.
The U.S. delegation (USDEL) was pleased to learn of ten new
signatories to the TIP Protocol since October 2008, and took note
that the problematic "Global Plan of Action" was mentioned only by
its main proponents, Belarus and Russia. More disturbing, Russia,
Iran, and Pakistan, along with China and Algeria, working together,
were able to block consensus on a number of issues. The finalized
recommendations, along with those negotiated in April 2009, will
surely be re-negotiated at the October COP, and UNVIE will continue
its dual track of diplomacy-building coalitions with like-minded
countries while also reaching out to the few who remain hesitant.

Expert Working Group
Surprisingly Constructive

2. (U) The TIP WG was created by the COP in order to provide
recommendations on how better to implement the TIP Protocol. The
group met previously in April 2009 (Ref A), and it has proven a good
barometer to measure the support for a variety of TIP-related

3. (U) This year, the WG's three-day agenda was ambitious in scope.
For the first two days, the WG engaged in a surprisingly
constructive discussion on issues ranging from non-punishment and
prosecution of victims to best practices for discouraging demand for
trafficked goods and services. Of note, the expert group agreed
that movement or transportation was not required for TIP to occur.
On a number of occasions, it was clear that a productive
"back-and-forth" discussion was occurring, and delegations were as
interested in learning from others' experiences as they were in
advancing their own national policies. (Note. USDEL member John
Richmond from the Department of Justice served as a panelist on the
topic of non-punishment and prosecution of victims and gave a
presentation drawing on his practical experience prosecuting TIP
cases. By the end of the session it was clear that other
delegations viewed Richmond as one of the room's top experts on the
issue. End Note.)

Iran, Russia, Pakistan and
China Play Disruptive Role

4. (U) Nevertheless, by the end of the second day, when the prospect
of negotiating recommendations loomed, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and
at times China and Algeria, also, reverted to the obstructionist
behavior we have encountered elsewhere in Vienna (Ref C). Iran
stated it would not accept any recommendation that called for the
absolution of TIP victims of their crimes. "Prostitution is a
serious crime in my country, and it should have serious
consequences," the delegate warned. While the prostituted person's
status as a victim might be taken into account by the judge, he
continued, Iran opposed the idea that a prostitute should not be

5. (SBU) Russia objected on a number of fronts. Like Iran, Russia
was adamantly opposed to admitting to a "principle" of
"non-punishment or prosecution," of victims, and objected to the
very use of those terms. Reflecting concerns related to the broader
debate over possible UNTOC review mechanisms, Russia raised a
question as to whether the TIP protocol applied, necessarily, to
purely domestic trafficking cases. Other delegates did not agree
with this interpretation, as Article 34 of UNTOC (which governs TIP
Protocol implementation) makes clear that trafficking shall be
established in the domestic law of State Parties "independently of
the transnational nature" of the crime. After the USDEL invited the
Russian delegation aside to further discuss this issue, the Russian
delegation backed off this position. The Russian representative
explained that Russia's true concern was that if the scope of the
TIP Protocol covered purely domestic trafficking, then a review
mechanism could theoretically be confined to examine only domestic
counter TIP activities and Russia would support such an approach.

The Russian representative conceded, however, that domestic
trafficking (i.e., that which does not involve crossing a border)
had to be criminalized under UNTOC and the TIP Protocol. But,
Russia, along with Iran and Pakistan and Algeria, continued its
opposition to any mention of a review mechanism set up in
coordination with the UNTOC to assist member states in evaluating
and improving convention and Protocol implementation. (Ref B).

6. (U) Pakistan associated itself almost mechanically with any
objection or position raised by Russia or Iran. However, Pakistan
also aggressively opposed any recommendation regarding providing
victim care regardless of victims' cooperation with law enforcement
and prosecutors. Pakistan felt it essential that care for a victim
be made conditional on cooperation with prosecution. Again, after
private discussions with the USDEL, Pakistan backed off its
inflexible stance, and joined consensus on compromise language,
crafted by USDEL and formally proposed by Argentina.

7. (U) On the issue of non-punishment and prosecution, the WG
finally adopted a recommendation that simply reaffirmed the April
2009 position. While admitting the WG's failure to move beyond the
earlier position, the WG also grudgingly acknowledged that without
Iranian, Pakistani and Russian agreement it could go no further.
(Note. The Iranian representative regretted he had even agreed to
the April 2009 recommendation in the first place, attributing his
actions to the fact that he had only "just arrived" in Vienna and
had been told to "just go along with everybody else." Not
surprisingly, Iran had earlier in the week (unsuccessfully) tried to
reopen the 2009 recommendations. UNVIE expects Iran to be similarly
obstructive and reject or otherwise condition this year's
recommendations, despite the fact that Iran joined consensus in the
WG on the issue. End note.)

8. (U) The WG was similarly constrained by Russia, Pakistan, and
Iran, and also Algeria and China, on the issue of a review
mechanism. In the end, the WG simply adopted the language adopted
by the UNTOC Working Group on Review of Implementation. (Ref B).

USDEL Encouraged By Evidence of
Wide-Spread Consensus

9. (U) Despite the limitations caused by the problematic
delegations, the USDEL was pleased to see unanimous support on a
variety of U.S. priority topics. The USDEL found quick and
enthusiastic support for its recommendation that parties use the
Protocol to better implement plea bargaining strategies, as well as
for its clarification that a trafficking offense can occur by just
harboring or receiving victims, even absent transportation of those
victims. The WG also quickly agreed to the USDEL's proposal that
member states recognize the important work of civil society and
integrate them into strategies to prevent TIP and care for victims.
However, on this and other civil society-related recommendations,
China was careful to condition the language and keep the WG from
actually adopting a position advocating closer civil
society-government links and coordination.

Mexico to Roll Out Blue
Heart Campaign in April

10. (U) Mexico, along with UNODC, rolled out its endorsement of the
Blue Heart campaign. Mexico announced that its President would
launch the campaign, which is designed to raise awareness of human
trafficking to the general population, in mid-April. UNODC
officials privately expressed hope that the U.S. ambassador would

UNODC Briefs WG on Tools to
Fight Trafficking and
Implement Protocol

11. (U) The UNODC Secretariat also rolled out many of the training
materials and publications it has developed for Protocol
implementation assistance. These include the International
Framework for Action, the Anti-Human Trafficking Manual for Criminal
Justice Practitioners, and the Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in
Persons. UNODC also provided an update on Interagency Cooperation
Group Against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) activities.

New Signatories to
Protocol Announced

12. (U) The UNODC Secretariat announced that since the October 2008
COP, eleven more States had acceded to the Protocol: Chad,
Indonesia, Jordan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Qatar, Syria, Timor-Leste,
Togo, and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Those accessions brought the
total number of States parties to the Protocol to 135. In addition,
the Pakistan delegation informed the USDEL that Pakistan had
recently signed the TIP protocol and the government is on track for

No Action on the Global
Plan of Action

13. (U) The proposed Global Plan of Action was discussed a few times
in the WG, but the overall relative lack of enthusiasm for this
discussion was quite apparent. Only the Plan's main proponents,
Belarus and Russia, raised the issue. Belarus and Russia both spoke
of the need for a coordinated and comprehensive tool that would
bring together what they see as the various anti-trafficking tools
that currently exist but which form, in their view, at best a
fragmented and incoherent framework. The general sentiment was that
the continuing disconnect between national delegations in New York
and Vienna prevents real discussion among experts in Vienna on the


14. (U) Despite the strong and sometimes discordant positions of
Iran, Russia and Pakistan, the WG resulted in widespread consensus
on almost every topic, evidenced by nearly fifty recommendations to
be forwarded to the October 2010 COP. It will be a challenge to
turn many of these recommendations into action, but UNVIE will
continue to build on the diverse and promising coalition found in
Vienna (and reach out to Russia, Pakistan, China, and Algeria) to
leverage as much agreement as possible in time for the October COP.
End comment.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: Bachelet Alarmed By Number Of Palestinian Children Killed In Latest Escalation

UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet today expressed alarm at the high number of Palestinians, including children, killed and injured in the occupied Palestinian territory this year, including in intense hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza last weekend... More>>

Save The Children: One Year Under Taliban Rule, Girls Are More Isolated, Hungry, Sad: New Report
One year since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, an economic crisis, crippling drought and new restrictions have shattered girls’ lives, excluding them from society and leaving them hungry...

Palestinian Ministry of Health: Developments In The Health Situation During The Israeli Aggression On The Cities & Governorates Of The Gaza Strip
For the second day in a row, the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip continues by targeting overcrowded residential areas and neighborhoods, as the death toll rose to 13 citizens, including a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman... More>>

Somalia: ‘We Cannot Wait For Famine To Be Declared; We Must Act Now’
Rising acute food insecurity in Somalia has caused more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned... More>>

UN: American West Faces Water And Power Shortages Due To Climate Crisis
Two of the largest reservoirs in the United States are at dangerously low levels due to the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, which could affect water and electricity supply for millions in six western states and Mexico, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Tuesday... More>>

Singapore: UN Experts Call For Immediate Moratorium On Executions For Drug Offences

UN experts* today condemned the execution of Nazeri Bin Lajim, a 64-year-old Malay Singaporean national convicted of drug offenses and urged the Government of Singapore to halt plans to execute individuals on death row for drug related charges... More>>