Sep 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/06/07MANILA1924.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1924
2007-06-08 00:50
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO9282
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1924/01 1590050
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 080050Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6895
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHAB/AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN IMMEDIATE 4547
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJB/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001924

SIPDIS

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! C O R R E C T I O N !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PLS IGNORE MANILA 1924 ALL SECTIONS RETRANSMITTED IN ERROR THKS

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP, G/TIP, INL/AAE, DRL
LABOR FOR ILAB
PASS TO USAID/AAE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM KWMN ELAB PHUM RP
SUBJECT: FIGHTING TRAFFICKING FROM MANILA TO ABIDJAN AND
BACK — A SUCCESS STORY

REF: MANILA 788

MANILA 00001924 001.2 OF 002

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The collaborative efforts of international
organizations, the Philippine NGO Visayan Forum Foundation
(VFF), and the USG led to the rescue of four Filipino
trafficking victims in Abidjan and their return to Manila
earlier this year. This successful operation demonstrates
the abilities and readiness in particular of Philippine NGOs
to coordinate with governments and international
organizations to provide immediate assistance to trafficked
Filipino victims. VFF and its partner NGOs have also
coordinated with Philippine law enforcement agencies to file
charges against the alleged recruiters and traffickers in
this case. End Summary.

——————————–
THE LONG TENTACLES OF TRAFFICKING
——————————–

¶2. (SBU) The majority of Filipino trafficking victims go to
Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, and other destinations within
Asia. However, there is increasing evidence that trafficking
to the Middle East and even parts of Africa is becoming more
prevalent. In a recent case, a female recruiter in Cavite
(south of Metro Manila) approached several women about
employment opportunities as waitresses in France. The
recruiter promised a monthly salary of 17,000 Philippine
pesos (approximately USD 350) and assured them they would not
“work outside” (a euphemism for prostitution). Lured by
these false promises, the four women acquired passports and
the recruiter obtained their visas — which turned out to be
not for France but for Cote d’Ivoire.

¶3. (SBU) The women, including one 17-year old, departed
Manila in two groups, escorted by a Filipino male who handled
their check-in procedures at the airport, as well as all
other travel details. Some of the victims later told poloff
that they did not realize that Abidjan, the city listed on
their plane tickets, was not in France. Upon arrival in
Abidjan, a Filipina and her Taiwanese partner met them and
escorted them to a bar/club that the couple owned in the
Abidjan neighborhood of Treichville. The Filipina “mama-san”
(the bar owner), whom the victims later described as herself
a former trafficked victim, then informed them that they
would not receive the promised salaries until after they had
paid off the large debts owed for their travel and escort
fees (which amounted to more than USD $2500). The bar owners
even refused to provide food because of the so-called
“debts.” The victims reluctantly began their work as
prostitutes in the Treichville bar, earning only tips to
support themselves.

¶4. (SBU) In January, a regular customer (a French national)
of one of the women agreed to help her to return to the
Philippines. He anonymously contacted Anti-Slavery
International (ASI) in London, which coordinated the women’s
rescue with Interpol and the Philippine-based Visayan Forum
Foundation (VFF). (Note: ASI had in 2005 awarded VFF
Executive Director Cecilia Flores-Oebanda with its
Anti-Slavery Award for her advocacy on behalf of trafficking
victims. End note.) ASI also contacted the State
Department’s Trafficking in Persons Office (G/TIP).

¶5. (SBU) Interpol led the rescue operation on February 22,
and then sheltered the women in a facility in Abidjan until
their March 9 return to Manila, where they received
assistance and counseling services at one of VFF’s
USG-supported facilities. The victims said that they
believed Ivorian authorities had arrested the bar owners.

——————————-
PURSUING JUSTICE IN MANILA, TOO
——————————-

¶6. (SBU) The victims remain at the VFF safehouse. Attorneys
from the NGOs International Justice Mission (also a USG
grantee) and the Child Justice League, in coordination with
VFF, are providing legal guidance to the victims and will
likely represent the victims during future judicial
proceedings in Manila against the recruiters and possibly
even against the Abidjan-based Philippine citizen. These

MANILA 00001924 002 OF 002

NGOs have also coordinated the case with the Philippine
Department of Justice’s Task Force Against Trafficking in
Persons. However, the victims have expressed concern that
the traffickers’ accomplices in the Philippines are harassing
and threatening their families, in an attempt to convince the
victims to withdraw their complaints.

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶7. (SBU) Despite the proactive efforts of Philippine NGOs and
the Philippine government against TIP, traffickers are still
able to recruit and exploit victims in the Philippines as
part of a worldwide web of injustice. This successful
rescue operation demonstrates the abilities and readiness in
particular of Philippine NGOs to coordinate with governments
and international organizations to provide immediate
assistance to trafficked Filipino victims. Despite the
usually slow Philippine justice system, Philippine NGO
caseworkers are optimistic about eventually successful
prosecutions under the 2003 Anti-TIP Law, although there are
still some unresolved legal issues about prosecution in the
Philippines of cases dealing with exploitation in another
country.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

KENNEY

   

 

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