Wikileaks - CCLIV

Tuesday, 06 September, Year 3 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu







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1. (SBU) Summary: The most significant trafficking development in Ireland in 2005 was an increase in government attention to the problem. The government formed a working group between the Department of Justice and the police and wrote legislation bringing Ireland into conformity with UN and EU regulations, which parliament likely will act on in 2006 The police launched several new investigations. These operations include: Operation Quest II to investigate brothels, Operation Hotel to coordinate action on trafficking on a nationwide basis, Operation Poppy to investigate the use of falsified Irish passports for trafficking and smuggling, and Operation Pentameter, a British operation the Irish agreed to join. The police also continued to train their officers about trafficking, including those in more rural areas. Public awarenes of the problem also grew as parliament held a major hearing on the issue, and media attention increased.

Growing attention to trafficking accompanies Ireland's increasing awareness that its new wealth has brought significant demographic changes and new social problems. Once a poor nation characterized by large scale emigration, Ireland is now economically prosperous and an attractive destination for thousands of asylum and employment seekers. The unprecedented flow of people into Ireland has prompted the government to address issues relating to border control, residency rights, labor standards, and social inclusion.

There are no agreed figures on the number of trafficking cases in Ireland in 2005, and the difficulty of counting was a focus of the parliamentary hearing. The number of cases under police investigation i in the single digits. NGOs estimate that the actual number of cases might be slightly higher, with estimates ranging from 14 ) 20. One NGO uses the looser definition of "presumed trafficking" and estimates the number of cases to be about 35 per year ("70 in the last two years" is the figure this NGO used in parliament.) NGOs are concerned with two shifts in the sex industry in the last decade: the increase of non-national women, who they believe are more easily exploited, and the increasing tendency to move the sex trade off the streets and behind closed doors where it is harder to detect. With that in mind, the police launched Operation Quest 2 in 2005 with a focus on brothels.

2. (SBU) Post has engaged the Irish Government at the highest levels t stress Ireland's role in fighting European and global trafficking. We also have urged the government to develop a national action plan, and t promote awareness through media campaigns. The Ambassador, DCM, POL/ECON chief, and embassy political and economic officers discussed trafficking with the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Justice, the Health Service Executive, the Immigration Bureau, and local police as well as numerous NGOs. Post will continue to urge the GOI and NGOs to improve cooperation to identify, assess, and prosecute cases of trafficking. End Summary.

3. (SBU) The following items are keyed off reftel. Overview of a country's activities to eliminate trafficking in persons:
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-- A. Is the country a country of origin, transit, or destination for international trafficked men, women, or children? Specify numbers for each group; how they were trafficked, to where, and for what purpose. Does the trafficking occur within the country's borders? Does it occur in territory outside of the government's control (e.g. in a civil war situation)? Are any estimates or reliable numbers available as to the extent or magnitude of the problem? Please include any numbers of victims. What is (are) the source(s) of available information on trafficking in persons or what plans are in place (if any) to undertake documentation of trafficking? How reliable are the numbers and these sources? Are certain groups of persons more at risk of being trafficked (e.g. women and children, boys versus girls, certain ethnic groups, refugees, etc.)?

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While there are no official estimates of the numbers of trafficking victims in Ireland, there are indicators and anecdotal evidence that Ireland might be a country of limited destination and transit for international trafficking victims. NGO estimates of actual trafficking cases vary between about 14 and 20. In July, Ruhama, an NGO working wit victims, released its 2003-2004 biennial report on trafficking. It said that its case workers had met 70 women it "presumed" to have been trafficked during the two-year period of the report. According to Ruhama, most of their victims are identified as young women between 18 and 25 years of age. Ruhama reports that in identifying those most at risk of being trafficked, it looks for the following indicators: fear, evidence of control, recent arrival from Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America or Asia, lack of English skills, signs of bruising or battering They said to parliament that some of the women they count as "presumed trafficked" are women they know well; others are women with whom they have had limited contact. Other indicators of concern to NGOs and the Health Service Executive are situations of young women and minors with no English skills or social contacts in Ireland provided with mobile phones, unexplained money or clothes or directions to mysterious drop-off points for taxis. Ruhama believes that trafficking in Ireland is a more serious problem than senior government officials recognize.

Government officials work closely with Ruhama on the ground, but disagree with Ruhama's numbers, in part because of Ruhama's counting methodology. Police point to the results of Operation Quest (see our 2004 report), which they launched explicitly because of allegations of trafficking in the lap dancing industry. They found no evidence either when they ran the operation initially or when they ran a second series of raids on lap dancing clubs in September 2005, interviewing another 7 women. The women were interviewed under protected conditions and with interpreters. All claimed to be working in such clubs by choice. Many remained in contact with police subsequently, but none alleged trafficking. Police say that in addition to the operations and investigations they run, they look into every case NGOs bring to their attention and investigate any allegations of trafficking that they see in the media. Understanding that some of the women who turn to NGOs might be unwilling to pursue a legal case, the police have asked NGOs to encourage the women to at least talk to the police on an informal basis so that police can learn more about the situation. In 2005, Operation Quest 2 began. This ongoing investigation is focused on brothels. Since August, Operation Quest police raided 12 brothels in Dublin and, according to press reports, are preparing "a number of cases" for prosecution.

In 2004, the national police (Garda) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) issued a joint report on organized crime throughout the island (the Republic of Ireland and the UK area of Northern Ireland) with results of their investigation into trafficking. The police services concluded that there is no indication of a present danger of human trafficking, but there are clear indications of smuggling, most typically from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland, and violations of labor and immigration law.

In regards to trafficking for labor exploitation, the Migrant Rights Center of Ireland says that it has no concrete numbers, but sees non-nationals from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Ukraine, and Moldova on a weekly basis who may be trafficking victims. It is uncertain if such victims were trafficked or if their employers are guilty of non-trafficking labor violations.

In February, an official with the Health Services Executive (HSE) commented on a recent trend in relation to suspicions of trafficking of children. According to her, since October, eight Romanian minors, who entered Ireland on late or weekend flights and were referred to the HSE disappeared before the HSE could provide social services to them. Typically, in such cases, HSE suspects smuggling for the purposes of family reunification. However, simultaneously, the HSE has noticed a

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similar pattern of unaccompanied Somali children entering Ireland. In a interview with one of the children, the HSE learned that the child's parents paid for him to enter Ireland for the purpose of underage labor

-- B. Please provide a general overview of the trafficking situation in the country and any changes since the last TIP Report (e.g. changes in direction). Also briefly explain the political will to address trafficking in persons. Other items to address may include: What kind of conditions are the victims trafficked into? Which populations are targeted by the traffickers? Who are the traffickers? What methods ar used to approach victims? (Are they offered lucrative jobs, sold by their families, approached by friends of friends, etc.?) What methods are used to move the victims (e.g., are false documents being used?).

Police and NGOs report little change in the trafficking situation in 2005 as compared to 2004. They confirm that the women they talked to during Operation Quest tended to be on a European circuit. Those from new EU states can enter without a visa. Police believe many enter from Northern Ireland and stay in one location for six to nine months before circulating to another European country. When interviewed, they indicated that they traveled voluntarily. To a lesser extent, people travel from Africa, South America and Asia. The traffickers are presumed to be agents who facilitate the movement of the victims, and arrange for their employment and accommodation in brothels. The traffickers, or pimps, also reportedly solicit clients via text and voice mobile phone contacts and the use of the Internet. Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) officials suspect some use of fraudulent documentation in cases involving victims from West Africa and non-EU East European nations.

-- C. What are the limitations on the government's ability to address this problem in practice? For example, is funding for police or other institutions inadequate? Is overall corruption a problem? Does the government lack the resources to aid victims?

Immigration into Ireland, including illegal immigration, is a relativel new phenomenon, so the government has only recently put into place the necessary staff, resources, and procedures to deal with this increased flow. Beyond basic budgetary concerns, there is no unique limitation of resources to address trafficking. Irish police and border authorities are competent and well-run. Various sources from government to non-governmental officials report that the legislation needs to be updated. Current law does not clearly define trafficking but rather merges trafficking and smuggling. This complicates efforts to count trafficking cases. Moreover, the law was drafted with smuggling in mind According to the GOI, new legislation has been drafted that will bring Ireland into conformity with UN, EU and COE regulations, and give police more precise legal tools. GOI officials say it likely will be introduced to parliament in 2006.

-- D. To what extent does the government systematically monitor its anti-trafficking efforts (on all fronts -- prosecution, prevention and victim protection) and periodically make available, publicly or privately and directly or through regional/international organizations, its assessments of these anti-trafficking efforts?

The government describes its efforts to monitor trafficking as many faceted. It is actively engaged in international organizations dealing with trafficking, including the UN, EU, and OSCE; works bilaterally wit countries that are transit or source countries of the sex industry; and works closely with Irish NGOs. The GNIB works under the Irish National Police but carries out its immigration functions on behalf of the Minister of Justice. This system ensures a sharing of information among immigration policy makers, immigration officers, and national police. A GNIB representative, in addition to representing Ireland at the EU Border Agency in Warsaw, participates in an information-sharing forum of NGOs working to combat trafficking and to deter violence against women. The government does not specifically track, and

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therefore does not publish, trafficking statistics. In October, at Post's suggestion, the government established an anti-trafficking working group. This group includes officials from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, and the police.

-- A. Does the government acknowledge that trafficking is a problem in that country? If no, why not?

The Irish Government acknowledges that there is anecdotal information about Ireland as a possible destination and transit country for trafficking. It has not found evidence that the problem presently exists in any measurable scale. It actively investigates allegations of trafficking.

-- B. Which government agencies are involved in anti- trafficking efforts and which agency, if any, has the lead?

Agencies of the Irish National Police (Garda) are primarily responsible for operational anti-trafficking efforts. The Department of Justice creates trafficking legislation and provides support to the police. The Garda National Immigration Bureau is responsible for all matters pertaining to immigration. Within the National Support Services, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation has responsibility for investigations of trafficking in human beings.

In conjunction with the GNIB, the Departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs participate in regional and international conferences on trafficking. The Department of Foreign Affairs also is engaged through development assistance, EU, COE and OSCE obligations, and the co-sponsorship of resolutions at the UN and UNHCR.

-- C. Are there, or have there been, government-run anti- trafficking information or education campaigns? If so, briefly describe the campaign(s), including their objectives and effectiveness. Do these campaigns target potential trafficking victims and/or the demand for trafficking (e.g. "clients" of prostitutes or beneficiaries of forced labor).

In February 2006, the Irish government announced that it would join the UK's Operation Pentameter, a law enforcement effort that targets organized criminal gangs that are involved in trafficking. One part of the operation will be a poster campaign in different languages designed to encourage the victims of sex trafficking to call a help-line. The effort will also request men who use prostitutes to report, on a confidential basis, if they come across women they believe

SIPDIS are being held against their will.

This a welcome first step, and Embassy officials continue to urge the government to launch a concerted public information campaign against trafficking, citing the government's effective public information campaigns against drunk driving and HIV/AIDS as good examples. In September 2004, the Irish Department of Justice and the national police launched a website,, dedicated to locating missing children, most of whom are non-nationals and arrived in Ireland as unaccompanied minors seeking asylum. The main police website,, also provides a list of missing individuals, most of whom are non-national, young and otherwise vulnerable for trafficking.

Recently, one of the Ruhama staff members moved from her position as a case worker with prostitutes to full time media work. Her new task is t increase the awareness of the issue of trafficking in Ireland. She actively campaigns against lap- dancing clubs and conducts interviews through a variety of media outlets. Her campaign has resulted in the increase of trafficking awareness in Ireland. Police say they actively

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investigate allegations made in the media.

-- D. Does the government support other programs to prevent trafficking (e.g., to promote women's participation in economic decision-making or efforts to keep children in school.) Please explain.

In 2005, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) organized a training conference on trafficking in Dublin which brought together representatives of border guards, customs officials and immigration liaison officers from 13 European countries as well as Irish officials. One of the key speakers of at this conference was an official with the government's Health Service Executive, head of the Unaccompanied Minors Section, who spoke on the "Identification and Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking." She also traveled to Nigeria on an IOM-funded trip to discuss trafficking with Nigerian government officials.

The Irish Government co-funds IOM's "Return and Reintegration" program, which is designed to reunite families divided by migration. The Garda established a Garda Racial and Intercultural Office to train the police to effectively interact with the new minorities that have immigrated to Ireland in recent years. The training focuses on gaining the trust of minority communities and encouraging community members to approach the police and report crime.

The UNHCR's representative in Ireland recently cited "Ireland's leadership during the recent OSCE expert meeting on trafficking and child victims" and said this "is an indication of how the issue is seen as a growing concern and how Ireland is willing to be at the forefront in examining and trying to address it."

-- E. What is the relationship between government officials, NGOs, othe relevant organizations and other elements of civil society on the trafficking issue?

All NGOs report excellent working relationships with the police and the government, with whom they deal on a regular basis. Police and Immigration officials regularly refer potential victims of trafficking to various NGOs. NGOs, while desiring more comprehensive legislation, strongly commend the initiative of individual law enforcement and government officials, and salute cooperation with the government, especially at the operational level. Most NGOs felt that the governmen would not take more action unless trafficking became more prevalent and public concern grew. All NGOs agreed the government should provide more victim support to trafficking victims and more support and supervision for unaccompanied minors.

The Immigration Division of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform works closely with the GNIB to combat illegal immigration. To facilitate the tracking of potential victims, the GNIB shares its immigration database with local police precincts and a UK immigration official posted to the GNIB headquarters. Cooperation and coordination with NGOs takes place through direct contacts between the Irish government and the relevant NGOs. Ireland en Route (IER) is a loose network of government agencies, NGOs, academics and other experts who meet three times per year to communicate on topics such as training for police, EU and domestic legislation, best practices and other trafficking issues. It is not a national action plan or task force, but does facilitate the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts.

The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform consulted widely wit transportation companies prior to the introduction of legal sanctions i the Immigration Act, 2003. This Act followed the 2001 creation of a voluntary Code of Practice with the Irish Road Haulage Association to encourage greater vigilance in ensuring that covert passengers were not present in vehicles arriving in Ireland.

-- F. Does it monitor immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking? Do law enforcement agencies screen for potential

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trafficking victims along borders?

Yes, the government monitors its borders and immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking, and law enforcement agencies respond appropriately to such evidence. Immigration officers are presen at all air and seaports within the state. In 2003, a new information technology system equipped with a passport reader and facial recognitio technology was introduced to allow immigration officers at the border t link-up with a database at GNIB headquarters in Dublin. Immigration officials also take fingerprints of most visitors entering the country who have entry visas. Ireland has a land border with Northern Ireland that is difficult to monitor due to numerous unmanned crossing points, and police on both sides of the border say this is the predominant crossing point for illegal immigrants. An estimated 12,000 illegal movements take place at the border with Northern Ireland every year. Immigration officers from the GNIB and from local districts monitor certain crossing points periodically.

-- G. Is there a mechanism for coordination and communication between various agencies, internal, international, and multilateral on trafficking-related matters, such as a multi- agency working group or a task force? Does the government have a trafficking in persons working group or single point of contact? Does the government have a public corruption task force?

Ireland's international and multilateral coordination on trafficking occurs primarily through its participation in the EU, UN, OSCE, and COE The Department of Foreign Affairs has the lead, and coordinates Ireland's participation with all relevant ministries. Internally, there are several coordination mechanisms, some formal and others informal. In 2005, the government named an official in the Department of Justice to lead a working group, bringing together all offices in DoJ and the police with a role in countering trafficking. Operation Hotel, launched in 2005, is designed to improve nationwide law enforcement cooperation on trafficking. De facto law enforcement coordination exists as a resul of the multiple functions of the GNIB. The GNIB works under the direction of the Garda, but its immigration function is carried out on behalf of the Minister of Justice. This ensures constant contact between immigration policy makers, immigration police and regular police. At the policy level, officials from different agencies coordinate their actions on an as-needed basis.

-- H. Does the government have a national plan of action to address trafficking in persons? If so, which agencies were involved in developing it? Were NGOs consulted in the process? What steps has the government taken to disseminate the action plan?

The government does not currently have a plan exclusively to address trafficking.

For questions A-D, posts should highlight in particular whether or not the country has enacted any new legislation since the last TIP report.

-- A. Does the country have a law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons--both trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking fo non-sexual purposes (e.g. forced labor)? If so, what is the law? Does the law(s) cover both internal an external (transnational) forms of trafficking? If not, under what other laws can traffickers be prosecuted? For example, are there laws against slavery or the exploitation of prostitution by means of coercion or fraud? Are these other laws being used in trafficking cases? Are these laws, taken together, adequate to cover the full scope of trafficking in persons? Please provide a full inventory of trafficking laws, including civil penalties, (e.g., civil forfeiture laws and laws against illegal debt).

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There are presently five Laws that deal with trafficking in persons - The Immigration Act 2003, The Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act, 2000, The Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998, The Proceeds of Crime Act, 1996 and The Criminal Law (Sexual Offenses) Act of 1993. Under current Irish law, "trafficking" encompasses both smuggling and trafficking.

The Immigration Act requires carriers operating aircraft, ferries, or other vehicles bringing persons to Ireland from any area except the Common Travel area between Ireland and the UK, to ensure that those passengers are in possession of the necessary immigration documentation The Act provides for a fine for passengers traveling with inadequate documentation.

In addition, the Act requires Government Departments, local authorities health boards, the police, and the Refugee Applications determination bodies to share information on non-nationals, including applicants for refugee status, in order to ensure compliance with laws relating to their entry, residence, and removal from the State.

The Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act, 2000 made it an offense for a person to organize or knowingly facilitate the entry into the State of person whom he knows to be, or has reasonable cause to believe to be, a illegal immigrant or person who intends to seek asylum. While this law more correctly describes smuggling, a trafficker would also be subject to this law. Section 2 of this Act would apply most readily to traffickers, as it specifically prohibits bringing in illegal immigrant for the financial gain of those facilitating the entry. The penalty on conviction of indictment for this offense is an unlimited fine, or up t 10 years imprisonment, or both. The penalty for a guilt plea, however, is a maximum of 12 months incarceration and a fine not to exceed euro 1,500.

The Child Trafficking and Pornography Act makes it an offense, inter alia, to organize or knowingly facilitate the entry into, transit -- not appear to have any chance of challenging Uribe for President. Former Bogota mayors Enrique Penalosa and Antanus Mockus were also major losers, as both individuals' eponymous parties failed to reach the vote threshold to attain seats in the Senate.

7. (C) The PCC will control roughly 18 percent of the Senate and 16 percent of the House. While the party is publicly pro-Uribe, it has not supported numerous GOC Congressional initiatives during the Uribe Administration, particularly on fiscal issues. Uribe II might continue to face resistance on related issues. Meanwhile, Uribe and CR leader Vargas Lleras maintain an often tense relationship, and the latter's loyalty to Uribe may wane somewhat after May 28. Vargas Lleras clearly has his sights on the Presidency in 2010 and may attempt to move more into his own limelight.

8. (C) We will continue to study and report on the complicated issue of how the voting numbers reveal the electoral strength of the paramilitaries. Four parties often associated with paramilitary interests -- Citizen Convergence, Colombia Alive, Democratic Colombia, and Let Moreno Play -- attained on the order of 1.2 million Senate votes. Four of the five sitting members of Congress expelled from the U and CR parties in January attained seats in Congress. However, the three most publicly pro-paramilitary members of Congress -- Carlos Moreno de Caro, Rocio Arias, and Eleonora Pineda -- lost their seats.

9. (C) An Uribe II Administration will count on the necessary majorities to pass the FTA in Congress, in spite of considerable public skepticism. In a similar vein, with Uribe and the leading pro-Uribe parties publicly advocating the importance of the U.S. extradition relationship, we foresee little danger of modification of the Constitution to prohibit extradition, something members of Congress sympathetic to the paramilitaries have occasionally threatened.


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