Wikileaks - DCLXXII

Sunday, 04 September, Year 3 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu






REF: 2006 STATE 202745

20. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 29, section G of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: Is there any information or reports of who is behind the trafficking? For example, are the traffickers freelance operators, small crime groups, and/or large international organized crime syndicates?

ANSWER: Hotline reported that there has always been an organized criminal element in trafficking in Israel, and that they saw the field increasingly dominated by sophisticated organized criminal groups as participation by "regular" people (truck drivers, day laborers etc.) that had been active in the past, declined in the reporting period. Isha L'Isha said that freelance operators, small crimes groups and international organized crime elements were all involved.

QUESTION 2: Are employment, travel, and tourism agencies or marriage brokers fronting for traffickers or crime groups to traffic individuals?

ANSWER: Hotline reported that manpower companies and employers are involved in bringing migrants for the purpose of labor trafficking, in some cases individuals with ties to the source country such as foreign citizens who gained Israeli citizenship through marriage. Isha L'Isha reported that traffickers sometimes used travel agencies, fictional marriage firms, and reunions of family members to smuggle victims into the country. Hotline said that in some cases the job agency itself was directly responsible for the trafficking, in other cases the victim's employer took advantage of their position to extort money out of the migrant workers. In some cases, according to Hotline, the victims were brought over via tourist agencies that were fronts for trafficking.

QUESTION 3: Are government officials involved?

ANSWER: A February 15, 2007 media report said that a senior inspector at the Ministry of Labor, Mordechai Abarjil, was placed on house arrest under the suspicion of taking bribes and spreading inside information to manpower agencies. A February 21, 2007 media report said that two police officers with the Immigration Police were accused of working with the criminal organization Hariri-Itam by passing intelligence information, giving information on investigation, alerting before police raids, etc. No further information is available yet on these stories.

Kav LaOved reported that on August 27, 2006 it filed a complaint on behalf of a Romanian victim that alleged an official of the Ministry of Interior helped arranged fifteen migrant worker visas, and that most of them were fictitious. Kav LaOved said it specifically requested an investigation of this official, but that none was ever conducted.

QUESTION 4: Are there any reports of where profits from trafficking in persons are being channeled? (e.g. armed groups, terrorist organizations, judges, banks, etc.)

ANSWER: Unknown. Isha L'Isha said that no report linked prostitution with terrorist organizations, drug dealers or weapons trafficking.

21. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 29, section H of the instructions cable.

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QUESTION 1: Does the government actively investigate cases of trafficking? (Again, the focus should be on trafficking cases versus migrant smuggling cases.)

ANSWER: GOI input pending. Hotline said it did not know the exact methods used by the police to conduct investigations, but knew of cases of undercover police work and previously deported women brought back to Israel to give testimony.

QUESTION 2: Does the government use active investigative techniques in trafficking in persons investigations?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

QUESTION 3: To the extent possible under domestic law, are techniques such as electronic surveillance, undercover operations, and mitigated punishment or immunity for cooperating suspects used by the government?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

QUESTION 4: Does the criminal procedure code or other laws prohibit the police from engaging in covert operations?

ANSWER: GOI input pending. According to Hotline, Israeli legislation limits the ability of the police to engage in these activities, but does not prohibit it. Permission to uses electronic surveillance or conduct house searches requires a court order.

22. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 29, section I of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: Does the government provide any specialized training for government officials in how to recognize, investigate, and prosecute instances of trafficking?

ANSWER: The GOI coordinator reported that training programs were initiated to help authorities recognize trafficking. Hotline reported training to identify victims and legal aspects of trafficking for clerks at the Population Registry at the Ministry of the Interior. Hotline also reported they received a letter on November 26, 2006 that stated all investigators dealing in trafficking undergo two one-week training courses. Immigration Authority policemen and senior officials also attended lectures on the issue. Hotline said that policemen lacked proper training in several areas relating to sex trafficking.

(SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 29, section J of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: Does the government cooperate with other governments in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

QUESTION 2: If possible, can post provide the number of cooperative international investigations on trafficking?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

23. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 29, section K of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: Does the government extradite persons who are

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charged with trafficking in other countries?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

QUESTION 2: If so, can post provide the number of traffickers extradited?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

QUESTION 3: Does the government extradite its own nationals charged with such offenses?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

QUESTION 4: If not, is the government prohibited by law from extraditing its own nationals?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

QUESTION 5: If so, is the government doing anything to modify its laws to permit the extradition of its own nationals?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

24. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 29, section L of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: Is there evidence of government involvement in or tolerance of trafficking, on a local or institutional level? If so, please explain in detail.

ANSWER: Hotline reported that the government made serious efforts to combat sex trafficking. Hotline said the government was not directly involved in labor trafficking, but was "extremely tolerant" of it. According to Hotline, prior to recently enacted legislation there were no active investigations, complaints were not investigated properly, most cases were closed, and victims were not awarded any protection.

25. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 29, section M of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: If government officials are involved in trafficking, what steps has the government taken to end such participation?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

QUESTION 2: Have any government officials been prosecuted for involvement in trafficking or trafficking-related corruption?

ANSWER: None reported by NGOs. GOI input pending.

QUESTION 3: Have any been convicted?

ANSWER: None reported by NGOs. GOI input pending.

QUESTION 4: What sentence(s) was imposed? Please provide specific numbers, if available.

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

26. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 29, section N of the instructions cable.

TEL AVIV 00000700 004 OF 009

QUESTION 1: If the country has an identified sex tourism problem (as source or destination), how many foreign pedophiles has the government prosecuted or deported/extradited to their country of origin?


QUESTION 2: What are the countries of origin for sex tourists?


QUESTION 3: Do the country's child sexual abuse laws have extraterritorial coverage (similar to the U.S. PROTECT Act)?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

QUESTION 4: If so, how many of the country's nationals have been prosecuted and/or convicted under the extraterritorial provision(s)?

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

27. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 29, section O of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: Has the government signed, ratified, and/or taken steps to implement the following international instruments? Please provide the date of signature/ratification if appropriate.

ANSWER: GOI input pending.

-- ILO Convention 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor.

The government ratified ILO Convention 182 on December 16, 2004.

-- ILO Convention 29 and 105 on Forced or Compulsory Labor.

The government ratified these conventions on July 7, 1955 and April 10, 1958, respectively.

-- The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography.

The government signed this protocol on November 14, 2001, but to the best of our knowledge has not ratified the conventions. GOI input pending.

-- The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.

The government ratified the Convention in December 27, 2006, and is working to ratify the Protocol.
28. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 30, section A of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: Does the government assist victims, for example,

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by providing temporary to permanent residency status, relief from deportation, shelter and access to legal, medical and psychological services? If so, please explain.

ANSWER: The government provides these services, but the scope varies with different groups. Victims of trafficking for prostitution generally receive all of these services, while victims of labor trafficking receive only access to legal services. The lack of temporary shelter for victims of labor trafficking is especially acute. Awaiting verification as to whether permanent residency status could be granted, but to the best of our knowledge it has not gratned to date.

QUESTION 2: Does the country have victim care and victim health care facilities?

ANSWER: Yes. However, NGOs reported that the facilities were inadequate for the number of victims, and that the government often employed alternative solutions -- such as placement in kibbutzim - and on numerous occasions asked the NGOs if they could house the victims.

QUESTION 3: Does the country have facilities dedicated to helping victims of trafficking? If so, can post provide the number of victims placed in these care facilities?

ANSWER: Yes. Ma'agan Shelter can house up 50 women, and Isha L'Isha said that is sufficient for the current number of trafficking victims, although Isha L'Isha would prefer several smaller facilties located at various points around Israel rather than one large shelter for the entire country. Awaiting input on cuurent number of women housed in the shelter. Victims of labor trafficking do not have a facility, and NGOs report that finding temporary housing for them is an an ad hoc and often difficult process.

29. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 30, section B of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: Does the government provide funding or other forms of support to foreign or domestic NGOs for services to victims? Please explain.

ANSWER: No, according to NGOs. GOI input pending.

30. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 30, section C of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: Do the government's law enforcement and social services personnel have a formal system of identifying victims of trafficking among high-risk persons with whom they come in contact (e.g. foreign persons arrested for prostitution or immigration violations)?

ANSWER: GOI input pending. Isha L'Isha reported that the government has semi-formal training that needs improvement.

QUESTION 2: Is there a referral process in place, when appropriate, to transfer victims detained, arrested or placed in protective custody by law enforcement authorities to NGO's that provide short- or long-term care?

ANSWER: GOI input pending. Isha L'Isha reported no, that victims who are in the care of the NGOs were not referred to them by any established, official process.

31. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 30, section D of the instructions cable.

TEL AVIV 00000700 006 OF 009

QUESTION 1: Are the rights of the victims respected, or are victims treated as criminals?

ANSWER: Isha L'Isha said that victims' rights are usually respected. According to Hotline, women trafficked for prostitution were increasingly treated by authorities both as victims with special needs and with greater sensitivity. Hotline reported that labor trafficking victims were treated as illegal aliens.

QUESTION 2: Are victims detained, jailed, or deported?

ANSWER: GOI input pending. Hotline reported that a few women were detained in cases where they were not properly identified as victims by authorities, and that women who did not want to be transferred to shelters or give testimony were usually deported.

QUESTION 3: If detained or jailed, for how long?

ANSWER: GOI input pending. For sex trafficking victims, Isha L'Isha said that if a victim decided to be deported they are detained in a special center until deportation, "which takes place within two weeks at the most." Hotline reported that it depends on the time it takes the woman's embassy to issue travel documents, usually two to three weeks, although Hotline said the Ukrainian and Uzbek embassies were "particularly slow" in issuing travel documents.

For labor trafficking victims, Hotline noted that in some cases, such as Guinea, Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the source country, thus victims can be held in detention indefinitely. According to Hotline, victims from India, Sri Lanka and Nepal are detained a month on average.

QUESTION 4: Are victims fined?

ANSWER: Hotline and Isha L'Isha both reported no.

QUESTION 5: Are victims prosecuted for violations of other laws, such as those governing immigration or prostitution?

ANSWER: Isha L'Isha said no. Hotline reported this happened very rarely, and only in cases where the person entered Israel after being deported at least once.

32. (SBU) The following answers respond to questions in paragraph 30, section E of the instructions cable.

QUESTION 1: Does the government encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking?

ANSWER: Isha L'Isha said yes. Hotline reported that the police encouraged the victims to assist in the investigation. In addition, the new anti-trafficking law instructs judges who do not award legal redress to explain the reasoning behind their decision. Hotline said they believe this will encourage more judges to award legal redress, and consequently more women to testify.

QUESTION 2: May victims file civil suits or seek legal action against the traffickers?

ANSWER: Hotline reported that in 2006, eight women submitted civil claims against traffickers, seven of which were with

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the assistance of the Legal Aid Department of the Ministry of Justice, one with the assistance of Hotline. Hotline said only a third of the prosecution witnesses decided to file civil suits, citing two main reasons the women are reluctant: a lack of faith in state institutions, as they believe that free services could not be very good; and a lack of faith - that Hotline called justified - that they would ever see the money even if they are awarded damages. Hotline reported that labor trafficking victims can file civil cases in theory, but in practice do not because they can't afford lawyers, are deported before they can make a decision, and are threatened by traffickers.

According to Hotline, workers can sue their employer in labor court, but lack of legal knowledge, lack of representation, and the likely termination of work - and resultant loss of legal status - prevent most labor victims from doing so.

QUESTION 3: Does anyone impede the victims' access to such legal redress?

ANSWER: Isha L'Isha said no. Hotline reported that the women were informed of State-provided legal representation while they are at the shelters and also via posters hung in detention. Hotline said that in seven rulings in civil cases of eight women, compensation was paid to only three women in two cases, and that another woman who was awarded 228,000 NIS only received 300 NIS. Hotline also reported that many women were deported before the conclusion of their criminal trial, and that when compensation was awarded the State made no effort to find them and transfer money to them. GOI input pending.

QUESTION 4: If a victim is a material witness in a court case against a former employer, is the victim permitted to obtain other employment or to leave the country pending trial proceedings?

ANSWER: GOI input pending. Hotline reported that women waiting to give testimony were given work permits, and if they were residing in a shelter they were given assistance in -- Development Corporation (CAF) that the CAF was encountering resistance from the GOE for CAF's requirement that project implementation be put out to bid. Apparently the GOE does not want to seek bids to construct several bridges, since it wants to use the Ecuadorian Army Corp of Engineers. Therefore GOE reportedly told the CAF it would use "$400 million from Venezuela" for road and bridge development, instead of using CAF financing. According to Tvardek, this announcement has left the CAF wondering whether the GOE is interested in moving forward with the CAF's $800 million infrastructure development project. (Tvardek did not have any details on the alleged $400 million from Venezuela. The Minister of Economy had said that the GOE currently does not plan to borrow from Venezuela although it would keep that option open. The Vice Minister for Finance told EconCouns that the GOE prefers financing from multilateral development banks, particularly the CAF, and that the terms of CAF financing are more attractive than what Venezuela is offering.)

9. (C) Comment: Tvardek's account of the IDB's and CAF's experiences reinforces our view of the confused nature of economic decision-making with the GOE. On this as in other cases, it appears that the Correa administration is moderating its strong views as it encounters the practical problems of running a government, and is walking back on its anti-debt rhetoric to take advantage of available IFI financing. Even so, the signals are mixed, as seen in the rejection and then acceptance of two IDB projects and more recently the confused signals as to whether the GOE prefers Venezuelan or CAF financing. It looks like a good sign that the GOE sees in value in working with a Washington-based development bank, but at the same time we note that thus far it is taking advantage of already approved loans. We do not know if it has the will or organizational ability to move forward with new IDB projects. JEWELL

Category: Breaking News
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