Wikileaks - MCCLXXIV

Monday, 05 September, Year 3 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu





REF: STATE 132759

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Embassy Pristina's submission for the Ninth Annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report follows. From 1999 to 2008, Kosovo was administered by the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) under the authority of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1244. On February 17, 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo's independence. On June 15, 2008, Kosovo's constitution entered into force; from that point the Government of Kosovo (GOK) assumed full responsibility for the country's civil administration and increasing responsibility for law enforcement, including anti-TIP efforts. The European Union's Rule-of-Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) began operations on December 9 and replaced UNMIK rule-of-law structures throughout the country; EULEX provides advice, mentoring and monitoring to Kosovo rule-of-law institutions and possesses limited executive authority. For the first time, the GOK led Kosovo's counter-trafficking efforts during the entire reporting period. The GOK, with limited resources, has demonstrated the political will and social commitment to address trafficking, and took positive steps to prevent trafficking, prosecute traffickers, and provide assistance to Victims of Trafficking (VOT).

2.(SBU) Kosovo possesses one of the more sophisticated and progressive anti-trafficking legal frameworks in the region, and it has done a good job of applying the law. During the rating period, the GOK assisted 27 victims of trafficking; the judiciary worked on 56 cases of suspected trafficking which resulted in 15 convictions, 14 of which received sentences of more than five years; and the GOK supported numerous educational programs from primary to university education levels designed to inform and prevent trafficking in persons. The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) continued with its program of instruction to new recruits on identification and proper detention of suspected trafficking victims. Of particular significance, the GOK's work with shelters for VOT has been noteworthy: of the three existing shelters for victims, the GOK funds two outright and a substantial portion of the third. In April, the GOK, seeking to improve coordination and effectiveness of its anti-TIP efforts, transferred responsibility for Kosovo's anti-trafficking operations to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA). Under the leadership of the new National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator (NATC), Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Fatmir Xhelili, the GOK published its first National Strategy and its second Action Plan Against Trafficking in Human Beings, (abbreviated Kosovo Action Plan, or KAP) and began implementation. The NATC regularized the TIP Inter-Ministerial Working Group meetings on a monthly basis and ensured that the anti-trafficking helpline was properly staffed and trained. In December, his office organized a conference to assess the implementation of the KAP, and issued a progress report on its implementation. Challenges remain, and the GOK will need to intensify its efforts in several areas over the next reporting period. The GOK must find better ways to control work permits which are falsely obtained for the purposes of trafficking, and improve data collection on activities related to TIP. Prosecutors and judges need further training in order to understand the sophisticated nature of this crime and establish more effective cooperation with the police in pursuing convictions. Kosovo's ability to combat trafficking is also negatively impacted by its unique political situation which makes investigation in minority Serb communities nearly impossible and cooperation through international police networks complicated.

Question 23A: What is (are) the source(s) of available information on trafficking in persons? What plans are in place (if any) to undertake further documentation of human trafficking? How reliable are these sources?

3. (SBU) The sources of available information on trafficking in persons come primarily from Victims of Trafficking (VOT) assisted

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and identified by the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) Trafficking in Human Beings Section (THBS), shelters, and international organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

4. (SBU) Efforts to improve documentation of VOT are ongoing. In March, the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) provided a computer and database to help track the VOT staying at shelters and create more accurate records. The GOK is continuing its efforts to finalize this project and plans to complete implementation later in 2009.

5. (SBU) Detailed, reliable statistics are difficult to collect and often misleading because organizations active in counter-trafficking efforts rely on different definitions of trafficking, employ uneven statistical analyses, and overlap in data collection. There is no single data collection point for all TIP stakeholders. Statistics on trafficking come primarily from trafficking victims whom the police have identified or, in some cases, victims who go directly to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) or come to social workers' attention. Many victims are never identified due to the hidden nature of the crime.

Question 23B: Is the country a country of origin, transit, and/or destination for internationally trafficked men, women, or children? Does trafficking occur within the country's borders? If so, does internal trafficking occur in territory outside of the government's control (e.g. in a civil war situation)? To where are people trafficked? For what purposes are they trafficked? Provide, where possible, numbers or estimates for each group of trafficking victims. Have there been any changes in the TIP situation since the last TIP Report (e.g. changes in destinations)?

6. (SBU) Kosovo is a source, transit point, and destination for trafficked persons. Internal trafficking is a growing concern. As in previous years, the majority of identified victims were women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The single documented exception occurred in November when a Turkish male was discovered to be the victim of organ trafficking. The victim was treated in Pristina University Hospital, and police arrested three individuals for involvement in organ trafficking. The investigation is proceeding.

7. (SBU) Kosovo Police speculate that internal trafficking may occur in north Kosovo, a region above the Iber/Ibar River and beyond the government's effective control. Limited information exists on the extent of the TIP problem in northern Kosovo. The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) is one of the few GOK organizations operating in Kosovo Serb areas, but underlying political tensions have made it impossible for the KPS to recruit a Kosovo Serb police officer for its Trafficking in Human Beings Section (THBS). (Note: Two days after Kosovo declared independence, 347 Kosovo Serb police walked off the job and have not yet returned. End Note.) The KPS reported that it has advertised positions in the anti-trafficking unit in Serbian but has not received any applications. Without a Kosovo Serb officer, the KPS is unable to mount undercover operations or gain an accurate picture of TIP issues in Kosovo Serb communities.

8. (SBU) Overwhelmingly, VOT are trafficked to Kosovo as their final destination and for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Neither the KPS, the IOM, nor the Ministry of Justice's Victims' Advocacy and Assistance Division (VAAD) have any evidence of labor trafficking. The Turkish male trafficked to Kosovo for organ harvesting in December remains the only known case of trafficking for illegal medical practices.

9. (SBU) KPS and IOM statistics illustrate well trafficking trends

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for Kosovo more generally. From April 2008 through January 2009, the KPS reported 24 victims, 14 of whom were non-minority Kosovo Albanians. Five of the remaining victims were from Moldova, two from Albania, one from Bulgaria, one from Serbia, and one from Turkey. All were female except the VOT from Turkey. Four of the victims that KPS identified in 2008 were minors: three from Kosovo and one from Albania. From April 2008 to January 2009, the IOM assisted nine VOT: seven of those whom the IOM assisted were from Kosovo, including three minors. IOM reported that 2008 was the third year in a row in which it assisted more internally trafficked than foreign victims in Kosovo.

10. (SBU) The VAAD reported assisting 27 victims of trafficking in 2008, 20 of whom were internally trafficked. They noted that all but one of the internally trafficked victims were Kosovo Albanians; the other was a Kosovo Serb. The foreign victims were from Albania and Moldova.

11. (SBU) From 1999 through December 31, 2008, the IOM assisted 589 mainly international victims of trafficking. Moldovans accounted for 51 percent of the victims, followed by about 19 percent from Romania, 13 percent from Ukraine, seven percent from Albania, six percent from Bulgaria, one percent from Russia, and less than one percent from Nigeria, Serbia, and Slovakia. The majority of these victims were between the ages of 18 and 24 years. IOM reported that almost 82 percent of the Kosovar victims were internally trafficked, while approximately seven percent were trafficked to Macedonia, three percent to Italy and Albania, and less than one percent each to Belgium, England, Germany, Montenegro, and Switzerland. 12. (SBU) IOM statistics for the period April 1 to December 31, 2008 indicate that 14 percent of local victims were not enrolled in school, 14 percent finished two classes of the primary school, 14 percent attended elementary school (ninth grade), 14 percent finished elementary school (ninth grade), 28 percent attended secondary education (high school), 14 percent completed secondary education (high school), and none attended or completed university.

Question 23C: What kind of conditions are the victims trafficked into?

13. (SBU) The KPS and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) say traffickers allow victims some freedom of movement, acceptable living conditions, and victims receive a portion of their earnings. The KPS sees evidence of wire transfers from foreign victims to their families back home. The KPS reports that victims they have seen are often living in or adjacent to the clubs and hotels where they work and are allowed to make supervised trips into town. Scattered reports of trafficking victims being subjected to beatings, rape, denial of access to health care, and confiscation of travel and identity documents remain, but increased law enforcement has reduced these incidents. The KPS and CRS report that traffickers are less brutal towards their victims. The IOM agrees that traffickers are generally treating VOT better and reports that most trafficking victims are sharing small motel rooms. VOT, according to IOM, have limited or no freedom of movement.

14. (SBU) As in past years, the majority of victims are found working in bars and restaurants, but counter-trafficking organizations report that traffickers are increasingly shifting the commercial sex trade into private homes and escort services to avoid detection, a result of the KPS' increasingly frequent bar and restaurant checks. KPS reports that traffickers are asking that clients pay the women directly so it looks more like prostitution than trafficking if they are caught.

Question 23D: Vulnerability to TIP: Are certain groups of persons more at risk of being trafficked (e.g. women and children, boys versus girls, certain ethnic groups, refugees, IDPs, etc.)?

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15. (SBU) Victims trafficked to Kosovo continue to be almost exclusively women and adolescent girls from Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union. KPS statistics indicate that four victims were minors: three from Kosovo and one from Albania. The number of identified trafficking victims declined during the reporting period and, similar to last year, there were more internally trafficked than foreign victims. KPS attributes the decline in identified victims to border police becoming more effective at identifying and refusing entry to potential victims and to traffickers becoming more sophisticated in their operations. The KPS and Kosovo Special Prosecutor's Office (KSPO) are focusing on traffickers' networks and disrupting traditional trafficking patterns. (Note: In the past, police and prosecutors tended to go after individual bars rather than try to break the trafficking networks. While the investigations were quicker, the bars would often open up again a few months later under a different name but with the same women. End Note.)

16. (SBU) KPS, IOM, and others involved in counter-trafficking work in Kosovo believe that most victims are young women from families with a high level of poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy. Foreign targets tend to be 18 to 24 years old, while local targets are generally 16 to 18 years old. Trafficked minors tend to be locals from dysfunctional, abusive families. IOM records indicate that traffickers most often recruit poor women and girls from rural villages where economic opportunities are limited. According to IOM, traffickers particularly target those who have sick family members or are from abusive families.

Question 23E: Traffickers and Their Methods: Who are the traffickers/exploiters? Are they independent business people? Small or family-based crime groups? Large international organized crime syndicates? What methods are used to approach victims? For example, are they offered lucrative jobs, sold by their families, or approached by friends of friends? What methods are used to move the victims (e.g., are false documents being used?). Are employment, travel, and tourism agencies or marriage brokers involved with or fronting for traffickers or crime groups to traffic individuals?

17. (SBU) The data on traffickers is unreliable, but most people working in the counter-trafficking field in Kosovo believe organized crime elements are mostly responsible. KPS believes most traffickers work in small groups and recruit through personal contacts. It believes some traffickers may be former trafficking victims who have returned to their countries of origin to recruit new victims. The KPS believes Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serb organized crime elements collaborate in the trafficking of women and that some women are trafficked from or through Serbia into Kosovo, where brothel owners purchase them. Based on arrests and information provided by the victims they have assisted, IOM and the KSPO report most traffickers are local men.

18. (SBU) The KPS reports that the vast majority of trafficking victims state that someone they knew recruited them with a false job offer or, in one case, a false promise of marriage. IOM reports that of the 589 mainly international victims it assisted between 1999 and December 2008, 72 percent fell prey to traffickers after accepting a bogus job offer abroad, four percent claim to have been kidnapped, and four percent were promised marriage. In 83 percent of cases, recruiting was through personal contacts; the recruiter was an acquaintance of the victim in 31 percent of the cases, and a family friend in approximately 19 percent. IOM records indicate that most recruiters are female.

19. (SBU) KPS reports that few trafficking victims enter illegally or use false documents. Most trafficking victims possess valid passports and valid employment contracts for work as waitresses and dancers. The contracts are registered by Kosovo law firms and

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stamped by municipal authorities. According to the KPS, some victims receive pay only for performing sexual services and not for the work stated in their employment contracts. IOM also says most victims have their documents in order, but they still find some cases of victims coming to Kosovo on false or expired documents.

20. (SBU) The KPS reported that many victims arrive via Pristina Airport, especially if they are not from a country bordering Kosovo. The KPS stated that employment, travel, tourism agencies, and marriage brokers are generally not involved. The majority were promised jobs in coffee bars, night clubs, and hotel massage parlors.

Question 24A: Does the government acknowledge that trafficking is a problem in the country? If not, why not?

21. (SBU) The GOK acknowledges that human trafficking is a problem and has demonstrated the political will to address it. The GOK named a new National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator (NATC) in April and adopted its first National Strategy and second Action Plan Against Trafficking in Human Beings (abbreviated Kosovo Action Plan, or KAP) in cooperation with many NGOs and international organizations. The NATC continued the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on trafficking in persons, and regularized their meetings. Additionally, the NATC supported the efforts of four working groups to tackle prevention, protection, prosecution, and trafficking in children. The GOK has also launched training sessions and anti-trafficking campaigns with the support of NGOs, international organizations and liaison offices.

Question 24B: Which government agencies are involved in anti-trafficking efforts and which agency, if any, has the lead?

22. (SBU) In April, the Office of the National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator shifted from the Prime Minister's Advisory Office on Good Governance (AOGG) to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA), which now has the lead on anti-trafficking work. Other agencies involved in counter-trafficking work include the Ministry of Education and Technology; the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Public Services; the Ministry of Local Government and Administration; the Ministry of Finance; the Ministry of Trade and Industry; and the Ministry of Communities and Returns. International organizations and NGOs also play active roles in counter-trafficking efforts in Kosovo.

23. (SBU) Kosovo also has an Inter-Ministerial Working Group on trafficking issues, which the government has tasked with designing, implementing, and monitoring the Kosovo Action Plan. It includes members of the GOK, international organizations, and local NGOs. In 2006, the Inter-Ministerial Working Group established sub-working groups on prevention, protection, prosecution, and trafficking in children. Their work continued during the reporting period.

Question 24C: 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?

24. (SBU) The hidden nature of the problem, reluctance of witnesses to come forward, lack of resources, poor cooperation and information sharing within the counter-trafficking community, and inadequate training of judges and prosecutors hinder the GOK's ability to address the trafficking problem. There is no direct evidence of corruption related to trafficking cases, but some interlocutors believe corruption is a problem, particularly at the borders. Low salaries for local law enforcement officials and a still-developing rule-of-law system create conditions that make corruption a concern. Transparency International's 2007 Global Corruption Barometer

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states that 67% of Kosovo citizen respondents reported paying a bribe to obtain a service, placing Kosovo in the worst category.

25. (SBU) The KPS reports myriad obstacles to fighting trafficking. Traffickers are growing more sophisticated and are getting better at making trafficking look like prostitution (see paragraph 14). Officers complain of women or girls whom they suspect of being trafficking victims denying that they are victims, and they suspect fear of the traffickers is to blame. Witness intimidation remains a serious problem.

26. (SBU) Resources are scarce for all Kosovo government services, and low funding created problems for conducting extensive undercover law enforcement operations during the reporting period. KPS operations also suffered from a lack of equipment which was partially alleviated by donations from the international community during the reporting period. One KPS official reported that undercover officers are easily detected by traffickers because there is no budget for expenses during undercover operations, and they sit for hours in bars and restaurants collecting intelligence without ordering food and drinks.

27. (SBU) The KPS' Trafficking in Human Beings Section (THBS) is not fully staffed, with 29 of its 38 officer positions filled. Nine officers work at the Pristina headquarters, and KPS THBS currently has seven female officers stationed in Pristina, Prizren, and south Mitrovica. KPS plans to recruit more female officers because of the advantage female officers have in gaining the trust and confidence of female trafficking victims.

28. (SBU) Another human resources problem is the lack of Kosovo Serb officers in the anti-trafficking unit. KPS says it is difficult for a Kosovo Albanian officer to mount a surveillance or undercover operation in a suspected trafficking bar or restaurant in a Kosovo Serb enclave or in a Kosovo Serb majority area of northern Kosovo. KPS reports that it tried to recruit a Kosovo Serb officer and has run vacancy announcements in Serb publications without result. This absence of Kosovo Serb officers grew worse in the aftermath of Kosovo's declaration of independence, when 347 Kosovo Serb police officers walked off the job on February 19. They have not yet returned to work.

29. (SBU) Resources to assist trafficking victims are also scarce. Catholic Relief Service (CRS) noted that the new Kosovo Action Plan was drafted with the expectation of a donor conference being organized to fund the different activities together with the GOK. The donor conference did not occur, but TIP conferences were held during the reporting period.

Question 24D: To what extent does the government systematically monitor its anti-trafficking efforts (on all fronts -- prosecution, victim protection, and prevention) and periodically make available, publicly or privately and directly or through regional/international organizations, its assessments of these anti-trafficking efforts?

30. (SBU) The GOK monitors its anti-trafficking efforts and is willing to make information on its efforts available publicly or privately. GOK offices cooperate openly with Embassy and international organizations in sharing information on trafficking. The NATC in the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) is responsible for coordinating and reporting on counter-trafficking efforts. In December the NATC organized an anti-TIP conference to review the implementation of the Kosovo Action Plan. Media attended and reported on the event, and a follow-on progress report noted the goals achieved and identified remaining challenges.

31. (SBU) Another effort at monitoring anti-trafficking efforts is the KPS' yearly TIP report, which was issued for the third consecutive year in 2008. The report analyzes trends and accurately

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describes the trafficking situation in Kosovo.

Question 25A: Existing Laws against TIP: Does the country have a law or laws specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons -- both for sexual exploitation and labor? If so, please specifically cite the name of the law(s) and its date of enactment and provide the exact language [actual copies preferable] of the TIP provisions. Please provide a full inventory of trafficking laws, including non-criminal statutes that allow for civil penalties against alleged trafficking crimes (e.g., civil forfeiture laws and laws against illegal debt). Does the law(s) cover both internal and 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 force, fraud, or coercion? Are these other laws being used in trafficking cases?

32. (SBU) The Provisional Criminal Code of Kosovo (PCCK) or UNMIK/REG/2003/25, which came into effect on April 6, 2004, and covers internal and external trafficking, including myriad activities related to trafficking. Its provisions include Article 137 on slavery and forced labor, Article 138 on smuggling of migrants, Article 139 on trafficking in persons, Article 140 on withholding identity papers of trafficking victims, Article 201 on facilitating prostitution, Article 183 on violating employment rights, Article 193 on rape, Article 195 on sexual assault, Article 196 on degradation of sexual integrity, Article 197 on sexual abuse of persons with mental or emotional disorders or disabilities, Article 198 on sexual abuse of persons under the age of 16, Article 236 on misuse of economic authorizations, Article 274 on organized crime, Article 303 on failure to report preparation of criminal offenses, Article 304 on failure to report criminal offenses or perpetrators of criminal offenses, Article 305 on providing assistance to perpetrators after the commission of criminal offenses, and Article 310 on intimidation during criminal proceedings for organized crime.

33. (SBU) The PCCK is sophisticated legislation for the region and fully addresses trafficking and trafficking-related crimes. Some believe it is under-implemented. The KPS says some prosecutors still lack awareness of the use of the instruments now available during investigative and trial phases. At times, the KPS reports that it has had to insist on the application of such measures. Kosovo 2009 TIP Report Submission continued SEPTEL - Part 1 of 3.


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