Wikileaks - MDC

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





REF: STATE 132759

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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Embassy Pristina's submission for the Tenth 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 in December 2008 and replaced UNMIK rule-of-law structures throughout the country. EULEX provided advice, mentoring, and monitoring to Kosovo rule-of-law institutions during the reporting period and possessed limited executive authority. The GOK, with limited resources, demonstrated the political will and social commitment to address trafficking, and took positive steps to prevent trafficking, prosecute traffickers, and provided assistance to Victims of Trafficking (VOT). Kosovo's unique political situation, which restricts the effectiveness of law enforcement institutions in the northern portion of the country, constrained police from combating trafficking in minority Serb communities. Cooperation with international police networks is incomplete due to the fact that not all of Kosovo's neighbors recognize the country's independence.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY CONT: Kosovo possesses one of the more sophisticated and progressive anti-trafficking legal frameworks in the region, and law enforcement institutions did a good job of applying the law. During the rating period, the GOK assisted 29 victims of trafficking; the judiciary worked on 31 cases of suspected trafficking which resulted in 22 convictions. The GOK supported educational programs from secondary school to university education levels designed to inform and prevent trafficking in persons. The Kosovo Police (KP) continued its program of instruction to new recruits on identification and proper treatment of suspected trafficking victims. Of particular significance, the GOK's work with shelters for VOT was noteworthy: the GOK partially funded two and wholly funded a third. In January 2010, the GOK, seeking to improve coordination and effectiveness of its police anti-TIP efforts, centralized the Trafficking in Human Beings Section, and upgraded it to Department status. This action promises to improve the coordination and effectiveness of the KP. Challenges remain, and the GOK must intensify its anti-TIP efforts over the coming year. The KP must increase its focus on reducing demand by raiding brothels and arresting traffickers and clients. Prosecutors must aggressively work towards convicting them in court. The National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator (NATC) must ensure that the database to track victims and their traffickers is properly utilized. Finally, the GOK must make greater efforts towards educating civil society about TIP. END SUMMARY

Question 25A: What is (are) the source(s) of available information on human trafficking? 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 came primarily from VOT assisted and identified by the KP Trafficking in Human Beings Section (THBS), international organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the NGO Terre Des Hommes (TDH), and shelters.

4. (SBU) Efforts to improve documentation of VOT were ongoing. In 2008, the International Center for Migration Policy Development

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(ICMPD) donated a computer and associated software system to the GOK to track VOT from identification through repatriation or rehabilitation. The system was also able to track arrested traffickers through each stage of the criminal system. Throughout the year, the National Anti-Trafficking Secretariat struggled to obtain the necessary data from various branches of the GOK. On January 29, the Secretariat signed MOUs with the Kosovo Judicial Council, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and KP designed to improve the flow of information.

5. (SBU) Detailed, reliable statistics were difficult to collect and often misleading because organizations active in counter-trafficking efforts relied on different definitions of trafficking, employed uneven statistical analyses, and overlapped in data collection. There was no single data collection point for all TIP stakeholders. Statistics on trafficking came primarily from trafficking victims whom the police or IOM identified or came to social workers' attention. Many victims were never identified due to social stigma and the hidden nature of the crime.

Question 25B: Is the country a country of origin, transit, and/or destination for men, women, or children subjected to conditions of commercial sexual exploitation, forced or bonded labor, or other slave-like conditions? Are citizens or residents of the country subjected to such trafficking conditions within the country? If so, does this internal trafficking occur in territory outside of the government's control (e.g. in a civil war situation)? From where are people recruited or from where do they migrate prior to being subjected to these exploitative conditions? To what other countries are people trafficked and for what purposes? 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 remained a source, transit point, and destination for trafficked persons. Internal trafficking remained a problem. The KP, IOM, and the majority of other government agencies, international organizations, and NGOs reported that most of the identified victims were women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. TDH identified 304 child victims trafficked for begging purposes during the reporting period. TDH's numbers marked the only significant change in the TIP situation.

7. (SBU) Overwhelmingly, foreign and local older minors (16-17 years old) and adult VOT were trafficked to Kosovo as their final destination and for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Only one case of labor exploitation was confirmed during the reporting period. On February 5, Kosovo Border Police discovered an Albanian woman, age 20, trying to enter Kosovo on false travel documents. Further investigation revealed the victim was going to be exploited to work as a waitress in a coffee shop in Prizren. The KP arrested two Albanian women, one of them the owner of the coffee shop, on trafficking charges. They remain in pre-trial detention. TDH reported that large numbers of foreign and local children (under fifteen years old) were trafficked to and within Kosovo for begging. Neither the KP nor the IOM uncovered any cases of VOT transiting through Kosovo, but both suspected it existed. The Turkish male trafficked to Kosovo for organ harvesting in December 2008 remained the only known case of trafficking for illegal medical practices.

8. (SBU) Kosovo Police speculated that internal trafficking could occur in the northern part of Kosovo, a region above the Iber/Ibar River and beyond the government's effective control. The KP was one of the few GOK organizations operating in Kosovo Serb areas, but because the police did not have a THBS office in the northern part of Kosovo, only limited information exists on the extent of the TIP

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problem in the northern part of Kosovo. Underlying political tensions have made it difficult for the KP to recruit any Kosovo Serb police officers for the THBS, which operated throughout the southern part of Kosovo. The KP reported that it advertised positions in the anti-trafficking unit in Serbian but did not receive any applications. Without a Kosovo Serb officer, the KP was unable to mount undercover operations or gain an accurate picture of TIP issues in Kosovo Serb communities. International organizations also had a limited presence in the northern part of Kosovo. The IOM closed its branch office in the northern part of Mitrovica in 2009. Anecdotal reports indicated VOT may have transited through the northern part of Kosovo en route to Serbia and Montenegro.

9. (SBU) KP and IOM statistics illustrated trafficking trends for adult and older minor VOT. During the reporting period, the KP identified 29 trafficking victims: 18 Kosovo Albanian women and 11 foreign female victims. Of the foreign victims, six were from Moldova, five were from Albania, one was Bulgarian, one was Serbian, and one refused to reveal her country of origin. Eight trafficking victims were minors: five Kosovo Albanians, one Kosovo Serb, and two Albanian. From February 2009 to February 2010, the IOM reported eight foreign VOT: six from Moldova, one from Albania, and one from Serbia. All were women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The Albanian VOT was a minor. The IOM reported 33 internal VOT: 32 women, and one Kosovo Roma boy, a minor. Of the women, 29 were Kosovo Albanian, two were Kosovo Roma, and one was a Kosovo Bosniak. Fourteen were minors. The Roma minor and his sister were exploited to commit thefts; the others were exploited sexually. IOM reported that 2009 was the fourth year in a row in which it assisted more internally trafficked than foreign victims in Kosovo.

10. (SBU) The VAAD reported assisting 23 victims of trafficking in 2009, 12 of whom were internally trafficked. VAAD noted that all the internally trafficked victims were Kosovo Albanians. Of the foreign victims, seven were from Moldova, two were from Albania, one came from Serbia, and one was from Slovakia. All the victims were female. Four victims were minors: two internally trafficked Kosovo Albanians, one foreign VOT from Albania, and one Serbian.

11. (SBU) During the reporting period, TDH reported it identified 82 child VOT from Albania and 222 internally trafficked VOT. Of the foreign victims, 52 percent were Albanian Roma, 32 percent Albanian Egyptian, and 16 percent Albanian. Ages ranged from two to 15 years old. Fifty-seven of the victims were boys, and 23 were girls. Of the domestic victims, 81 percent were Kosovo Roma, Egyptian, or Ashkali, and 19 percent were Kosovo Albanians. Ages ranged from 1 to 15 years old. One hundred and forty-seven were boys; 75 were girls. From February 14, 2008 to February 13, 2009, TDH identified 16 child VOT from Albania and 183 internally trafficked victims. The foreign victims were 50 percent Albanian Roma, 32 percent Albanian Egyptian, and 19 percent Albanian. Ages ranged from less than a year to 15 years old. Eleven were boys; five were girls. Of the domestic victims, 81 percent were Kosovo Roma, Egyptian, or Ashkali, and 19 percent were Kosovo Albanians. Ages ranged from 1 to 15 years old. One hundred and nine were boys, 74 were girls.

12. (SBU) TDH estimated that of the foreign VOT, approximately half were deported back to Albania and returned the next day. TDH had more success with internally trafficked VOT and returned 120 victims to their families. (Note: TDH's numbers were vastly higher than any other organization reported. The IOM expressed skepticism about the accuracy of TDH's data, arguing that the children were more likely to be victims of child labor law violations than actual VOT. TDH attributed its ability to identify child VOT to an aggressive identification campaign ran year-round, with seven

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three-person teams constantly deployed throughout Kosovo. End note.)

13. (SBU) From 1999 through December 31, 2009, the IOM assisted 630 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 Serbia, and less than one percent from Nigeria and Slovakia. The majority of foreign victims were between the ages of 18 and 25 years. Internal VOT were typically between 16 and 18. IOM reported that almost 82 percent of the victims from Kosovo were internally trafficked. IOM, like the KP and other NGOs and international organizations, lacked sufficient information to determine what countries Kosovo Albanians were trafficked to and for what purpose. Question 25C: To what kind of conditions are the trafficking victims subjected?

14. (SBU) There was disagreement among TIP organizations, including the KP and international organizations like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and IOM, regarding the conditions trafficking victims face. The KP reported traffickers have changed their methods of controlling VOT, favoring psychological pressure over physical abuse. The KP stated that traffickers allowed victims some freedom of movement, acceptable living conditions, and a portion of their earnings. The KP did not see any evidence that rape was a method of control or punishment in 2009. The KP reported that foreign victims typically lived in or adjacent to the bars and nightclubs where they worked; internal VOT lived in or near the coffee shops, restaurants, or the hotels that employed them.

15. (SBU) The OSCE and IOM disputed the KP's description, stating that traffickers still used violence to control VOT, confiscated passports, permitted victims only limited trips into town under careful escort, and allowed VOT a share of the earnings only after the victims had fully paid their 'debt' to the trafficker. Both organizations reported rape was sometimes used by traffickers to control and punish victims. Neither the OSCE nor the IOM saw evidence of a difference between the work places of foreign and domestic VOT. All saw evidence of wire transfers from foreign victims to their families back home.

16. (SBU) Counter-trafficking organizations continued to report that traffickers were shifting the commercial sex trade into private homes and escort services to avoid detection, a result of the KP's frequent bar and restaurant checks, as well as changing client demand. KP reported that traffickers were asking that clients pay the women directly so it looked more like prostitution than trafficking if they were caught.

17. (SBU) TDH reported that child VOT tended to live with the trafficker who was responsible for their care. Reportedly, the traffickers did not treat child VOT well. The children were beaten at times, and when ill, were not always permitted to receive medical help because sick children could collect more money. Victims typically worked ten to 12 hour days begging for money. They were typically stationed in one spot for hours while the trafficker observed them from a nearby location and collected the money throughout the day. Boys were more often forced to wash car windshields at traffic lights, while girls were compelled to beg for money at hotels and restaurants. TDH reported that child victims were generally unnoticed by the KP and, when noticed, were often not treated well.

Question 25D: Vulnerability to TIP: Are certain groups of persons

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more at risk of human trafficking (e.g. women and children, boys versus girls, certain ethnic groups, refugees, IDPs, etc.)? If so, please specify the type of exploitation for which these groups are most at risk (e.g. girls are more at risk of domestic servitude than boys).

18. (SBU) Adult and older minor victims in Kosovo continued to be almost exclusively women. Foreign VOT come from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Victims were overwhelmingly trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation. (Note: See paragraphs six through 13 for a detailed description of VOT statistics. End note.) The KP, IOM, and others involved in counter-trafficking work in Kosovo believed that most victims were young women from families with a high level of poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy. IOM statistics for the period June 1 to December 31 indicated that six percent of local victims were not enrolled in school, 54 percent attended primary school, 15 percent attended elementary school (ninth grade), and 24 percent attended secondary education (high school). None attended or completed university. TDH reported that child VOT -- both internal and foreign -- were exploited for begging purposes, and tended to be from under-educated and financially desperate families

19. (SBU) Foreign victims tended to be 18 to 24 years old, while internal victims were generally 16 to 18 years old. IOM records indicated that traffickers most often recruited poor women and girls from rural villages and small cities where economic opportunities were limited. According to IOM, traffickers particularly targeted those who had sick family members or were from abusive families. Trafficked minors tended to be locals from dysfunctional, possibly abusive families. They were sometimes orphans.

Question 25E: 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 gain direct access to victims? For example, are the traffickers recruiting victims through lucrative job offers? Are victims sold by their families, or approached by friends of friends? Are victims "self-presenting" (approaching the exploiter without the involvement of a recruiter or transporter)? If recruitment or transportation is involved, what methods are used to recruit or transport 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?

20. (SBU) There was disagreement among people working in the counter-trafficking field regarding the background of traffickers. The KP and OSCE believed organized crime elements -- working in small groups and recruiting through personal contacts -- were mostly responsible. The KP believed Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serb organized crime elements collaborated in the trafficking of women, but there was no hard evidence. The IOM and TDH disputed the involvement of organized crime. They reported that the traffickers worked in small groups and through personal contacts. There were reports that some traffickers were former trafficking victims who returned to their countries of origin to recruit new victims. In 2009, the KP arrested 31 men and three women on trafficking charges; the majority were Kosovo Albanians.

21. (SBU) The KP and IOM reported that the vast majority of trafficking victims stated that someone they knew recruited them with a false job offer, false travel arrangements, or false promise of marriage. The OSCE believed that many VOT were introduced to traffickers through family or friends. OSCE said that there was no evidence VOT were sold by their families. There were no reports of self-presenting VOT. The IOM reported that of the 630 mainly

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international victims it assisted between 1999 and December 2009, 72 percent fell prey to traffickers after accepting a bogus job offer abroad, eight percent were deceived through false travel arrangements, and two percent were promised marriage. IOM records indicated that some recruiters were female.

22. (SBU) The KP reported that most trafficking victims entered legally. Few used false documents. The majority of trafficking victims possessed valid passports and employment contracts for work as waitresses and dancers. The contracts were registered by Kosovo law firms and stamped by municipal authorities. According to the KP, some victims received pay only for performing sexual services and not for the work stated in their employment contracts. The KP also reported that in some cases, the girls were only paid through collecting a portion of the money clients spend on drinks with them. IOM also said that most victims had their documents in order, but they still found some cases of victims coming to Kosovo on false or expired documents.

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

24. (SBU) TDH reported that in most cases, traffickers took child VOT with the permission of their parents, who collected a percentage of the earnings. TDH noted this could be their only source of income. (Note: The Center for the Protection of Women and Children (CPWC) also reported that in some cases, family members were traffickers. End Note.) Traffickers were mostly male relatives, but recruiters tended to be female. According to TDH, traffickers operated independently and were not linked to organized crime. TDH noted that crossing from Albania to Kosovo was very easy; children were trafficked across the border mostly because Kosovo used the Euro currency, allowing children to collect far more money than they could have in Albania.

Question 26A: Does the government acknowledge that human trafficking is a problem in the country? If not, why not?

25. (SBU) The GOK acknowledged that human trafficking was a problem and demonstrated the political will to address it. The GOK reported an 80 percent completion rate for all TIP activities required by the Kosovo Action Plan (KAP) in 2009. The NATC continued the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on trafficking in persons and regularized their meetings. Additionally, the NATC supported the efforts of three working groups to tackle prevention, protection, and prosecution. The fourth working group, intended to focus on trafficking in children, did not meet in 2009. The GOK also conducted training sessions and anti-trafficking campaigns with its own resources and at times with the support of NGOs and international organizations. According to the IOM, the GOK was adequately combating trafficking.

Question 26B: Which government agencies are involved in efforts to combat sex and labor trafficking -- including forced labor -- and, which agency, if any, has the lead in these efforts?

26. (SBU) The NATC had the lead on anti-trafficking work. Other agencies involved in counter-trafficking work included the Ministry of Education and Technology; the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (MLSW); the Ministry of Public Services; the Ministry of Local Government and Administration; the Ministry of Finance; the

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Ministry of Trade and Industry; and the Ministry of Communities and Returns. International organizations and NGOs also played active roles in counter-trafficking efforts in Kosovo.

27. (SBU) Kosovo also had an Inter-Ministerial Working Group on trafficking issues, chaired by the NATC. The GOK tasked the Inter-Ministerial Working Group with implementing and monitoring the Kosovo Action Plan. It included members of the GOK, international organizations, and local NGOs. Additionally, the Inter-Ministerial Working Group had sub-working groups on prevention, protection, prosecution. Their work continued during the reporting period.

Question 26C: What are the limitations on the government's ability to address these problems 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?

28. (SBU) The hidden nature of the problem, reluctance of witnesses to come forward, lack of resources, porous borders, and inadequate training of judges and prosecutors hindered the GOK's ability to address the trafficking problem. The IOM emphasized that the absence of a witness protection program was a serious impediment to convincing victims and witnesses to testify against traffickers in court. The KP disputed this. Unlike in previous years, the KP reported improved cooperation and information sharing within the counter-trafficking community. Some interlocutors believed corruption was a problem, particularly at the borders. Low salaries for local law enforcement officials and a still-developing rule-of-law system created conditions that made corruption a concern. There were signs of improvement: Transparency International's 2009 Global Corruption Barometer reported that that only 13 percent of Kosovo respondents reported paying a bribe to obtain a service. In 2007, about 67 percent of Kosovo respondents reported paying bribes. There was no 2008 report.

29. (SBU) Resources were scarce for all Kosovo government services. KP operations also suffered from a lack of equipment. Donations from the international community during the reporting period partially alleviated this problem. The KP reported improved access to funds for undercover operations. This enabled undercover officers to operate more easily without detection by traffickers when collecting information in bars and restaurants. In previous years, undercover operatives often did not have the resources to order food and drinks and were often identified as police.

30. (SBU) The KP reported myriad obstacles to fighting trafficking. -- 10. ACS reported the Consulate visit of an Amcit claiming USG officials had promised her "Olympian" status. ACS spoke to her mother who indicated that her daughter is not taking her medication. RSO was able to confirm through CBP that the Amcit has a return ticket to Ohio on 13 February. ACS will remain alert to any further developments.


11. Celebratory atmosphere in Vancouver is increasing as the Olympic flame makes it way around the city streets. The flame crossed over the Lion's Gate Bridge a little before 0700 PST. Shortly afterward, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger carried the flame through the Park, passing off to past Olympian Sebastian Coe. The flame will continue a meandering movement through the city until arriving at the Opening Ceremonies at BC Place shortly after 2000 PST.

12. The only sad news on an otherwise festive day was the report out of Whistler of the death of Georgian Luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili. Kumaritashvili was on a practice run at the Whistler Sliding Center when his sled veered out of control up the side wall at the fastest part of the track. The athlete was thrown from the sled into a pillar and died of his injuries a short time later. It was estimated he was traveling at nearly 90 mph at the time of the accident.

13. Vice President Biden and the rest of the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremonies arrived safely in Vancouver at

noon 2/12. They have a full program in the afternoon, including a Meet and Greet with U.S. Olympic Athletes and attendance at the GOC hosted Heads of Delegation reception. The final event is the Opening Ceremonies, which are scheduled to begin at 1800 PST and are estimated to last three hours. Preliminary round competition started this morning in Whistler for the men's individual ski jumping. Competitions begin in earnest tomorrow morning with the first medals awarded in the final round of men's ski jumping. A schedule and results of all competitions throughout the Games can be found at -results/. CHICOLA

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