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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03TEGUCIGALPA697 2003-03-19 22:06:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tegucigalpa
Cable title:  

HONDURAS AND PROSPECTS FOR HARMONIZED ANTI-TIP

Tags:   KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG ELAB ASEC PREF KFRD HO 
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					  UNCLAS TEGUCIGALPA 000697 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR G/TIP, INL, DRL, PRM, AND IWI
STATE FOR WHA/PPC AND WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG ELAB ASEC PREF KFRD HO
SUBJECT: HONDURAS AND PROSPECTS FOR HARMONIZED ANTI-TIP
LEGISLATION IN CENTRAL AMERICA

REF: A. STATE 32314

B. GUATEMALA 489

C. TEGUCIGALPA 650

D. STATE 22225



1. (SBU) Summary: Post concurs with Department
recommendation that a regional harmonization of
anti-trafficking in persons legislation (ref A) would serve
U.S. interests in Honduras and the region. As stated in ref
C, Honduras could benefit by an overriding law against TIP
that pieced together aspects of various laws and filled in
the blanks to cover all possible offenses.



2. (SBU) The following responses are keyed to questions in
ref A:

a) Willingness of key national legislators to introduce and
promote harmonized anti-TIP legislation, or in the
alternative, to amend existing statutes where necessary:

-- As stated in ref C, the Maduro Administration is planning
to introduce to Congress a draft immigration bill that would
strengthen penalties against trafficking in persons,
especially the trafficking of children. Maduro's Nationalist
Party has only a plurality, not a majority, within the
unicameral body. While Post believes that members of the
Nationalist Party, opposition Liberal Party, and smaller
parties would support ant-TIP legislation, Post will have a
better sense of the reaction in Congress once the new
immigration law is introduced. National and municipal
elections will not be held until November 2005. Prospects
for passage of anti-TIP harmonization legislation will be
better in 2003/2004 than 2005.

b) Openness of national legislature and government to work
with neighboring governments, NGOs, and IOs to maintain
harmony of essential elements of an anti-TIP bill:

-- Post believes that the GOH is likely to be open to
regional cooperation with other governments, international
organizations, and NGOs, although Post notes that Honduras
does have border disputes with its three Central American
land neighbors (and its seven maritime neighbors). The
disputes with El Salvador and Nicaragua are the most heated.
Maduro is personally engaged with his presidential
counterparts to address these issues but there has not been
much concrete progress, except for the March 11 vote of the
Nicaraguan Congress to suspend its 35 percent tariff on
Honduran imports. Despite these border disputes, Post
believes that the GOH would work with neighboring governments
on this issue, which the GOH recognizes is a regional problem.

c) Prospects for passage, including length of time needed
for enactment, of an harmonized anti-TIP bill:

-- Post believes that prospects for passage are reasonably
good, although Post notes that the Honduran Congress rarely
acts quickly on legislation. It is possible that some
legislators may either portray TIP as a U.S. problem, or be
afraid to make anti-TIP laws tougher because of the potential
impact on remittances if fewer Hondurans immigrate to the
U.S. Also, endemic corruption in Honduras could potentially
complicate passage of stricter legislation.

d) Impact of a legislative debate on TIP in Honduras,
regardless of final passage:

-- Congressional debate would raise awareness not only among
legislators but also among opinion makers and the general
public. It would be a boost to the GOH agencies and NGOs
that are combating TIP.
Palmer