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2004-08-05 08:41:00
Consulate Frankfurt
Cable title:  

TIP: Rheinland-Pfalz Pioneers Innovative Concept to

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E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: TIP: Rheinland-Pfalz Pioneers Innovative Concept to
Fight Trafficking in Persons, Sees Positive Results

Sensitive but unclassified not for internet distribution

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The government of Rheinland-Pfalz (R-P)
has developed a victim-oriented approach to combating human
trafficking that offers police protection, NGO (non-
governmental organization) counseling, and immigration
advice for trafficked women. The initiative supports women
willing to testify against trafficking syndicates. In
contrast to Germany's national TIP witness protection
scheme, victims are required only to provide information
related to their own experiences (as opposed to an
indictment of senior figures within the trafficking
organization) to qualify for the program. Several other
German states have expressed interest in adopting R-P's
approach because of its success in procuring the cooperation
of victims often afraid to testify against their captors.

2. (SBU) ConGen Frankfurt Pol/Econ representatives met with
R-P Interior Ministry and police officials to discuss the
state's unique approach to combating trafficking in persons.
Officials explained that the initiative was a joint effort
by the Ministries of Interior, Education, and Labor, the R-P
police, and NGOs to provide comprehensive support to the
victims of human trafficking. The program provides
counseling, police protection, and immigration assistance
for those women willing to testify against human trafficking
syndicates. In contrast to the national-level TIP witness
protection program, women do not have to directly finger
senior trafficking figures or provide detailed information
on the structures of trafficking syndicates to qualify for
services under the R-P initiative. Victims enjoy full
anonymity for the length of their stay in Germany.

3. (SBU) R-P Police head of Witness Protection Wolfgang
Merken noted that police raids are responsible for the
discovery of most TIP victims. Once the women agree to
cooperate and enter police custody, they receive advice and
aid from NGO counselors who accompany them for the duration
of the trial. Following the proceedings, the NGO works with
the R-P Immigration Office to facilitate the victim's
voluntary return home. Those who wish to stay in the
country are eligible to apply for asylum but are subject to
the same immigration regulations governing other potential
asylees. The R-P Immigration Office assists those who do
not qualify with repatriation to their home country.

4. (SBU) Interior Ministry officials admitted that long-
term financing of the program had been the biggest initial
hurdle. Rheinland-Pfalz implemented the concept in 2003 and
asked local communities to fund associated costs from social
welfare budgets. While the program helped eleven
trafficking victims that year, local communities balked at
the continued financial burden and refused to fund the
initiative for 2004. Ultimately, the Interior Ministry
appropriated a yearly allocation of 100,000 euros (from its
budget for the re-integration of ethnic Germans) to fund the
program. Merken estimates that about 20 women will qualify
for the program this year. The vast majority of R-P's TIP
victims (87.2%) come from Eastern Europe, with the remainder
hailing largely from Africa (4.3%), Asia (3.4%), and North
America (1.4%).

5. (SBU) Interior Ministry official Eberhard Weber contends
that information provided by victims under R-P's new program
has increased TIP convictions and provided a deterrent to
trafficking. Weber cites a major recent R-P TIP conviction
obtained through victim eyewitness testimony as proof of his
claim (overall figures are unavailable because of the
relative newness of the program). Moreover, Weber asserts
that Rheinland-Pfalz's concept and its successful
implementation have attracted the attention of several other
German states, including Baden-Wuerttemberg and Hesse. The
European Union has also expressed interest in Rheinland-
Pfalz's initiative as part of its greater emphasis on TIP-
related issues.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: Originally, the federal interagency anti-
trafficking working group developed a model for interagency
cooperation at the laender level that was offered to the
laender for their use. Since the laender are responsible
for coordinating the interagency cooperation in trafficking
victims cases, somewhat different approaches have been
followed by each land depending on the scope of the problem
in the land, resources, etc. Rheinland-Pfalz's integrated
approach to combating human trafficking springs from a need
for credible eyewitness testimony to obtain convictions as
well as a recognition of the physical, emotional, and social
impact of trafficking on its victims. The comprehensive
approach results in a well-coordinated interagency response
that reduces the potential for conflicts to arise between
organizations dealing with victims of trafficking. The
program has also benefited from the fact that R-P has only a
small portion of Germany's total number of TIP victims (62
out of 805 in 2003) which keeps the scale of the program at
a more easily managed level. END COMMENT.

7. (U) This message has been coordinated with Embassy