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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05RANGOON1236
2005-11-02 07:13:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Rangoon
Cable title:  

BURMA: TIP NGOS WORKING WITH TIGHTER RESTRICTIONS

Tags:   KCRM  KWMN  PHUM  ELAB  PGOV  EAID  BM  NGO 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 RANGOON 001236 

SIPDIS

FOR EAP/MLS, G/TIP, DRL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2015
TAGS: KCRM KWMN PHUM ELAB PGOV EAID BM NGO
SUBJECT: BURMA: TIP NGOS WORKING WITH TIGHTER RESTRICTIONS

REF: A. RANGOON 1215

B. RANGOON 1186

C. RANGOON 1001

Classified By: Econoff TLManlowe for Reason 1.4 (b,d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 RANGOON 001236

SIPDIS

FOR EAP/MLS, G/TIP, DRL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2015
TAGS: KCRM KWMN PHUM ELAB PGOV EAID BM NGO
SUBJECT: BURMA: TIP NGOS WORKING WITH TIGHTER RESTRICTIONS

REF: A. RANGOON 1215

B. RANGOON 1186

C. RANGOON 1001

Classified By: Econoff TLManlowe for Reason 1.4 (b,d)


1. (C) Summary: Representatives of international NGOs and UN
agencies working on Trafficking-in-Persons (TIP) projects
told Mark Taylor, G/TIP's Senior Coordinator, about the
difficulties they face in Burma, including expired MOUs with
the government, restricted travel for expatriate staff, and
pressure to move away from border areas where much of the
repatriation work is done. Although some organizations have
had recent activities curtailed, and many representatives
expressed discomfort with the capriciousness of government
controls, all planned to continue their work in country, and
suggested new opportunities for USG assistance for direct
repatriation and local capacity building. The NGOs generally
approved of the GOB's new anti-trafficking law, promulgated
in early September, but doubted the regime's implementation
abilities. End summary.

Progress Being Made in a Difficult Environment
-------------- -

2. (C) In an October 3-4 visit, G/TIP Senior Coordinator Mark
Taylor and Econoff met representatives from international
NGOs and UN agencies active in anti-trafficking projects in
Burma. Most viewed the GOB's new anti-trafficking law
positively, but remained skeptical about the ability of
authorities to implement its provisions. All NGO
representatives described operational and procedural
difficulties, particularly expired MOUs that had not been
renewed for years, giving them scant legal cover if they were
ever enforced. Different GOB counterparts accounted for some
of the variety in difficulties each NGO faced, with the
Department of Social Welfare seen as weak and delaying, and
the Ministry of Health viewed as the most reasonable and
helpful. Even semantics are a TIP issue in Burma, with
UNICEF officers avoiding the term "child labor" so as not to

offend GOB sensitivities.


3. (C) Despite the uncertain environment, NGOs have been able
to accomplish many tasks, including the following:

-- Save the Children (STC-UK) officials said that, in
January, they assisted with the government-to-government
repatriation of forty-three Burmese women from Thailand; in
June, they assisted five more women, and in September,
twenty-three women were repatriated from China, where they
were sent as brides for forced marriages. At a Rangoon
repatriation center, STC-UK gives initial training in life
skills and follows up with medical, psycho/social and income
generation assistance once the victims return to their
villages. The GOB had told STC-UK that it could no longer
perform anti-trafficking work at their sites in fourteen
townships near the border because STC-UK had no TIP-related
MOU. STC-UK continues its TIP work at these locations,
however, using the cover of its MOU on HIV/AIDS work. STC-UK
is conducting a study on migration into China, and plans to
expand into Burma's central dry zone to work with children
trafficked for entertainment, domestic work, and factory
labor.

-- World Vision (WV) receives victims returned across the
border in non-government repatriations and also retrieves
victims from government repatriation centers. Working with
village organizations including churches, NGOs and Buddhist
groups, WV assesses the village support base and provides
appropriate services. To strengthen organizations working in
areas with no STC or WV representation, WV trains local GOB
and NGO partners, primarily in the areas of family support
and needs assessments. The organization also works with
communities to help them develop and fund their own
anti-trafficking programs. WV described more opportunities
for direct intervention with victims, and noted that their UK
Department for International Development (DFID) funding will
expire in December 2005.

-- Representatives from the Australian government's Asian
Regional Cooperation to Prevent People Trafficking (ARCPPT)
project and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) briefed
about the establishment of seven GOB border liaison offices,
which can become platforms to fight human, as well as drug,
trafficking. ARCPPT also trains law enforcement personnel,
including members of the special anti-trafficking unit,
providing basic investigative skills, as well as specialized
skills in human trafficking. The GOB plans to post officers
at "hot spots" on the border. While pleased with the
addition of twenty new officers to the GOB's police
anti-trafficking unit, the ARCPPT regional trainer said these
new officers had no investigative background and that he
hoped to assume his intended role as operational advisor to
the unit soon.

-- Dr. Ei Kalya Moore, National Project Coordinator of the UN
Interagency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) Burma
Office, said her primary responsibilities are to act as the
Secretariat for the COMMIT (Coordinated Mekong Ministerial

SIPDIS
Initiative Against Trafficking); coordinate donor relations
and technical support; and monitor and evaluate the GOB's
development of its National Plan of Action on trafficking.
UNIAP also acts as the coordinating body between government
and non-government bodies in the Task Force for Repatriation
and coordinator of an INGO Working Group that meets quarterly
to define goals and coordinate strategies.

Work Became Harder After the October 2004 Purge
-------------- --

4. (C) Many NGO reps noted that their difficulties increased
after the October 2004 purge of former PM Khin Nyunt and many
members of the Military Intelligence (MI) network under him.
All interlocutors said that the new officials who replaced MI
exert much closer control over NGO activities and are
stricter on enforcing conditions in their MOUs (Ref C). Not
only have expatriates faced increased obstacles visiting
program sites, but even some local staff face travel
restrictions. For example, UNICEF officers said their
dialogue with the GOB about child soldiers had halted since
late last year, with no signs of an intent to resume. Also,
WV attributed the recent closure of its Mandalay drop-in
center for street children to the local Military Commander's
personal reaction to a perceived slight to his wife. WV has
since found it harder to get approval for its projects (Ref
B). Initial GOB cooperation with the ILO on forced labor
declined after May 2005, and the ILO Liaison Officer
reconfirmed that the army continues to commit some of the
worst of the country's labor abuses, including conscripting
child soldiers. The ILO reported on October 28 that the GOB
plan to end its cooperation with the international
organization. (Ref A).

INGOs Identify Needs
--------------

5. (C) NGO interlocutors acknowledged that significant
actions have been taken by the GOB to fight TIP, such as
government-to-government repatriations, GOB membership in
COMMIT, and acceptance of outside advice in drafting their
new TIP Law. The majority of substantive work, however, is
performed by international NGOs. Drawing on their experience
in the field, NGO representatives identified numerous areas
requiring more support, including direct assistance and
continuing care for victims, awareness raising activities,
development of educational and training materials, training
of personnel staffing repatriation centers, and the extension
of programs into the dry zone in central Burma. G/TIP has
provided approximately $216,500 in funding to UNIAP and World
Vision for multi-year programs that will expire in 2006.

Comment: Reaching Victims, Avoiding the Regime
-------------- -

6. (C) Burma remains a Tier 3 TIP state for a reason.
Although the most significant form of trafficking in Burma is
state-sanctioned forced labor, cross-border trafficking for
domestic servitude, commercial labor and the sex trade, along
with internal trafficking, continue apace. Despite passage
of the new TIP Law, the GOB does not have the capability or
resources to adequately prevent or prosecute trafficking
cases, or to protect and reintegrate victims. International
NGOs try hard to fill that gap. The USG can continue to
support effective anti-TIP efforts without benefiting the GOB
by working through international NGOs that provide rigorous
accountability and monitoring to ensure the funding is spent
directly on the victims. In spite of stricter controls, much
good work is continuing. The expiration of funding from
other sources provides an opportunity for the USG to continue
its efforts to demonstrate how this issue can effectively be
addressed in Burma and to keep it from becoming an even
greater problem for neighboring states. End comment.


7. (U) This cable was approved in draft by Mr.Taylor.
VILLAROSA