wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06TELAVIV1391 2006-04-06 15:11:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

RECENT GOI PROGRESS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST

pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TEL AVIV 001391 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR G/TIP: GAYATRI PATEL; NEA/IPA: JOSHUA DAVIS;
NEA/RA: JOHN MENARD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB IS KCRM HUMANITARIAN AID ISRAELI SOCIETY GOI INTERNAL
SUBJECT: RECENT GOI PROGRESS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS




1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Director
General Aharon Abramovitch told the Ambassador April 3 that
the GOI seeks to abolish all forms of trafficking in persons.
De facto Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Rahel Gershuni
reported that the government's inter-ministerial
anti-trafficking committee plans to educate police officers
about the importance of pursuing more criminal indictments
instead of administrative penalties when confronting
employers that abuse their foreign workers. The committee
has recommended creation of a coordinator position within the
Israeli National Police (INP) to handle cases of employers
that abuse their workers. The Ambassador stressed to DG
Abramovitch the importance of creating an official anti-TIP
coordinator position, and Abramovitch replied that technical
difficulties that have caused delays should be resolved
within "a few weeks." The Ambassador replied affirmatively
to a request from Abramovitch for USG support for a one-day,
anti-TIP seminar that Gershuni has planned for July. After
the meeting, the Ambassador informed Gershuni that the
Department has selected her as a "hero" in the fight against
trafficking. END SUMMARY.



--------------------------



--------------------------


DIRECTOR-GENERAL VOICES GOI COMMITMENT TO FIGHT TRAFFICKING


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (SBU) Ministry of Justice Director General Aharon
Abramovitch told the Ambassador that the GOI seeks to abolish
all forms of trafficking in persons. He said that
trafficking is a relatively new phenomenon in Israel, but he
emphasized that "we as a country will not accept trafficking
as a phenomenon that can continue."



--------------------------

--
PROGRESS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST LABOR TRAFFICKING


--------------------------

--



3. (SBU) Gershuni said that the GOI's inter-ministerial
anti-trafficking committee has met four times already this
year specifically to address the issue of labor trafficking.
She reported that the committee has decided to focus its
efforts in the coming months particularly on educating police
officers about the importance of pursuing more criminal
indictments instead of administrative penalties when
confronting employers that abuse their foreign workers. The
committee has also recommended creation of a coordinator
position within the Israeli National Police (INP) to handle
cases of employers that abuse their workers. Gershuni added
that the Supreme Court ruling of March 30 that prohibits the
current practice of "binding" foreign workers to one employer
will significantly decrease the power of potentially abusive
employers.



4. (SBU) Gershuni said that she is aware of approximately 15
to 20 cases of labor trafficking in 2005, and noted that
while she may be unaware of other cases, she firmly believes
that fewer than 100 instances of labor trafficking occurred
in Israel during the past year. She explained that she
perceives a difference between conditions that violate
workers' rights and conditions that amount to labor
trafficking. She claimed that trafficking in persons for the
purposes of labor occurs rarely in Israel, while abuse of
foreign workers unfortunately occurs more often. The
Ambassador noted that, by definition, traffickers deprive a
"trafficked" person of the agency or power to change basic
aspects of his personal circumstances; it seems possible, he
said, that if the GOI claims that about 70,000 foreign
workers resided in Israel during 2005, then more than 100
were trafficked.



--------------------------


PROGRESS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST SEX TRAFFICKING


--------------------------





5. (SBU) Gershuni reported that the MOJ will issue April 10
to the INP and the Immigration Administration (IA) a new
policy directive intended to help identify trafficking
victims in Israel's detention centers. According to the new
policy, Gershuni explained, police officers and IA officials
must now fill out a "checklist" every time they detain a
foreigner in Israel. The checklist, Gershuni said, contains
questions about the detainee's country of origin and point of
entry, among many other details. Judges at the detention
center must then review the checklist to see whether the
detainee matches a profile of trafficking victims. If so,
Gershuni said, then the judge must immediately contact the
Legal Aid office in the MOJ. Gershuni called poloff April 6
to report that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni just approved new
guidelines to provide free legal representation, through the
Legal Aid office, to any persons in Israel's detention
centers who are suspected victims of trafficking. (Note: The
government previously provided this free legal aid only to
trafficking victims residing in the shelter for trafficked
women. End note.)



6. (SBU) Gershuni reported that these efforts also have the
full and enthusiastic support of Boaz Okon, president of the
Israeli Courts Administration. She said that she hopes these
changes "will create a synergy between immigration officials,
police, and judges so that many more trafficking victims can
be identified." Since the new policies may lead to the
identification of a greater number of sex trafficking victims
in the detention centers, Gershuni explained, a team
comprising the inter-ministerial anti-trafficking committee,
the Ministry of Public Welfare, NGOs, and the shelter staff
has begun seeking additional housing for victims of sex
trafficking, since the shelter only has space for 50 people.
According to Gershuni, they are currently examining the
possibility of secure "half-way houses" similar to those used
by the GOI to accommodate victims of domestic violence.



7. (SBU) Abramovitch added that the GOI may begin paying to
send back to their countries of origin victims who request to
recover at home, and then pay again to fly the victims back
to Israel in order to testify against their traffickers. In
the past, Gershuni noted, the GOI generally required the
victims to stay in Israel pending the trial of their
traffickers. Gershuni also said that she will be meeting
April 11 with the director general of the Population
Administration, Yissachar Katsir, who leads the process of
devising and implementing visa policy for trafficking
victims.



--------------------------


GOI ANTI-TIP COORDINATOR POSITION


--------------------------





8. (SBU) The Ambassador stressed to DG Abramovitch the
importance of creating an official coordinator position in
order to improve collaboration within the government and to
establish a single entry-point for ideas and complaints from
outside the government. The Ambassador then asked what has
delayed the official appointment of a coordinator, since the
government budgeted for the position in May 2005.
Abramovitch first cited "technical difficulties," but then
said that these should be resolved within "a few weeks."
Abramovitch noted that the government has also budgeted for a
part-time administrative assistant for Gershuni, as well as
two law students to provide research and support. (Note: The
director general of the MOJ heads the inter-ministerial
committee of directors general that oversees GOI
anti-trafficking efforts. NGOs and de facto coordinator
Gershuni have told poloff that Abramovitch has the power to
ensure the creation of the official coordinator position, or
to delay its creation. End note.)



9. (SBU) Gershuni added that she believes that the
government should create two coordinator positions -- one to
fight sex trafficking, and one to prevent labor trafficking.
She reported that the foreign workers ombudsman, Iris Mayan,
has already begun to move beyond her official duties to play
the role of unofficial coordinator of the GOI fight against
employers who abuse their foreign workers. Abramovitch noted
that Gershuni also began her coordinating work by quietly
acting first, and then seeking permission later. The
Ambassador asked whether the soon-to-be-established
anti-trafficking coordinator position might lead, in the
future, to creation of an anti-trafficking agency or
authority. Abramovitch replied that he hoped that
trafficking would be abolished before the GOI needed such an
institution. He added that situating the anti-trafficking
coordinator in the MOJ has the significant advantage of
proximity to the Attorney General.



--------------------------


GOI ANTI-TIP SEMINAR


--------------------------





10. (SBU) Abramovitch asked for USG support for the one-day,
anti-TIP seminar that Gershuni has planned for July.
Gershuni told poloff in several previous meetings that she
views this seminar as a major opportunity both to create
pressure on the government to appoint an official
coordinator, and to announce publicly the identity and role
of this coordinator. She said that she plans to invite to
the seminar officials from approximately 18 government
ministries as well as leading NGOs and selected journalists.
(Note: Gershuni herself will likely be appointed to serve as
the GOI's first official coordinator. End note.) The
Ambassador noted that this seminar will be a good opportunity
for the newly empowered -- and official -- anti-TIP
coordinator to increase momentum in the fight against
trafficking. Abramovitch requested that the USG provide
official support to the seminar by recruiting a high-profile
speaker from Washington, and that we provide a minimal
financial contribution. He noted that the speaker is more
important to the GOI than the grant. The Ambassador
communicated USG support for this seminar and said we will
try our best to provide both a speaker and a small grant.



--------------------------


ANTI-TIP "HERO" AWARD


--------------------------





11. (SBU) The Ambassador informed Gershuni and Abramovitch
that the State Department has selected Gershuni as a "hero"
in the fight against trafficking. Gershuni said that she
felt honored, but that NGOs deserve this recognition. Poloff
explained that while the NGOs do excellent and vital work,
Gershuni has demonstrated that committed individuals can work
effectively from within government to fight against
trafficking. She expressed her thanks and accepted the terms
of the award.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************
JONES