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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09MUSCAT287 2009-04-06 13:01:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Muscat
Cable title:  

OMAN ANTI-TRAFFICKING COMMITTEE CONVENES

Tags:   PGOV PHUM KCRM KTIP MU 
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VZCZCXRO0484
OO RUEHDE
DE RUEHMS #0287 0961259
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O R 061301Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0301
INFO GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHMS/AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L MUSCAT 000287 

SIPDIS SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ARP AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019-04-06
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KCRM KTIP MU
SUBJECT: OMAN ANTI-TRAFFICKING COMMITTEE CONVENES

REF: A) MUSCAT 201; B) 08 MUSCAT 830

CLASSIFIED BY: Gary A. Grappo, Ambassador, U.S. Department of State,
U.S. Embassy - Muscat; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)



1. (U) According to local Arabic and English language press
reports, Oman's National Committee for Combating Trafficking in
Persons (TIP) -- which was established by the Sultanate's
comprehensive anti-trafficking law enacted in November 2008 (ref B)
-- held its inaugural meeting on April 1, 2009. Senior
representatives from the following government ministries and
agencies attended: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of
Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Legal Affairs, Ministry of
Information, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development,
Ministry of Manpower, Public Prosecution, National Commission for
Human Rights, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Royal
Oman Police (ROP). [Note: The names of the individual
representatives were not announced. Based upon an examination of a
photograph of the committee in the media, post believes that most
are Under Secretaries or equivalent in rank. End Note.] The
chairman of the committee, ROP Inspector General Lieutenant General
Malik bin Suleiman al-Ma'amari, who is also a government minister,
presided over the meeting.



2. (U) Talking to the press afterwards, al-Ma'amari stated that
the committee will have its own "secretariat" and will complete a
draft action plan within three months to coordinate national
efforts to combat trafficking. He also revealed that there were 11
suspects, seven Omanis and four expatriates, in the first
trafficking case being investigated and prosecuted under the
Sultanate's new anti-TIP law (ref A). The female victims in this
case, he added, were residing and receiving care at an ROP
"accommodation center" and were allowed to leave the premises on
monitored outings for shopping and entertainment.



3. (U) In a separate interview with local, privately-owned Arabic
daily "al-Shabiba" concerning the ongoing TIP case, Oman's Attorney
General, Hussein bin Ali al-Hilali, stated that Omani and
expatriate men were being charged for bringing 16 foreign women
into Oman as their wives and then forcing them into prostitution.
He also noted that the government was looking into cases of South
Asian housemaids being "guided" into prostitution by nationals of
their respective countries resident in Oman. The Attorney General
further announced that the ROP and Public Prosecutor had
established a hot line for Omanis and expatriates to report
suspected instances of trafficking.



4. (C) Comment: The meeting of the anti-TIP committee and its
stated intent to finalize a draft action plan against trafficking
are welcome steps forward in Oman's efforts to address this
important issue. Al-Ma'amari is a solid choice for committee
chairman and can be expected to take the committee's
responsibilities seriously. Perhaps even more noteworthy are
al-Ma'amari's and al-Hilali's comments to the press. For a country
which not that long ago avoided public discussion of TIP in Oman
(besides denial of a potential problem), it is rather remarkable
that officials are now openly acknowledging the presence of
trafficking in the Sultanate. The exact details of the TIP case
currently before the courts remain unclear. At least one of the
defendants could be an Omani government employee who issued visas
for the female victims brought to Oman as "wives" and later coerced
into prostitution. Post was not aware of a new hotline for the
reporting of trafficking and has contacted the ROP for further
information. End Comment.
GRAPPO