INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Cambodia: Tip Interim Assessment Report

Published: Mon 4 Dec 2006 08:08 AM
VZCZCXRO5044
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHPF #2131/01 3380808
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 040808Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7672
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 002131
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
FOR G/TIP, EAP/MLS and EAP/RSP
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL KWMN CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA: TIP INTERIM ASSESSMENT REPORT
REF: A. STATE 178111
B. PHNOM PENH 1646
1. (U) Embassy Phnom Penh submits the following submission as an
interim assessment of Cambodia's progress in fighting Trafficking in
Persons in 2006.
Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions
----------------------------------------
2. (SBU) During the first nine months of 2006, the Cambodian
national police arrested 58 human traffickers and pimps and turned
them over to the Cambodian judiciary for possible trial. Though
this compares unfavorably to 111 perpetrators arrested in 2005, Post
attributes the decreased numbers to the administrative problems that
the Phnom Penh Municipal Police had in the first five months of
2006, when leadership and senior management changes unrelated to TIP
slowed law enforcement activity on all fronts. It must be noted
that 40 of the arrests took place in Phnom Penh versus 18 arrests
outside of Phnom Penh. Post believes that this is a result of
better policing, more focused political attention, and diplomatic
pressure to address the problem in Phnom Penh.
Improved Courts
---------------
3. (SBU) During the first nine months of the year, Post statistics
showed at least 34 successful convictions, with sentences ranging
from three to 24 years. NGOs reported improvements in the Phnom
Penh Municipal Court's administration of human trafficking cases;
specifically, the court is better organized in handling
trafficking-related cases and presiding judges employed
child-friendly methods when questioning child victims. Post has
noticed cases of traffickers and sexual perpetrators being convicted
on multiple counts and given consecutive sentences for their crimes
-- a positive improvement since last year.
Arrests of Corrupt Officials Complicit in Trafficking
--------------------------------------------- --------
4. (SBU) In January 2006, Meng Say, the Chief of Phnom Penh
Municipal Police Anti-Trafficking in Persons unit, was suspended and
charged with TIP-related corruption; though an arrest warrant was
issued, the accused escaped arrest and remains at large. In August,
three police officers of the Ministry of Interior's (MOI)
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Department were convicted of
trafficking-related corruption (see reftel B ). However, only one
of the three has actually been imprisoned; of the other two, one
officer remains at large and other officer is still currently in his
position. In September 2006, a MOI spokesperson stated that the
officer must be formally removed from his position before he can be
arrested and forced to serve a prison sentence but Post is not aware
of any further action by the MOI or the court to do this. The
National Police reported three additional arrests of low-ranking
military officers for trafficking-related crimes during 2006.
Progress in Closing Establishments
-----------------------------------
5. (U) Police statistics indicate that 32 establishments that
offer victims of trafficking for sale have been closed during the
first ten months of 2006. Earlier in the year and at the request of
the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, the NGO International Justice
Mission (IJM) drafted a plan to shut down establishments offering
trafficking victims on Phnom Penh's Street 63. Though no action to
date has been taken on this plan, the Cambodian National Police
stated recently that they plan to conduct police operations there.
Cooperation between Government and NGOs
---------------------------------------
6. (SBU) On September 5, the National Police signed a MOU with the
IJM on cooperation to combat TIP. The MOU allows IJM to conduct
undercover investigations, which has proven an effective technique
for identifying establishments that offer trafficking victims and
underage girls. An agreement on the guidelines for implementation
and cooperation between concerned government institutions and victim
support agencies in human trafficking cases is also under
discussion.
Status of Anti-TIP Law
----------------------
7. (SBU) Although Cambodia adopted an anti-TIP law in 1996, the
Cambodian Ministry of Justice started work on a new law in 1999
because the earlier law had no definition of trafficking included.
Debate ensued between the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the
Ministry of Justice regarding the Palermo Protocol and how to
harmonize its language with that of the draft RGC law. During the
PHNOM PENH 00002131 002 OF 002
review process, the Cambodian Ministry of Women's Affairs found that
the draft TIP law was incompatible with the new draft penal code.
Further, in some cases, the draft TIP law reduced maximum sentences
for convicted sex offenders. RGC officials and donor community
representatives are working to modify the draft TIP law to alleviate
these concerns. Post understands the draft law may soon be ready
for Council of Ministers review.
PROTECT ACT Concerns
--------------------
8. (SBU) One of our areas of great success and cooperation with
Cambodian law enforcement authorities has centered on RGC support
for the PROTECT Act cases. In recent months, however, we have seen
delays; with respect to timely issuance of deportation requests so
that subjects may be removed to U.S. jurisdiction. Any delays while
in Cambodian detention raise the prospect of release. Terry Darrell
Smith, an Amcit pedophile, and his girlfriend were released on bail
on August 31 from jail in Sihanoukville on medical grounds. He was
rearrested on September 20 in Phnom Penh and deported on October 14
to the U.S. The USG is trying to deport another Amcit pedophile;
however, the RGC is claiming that he must be tried for crimes in
Cambodia first. Amcit Terry Smith was still facing charges in
Cambodia when he was deported. Post has raised the issue with
National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy and we await further RGC
action on our request.
MUSSOMELI
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