INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Tenth Annual Trafficking in Persons (Tip) Report - Cairo

Published: Tue 16 Feb 2010 03:03 PM
VZCZCXRO4573
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0211/01 0471508
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 161508Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0264
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 CAIRO 000211
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
PASS TO G/TIP, NEA/RA, NEA/ELA, INL, DRL, PRM, USAID, AND G LAURA PENA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB KTIP KCRM PGOV PREF PHUM KFRD KWMN KMCA SMIG
ASEC, EAID, EG
SUBJECT: Tenth Annual Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report - Cairo
Submission
REF: 10 STATE 2094
1. (U) This cable contains U.S. Embassy Cairo's response to
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) contribution requirements (reftel A).
The following text contains responses to paragraphs 23-29 in the
original tasking cable.
2. (U) THE COUNTRY'S TIP SITUATION:
-- A. Available sources of information include the press, the
Egyptian government, UN organizations, and independent TIP experts.
We regularly discuss TIP with officials in the Egyptian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFA), Ministry of State for Family and Population
(MSFP), the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Justice,
the International Organization for Migration and UNICEF.
In 2010, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) -
a unit of the MSFP - conducted a study of "summer marriages," a
practice whereby Egyptian girls and young women enter into
short-term marriages with tourists, many from other Arab countries.
In conjunction with the release of the study, the NCCM launched a
media campaign to raise societal and government awareness of the
practice, including establishing a "hotline" for reporting
instances of the practice and to counsel victims.
In 2010, the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in
Persons, composed of 16 agencies in the Government, entered into an
agreement with various UN agencies to provide financial support to
the National Center for Criminological and Social Research's
efforts to carry out a comprehensive study on TIP to determine the
nature and scope of the problem in Egypt. The anticipated
completion date for the study is the fall of 2010.
Our sources are generally reliable, but several are likely to
reflect the government's view of the situation.
-- B. Egypt is a country of origin for street children and others
trafficked domestically and there are reports that Egypt is used as
a transit country for Eastern European women being trafficked to
Israel.
Trafficking occurs within the country's borders, but does not occur
in territories outside the government's control. Street children
are the most vulnerable population. Street children are trafficked
locally where they may be forced to beg and participate in
prostitution. Some independent analysts estimated that there may
be as many as one million street children in Egypt. Government
experts believe the number to be lower and cite a study conducted
by the government in 2009, with financial and technical assistance
from the World Bank and the Arab Urban Development Institute, which
identified approximately 5200 street children in central Cairo.
There are many cases of child marriages where poor families, often
living in villages, marry their daughters -some below 18, the legal
age of marriage - to older men from the Arabian Gulf in return for
money, which is used to assist the families financially. There are
no statistics on the scope of this practice. Children are subject
to domestic servitude, but there are no reliable statistics.
Children are also recruited for seasonal agricultural work. Some
children employed in domestic and agricultural work may face
conditions of involuntary servitude, restrictions on movement,
non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse.
Instances of child sex tourism are reported in Cairo, Alexandria
and Luxor. There have been no changes in destinations for
trafficking.
CAIRO 00000211 002 OF 010
The Government of Egypt does not fully comply with minimum
standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is undertaking
significant actions to do so. In July 2007, the government
established the National Coordinating Committee to Combat and
Prevent Trafficking in Persons which improved inter-governmental
coordination on anti-trafficking initiatives. In 2009, the
Committee completed drafting a comprehensive law to criminalize all
forms of trafficking in persons. The draft is currently under
consideration by Egypt's Parliament, and Egypt's ruling National
Democratic Party announced in November 2009 that passage of the law
is one of the party's priorities for the 2009-2010 legislative
session.
The Egyptian Government in June 2008 passed amendments to its Child
Law, which criminalized trafficking of children. In 2009, two
marriage registrars were prosecuted under the law for facilitating
marriages of hundreds of under-age Egyptian girls, primarily to
foreigners. An additional 22 registrars were arrested and are
reportedly under investigation by Egypt's Public Prosecutor for
facilitating hundreds of other marriages, in violation of the Child
Law. In early 2010, five people were arrested for facilitating an
under-age marriage including the victim's parents, the "husband," a
marriage "broker" and the registrar.
Since the passage of the Child Law amendments, the Public
Prosecutor's office conducted training for 125 prosecutors working
on children's cases. The three-day training program, organized
with the assistance of USAID, defined trafficking in children,
addressed prosecutor responsibilities for protecting child victims,
educated prosecutors about street children, and addressed the need
to provide health and psychological care for child victims. The
Public Prosecutor's office prepared a handbook that was distributed
to all prosecutors working with children, which explains how to use
the child law amendments to prosecute cases.
In 2008, the National Committee for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM)
formed a special anti-trafficking unit using USD 1 million in USAID
funds made available through the Ministry of International
Cooperation. The establishment of this unit strengthened measures
to prevent and combat trafficking in children through: 1)
legislative reform, 2) capacity building of governmental and civil
society organizations to address issues related to child
trafficking; 3) raising public awareness and community
responsibility; 4) establishing a mechanism for data collection and
analysis; and 5) protecting and rehabilitating children at risk and
their families. NCCM's TIP Unit will also develop a national plan
of action to combat child trafficking. The unit's goal is to
provide protection and assistance to victims and children at risk,
rehabilitate victims of trafficking, provide training and
awareness, establish a database and coordinate activities of
governmental and non governmental bodies. The National Council for
Women also established a special unit for TIP to push for policies
to protect women from becoming trafficking victims.
-- C. The conditions that people are trafficked into depend on the
type of trafficking. Street children remain on the streets, but are
subject to abuse. There are reports that women from Eastern Europe
are moved from Cairo to the Sinai Peninsula and then to Israel.
Such reports are difficult to verify.
-- D. Street children, young females from economically
underprivileged families, female refugees, and Eastern European
females going to Israel through Egypt are most at risk of being
trafficked.
-- E. Traffickers are street children, family members, marriage
CAIRO 00000211 003 OF 010
brokers, and external organized crime groups (i.e. purportedly
moving women from Eastern Europe through Egypt to Israel). Victims
in Egypt are usually trafficked because they are vulnerable and
lack the ability to protect themselves, such as street children,
young girls from impoverished families, and refugees. Traffickers
may use money as a motivation for trafficking. In the case of early
marriages, young females (some, but not all, below the legal
marriage age) may accept marriage to older men, often from the
Gulf, in return for financial assistance to themselves and their
families. In the case of street children, traffickers may approach
potential victims to make them part of the group or the gang. There
are no national or official agencies that traffic victims.
3. (U) SETTING THE SCENE FOR THE GOVERNMENT'S ANTI-TIP EFFORTS:
-- A. The government now recognizes the trafficking of street
children and "summer" marriages as domestic slavery issues.
Government officials previously noted that Egypt has been used as a
transit country for Eastern European women trafficked to Israel.
The government will host the first visit to Egypt by the UN Special
Rapportuer on Trafficking in Person's in April 2010.
-- B. Multiple government agencies are involved in anti-trafficking
efforts especially under the auspices of the National Coordinating
Committee to Combat and Prevent Trafficking in Persons. The lead
agency for the Committee is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, 15 agencies are also involved including the Ministry of
Justice, Public Prosecutor's Office, the National Council for
Childhood and Motherhood, National Council for Criminological and
Social Studies, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Social
Solidarity, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Health, Ministry of
Information, Ministry of Manpower and Migration, Ministry of
Education and the National Council for Women.
-- C. The lack of financial resources is a significant impediment
to the implementation of trafficking laws.
Additionally, the lack of training for first responders (police)
has impeded implementation, although in 2008 and 2009 IOM and
Egypt's Ministry of Interior collaborated to provide TIP training
to police officials. Prosecutors and judges could also use
training to help prosecute cases under trafficking laws, although
in 2009 the Public Prosecutor's office successfully prosecuted two
cases involving marriage registrars and a case involving
prostitution and street children.
Egypt lacks data and statistics on the nature and scope of
trafficking, although in 2009, as discussed above, the government,
in cooperation with UN agencies, initiated a national study to
evaluate the scope of the issue. Overall corruption is a problem,
but it is not directly related to trafficking in persons. The
government lacks resources to aid victims, but in 2009, in
cooperation with the IOM, the Ministry of Health allocated public
hospital facilities and personnel to establish a trafficking
victim's resource center. Egypt's Ministry of State for Family and
Population (MSFP), working with NGOs, established in August 2009 in
Cairo's low-income Dar Al Salaam area a rehabilitation center for
victims of child trafficking.
-- D. The government does not systematically monitor
anti-trafficking efforts in terms of prosecution, prevention and
protection.
--E. The government has a well-developed birth registration and
national identity card system. The 2008 Child Law amendments
CAIRO 00000211 004 OF 010
addressed an inadequacy in the system by facilitating the
registration of births out of wedlock. The NCCM has a national
program to encourage poor, rural families to register births.
--F. The government is unable to systematically maintain and
gather data on TIP and related prosecutions, in part because of the
lack of comprehensive legislation. Local TIP experts rely on
anecdotal and press accounts of prosecutions.
4. (U) INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS:
-- A. The Child law: Enacted in 1996. It was law no. 12 of 1996 and
amended to law number 126 of 2008
Child Law Amendments:
Article 7 to penal code provision no. 291: Violating the rights of
a child to be protected from trafficking is unlawful. This includes
trafficking, sexual abuse, commercial or economic abuse and use of
a child in research and scientific experiments. Whoever sells, buys
or presents a child for sale, and whoever sells the child as a
slave, assaults a child sexually or commercially or uses a child in
forced labor or for any illegal gains is punishable by at least 5
years of imprisonment and a fine no less than 50,000 LE and not
more than 200,000 LE. (USD 9,000-36,000). The penalty applies even
if the act was committed abroad. The same penalty applies on those
who incite such acts even if the crime was not committed based on
this incitement. The penalty is multiplied if committed by an
organized transnational crime group.
Child Law
Article 64: Takes into consideration the non-violation of provision
18(b) of the Education Law no 139 of 1981. It is unlawful to employ
a child under the age of 15 and it is unlawful to train a child
before reaching the age of 13. The Governor of a specific
Governorate can ask the Minister of Education to permit children
aged 12-14 to engage in seasonal work as long as it does not
affect the children's health, growth and school attendance.
Article 65: It is unlawful to employ a child in any work that can
by its nature or its conditions risk the health, well-being or
morality of a child. It is particularly unlawful to employ a child
in the worst forms of child labor as stipulated in the agreement
number 182 of 1999. A child should be subject to medical check-up
before employment. The medical check-up should be conducted at
least once a year. The employment must not lead to pain, physical
or psychological impairments to the child and not deprive a child
from the right to education, leisure, development. The employer is
obligated to provide health insurance for the child and to protect
him/her from any harm that could take place during work. A child's
annual leave is 7 days longer than adults and should not be delayed
or canceled.
Article 66: A child should not be employed for more than 6 hours a
day and there should be at least one break for lunch or rest for at
least one hour during the day. A child should not work for more
than 4 hours consecutively. A child should not work overtime or
during weekly or official holidays.
Prostitution law: Enacted in 1961 and called the Law for Combating
CAIRO 00000211 005 OF 010
Prostitution.
Prostitution Law:
Article 1(a): Any person who incites a male or a female to
practice debauchery or prostitution or tempts them to engage in
these practices is punished with a minimum of one year of
imprisonment and a maximum of three years, and a fine between 100
LE and 300 LE (USD 18-55).
Article 1 (b): If the victim is below 21 years of age the
imprisonment should be at least one year and maximum five years.
The same penalty applies to any individual who uses, deceives, or
encourages a male or a female to commit debauchery or prostitution
through deception, force, threat, misuse of authority or any means
of coercion. The penalty also applies to whoever keeps a male or a
female without their consent in a place for prostitution or
debauchery.
Article 3: Whoever incites or facilitates a male or a female below
the age of 21 to travel outside Egypt to work in debauchery or
prostitution is punished by imprisonment of at least one year and
at most five years, and a fine between 100 LE and 500 LE. (USD
18-91).
Article 9: Imprisonment of at least three months and a maximum of
three years, and a fine between 25 LE to 300 LE (USD 5-55) applies
to:
Any person who rents or provides a place for prostitution or
debauchery.
Any person who furnishes a venue that facilitates prostitution or
debauchery whether with the person's consent or by allowing others
to encourage prostitution or debauchery.
Any person who habitually practices debauchery or prostitution.
When arrested, the person may be sent for medical examination. If
the person proves to have any venereal infectious diseases, he/she
will be kept in a medical facility until he/she heals from the
disease. A verdict maybe issued to put the convicted person in a
special institution after serving the sentence until an
administrative entity orders his/her release. However, the person
may not be kept more than three years.
Venues used for prostitution or debauchery will be closed. The
closing duration should not exceed three months.
On June 7, 2008, Egypt passed amendments to the current Child Law
criminalizing the trafficking of children. Under the child law
amendments, an individual who sells, buys, or offers a child for
sale may be sentenced to at least five years' imprisonment and
fined up to LE 200,000 ($36,000).
A Ministry of Justice decree bans marriages of Egyptian girls to
foreigners, if the age gap is more than 25 years. The government
prosecutes trafficking-related cases under laws prohibiting
commercial sexual exploitation, with penalties of up to seven years
CAIRO 00000211 006 OF 010
imprisonment and forced labor.
The government has drafted and submitted to Parliament a
comprehensive trafficking law. The law will criminalize all forms
of trafficking in persons and will define all people as possible
victims, not just children.
-- B. Prostitution law: Enacted in 1961 and called the Law for
Combating Prostitution.
Prostitution Law:
Article 1(a): Any person who incites a male or a female to
practice debauchery or prostitution or tempts them to engage in
these practices is punished with a minimum of one year of
imprisonment and a maximum of three years, and a fine between 100
LE and 300 LE (USD 18-55).
Article 1 (b): If the victim is below 21 years of age the
imprisonment should be at least one year and maximum five years.
The same penalty applies to any individual who uses, deceives, or
encourages a male or a female to commit debauchery or prostitution
through deception, force, threat, misuse of authority or any means
of coercion. The penalty also applies to whoever keeps a male or a
female without their consent in a place for prostitution or
debauchery.
Article 3: Whoever incites or facilitates a male or a female below
the age of 21 to travel outside Egypt to work in debauchery or
prostitution is punished by imprisonment of at least one year and
at most five years, and a fine between 100 LE and 500 LE. (USD
18-91).
Article 9: Imprisonment of at least three months and a maximum of
three years, and a fine between 25 LE to 300 LE (USD 5-55) applies
to:
Any person who rents or provides a place for prostitution or
debauchery.
Any person who furnishes a venue that facilitates prostitution or
debauchery whether with the person's consent or by allowing others
to encourage prostitution or debauchery.
Any person who habitually practices debauchery or prostitution.
When arrested, the person may be sent for medical examination. If
the person proves to have any venereal infectious diseases, he/she
will be kept in a medical facility until he/she heals from the
disease. A verdict maybe issued to put the convicted person in a
special institution after serving the sentence until an
administrative entity orders his/her release. However, the person
may not be kept more than three years.
Venues for prostitution or debauchery will be closed. The closing
duration should not exceed three months.
CAIRO 00000211 007 OF 010
-- C. The Unified Labor Law does not define "forced labor."
Therefore, there are no specific provisions against it. The
Egyptian Government investigates labor recruiters and agents. If
there is any wrongdoing, the case may be referred for prosecution
under various penal code provisions, including "swindling." There
are occasional reports of confiscation of passports of foreign
workers, although such reports are limited because, according to
independent TIP experts, Egypt's large labor force and low wages
makes Egypt a relatively unattractive destination for labor
migrants and there is no formal labor sponsorship (Kafala) system
in the country.
-- D. Those who exploit, use or incite victims under 21-years old
to practice prostitution shall be sentenced to not less than one
year and not more than five years imprisonment. Anyone who uses
any means of coercion, threat, or abuses this authority over the
victim in order to exploit him/her sexually shall be subject to not
less than one year and not more than seven years in prison. The
maximum penalty level of seven years imprisonment is used if the
perpetrators committed crimes against two or more victims.
According to article 267 of the Penal Code, rape is punishable by
15 years in prison if the perpetrator uses any means for coercion
or threat, 25 years in prison if committed by family member or
guardian, and death if accompanied by the abduction of the victim.
-- E. Since May 2009, there have been a number of high profile
prosecutions for trafficking related offenses. In May 2009, an
Alexandria court, using the 2008 amendment to Egypt's Child Law and
other penal code provisions, convicted two men of forcing eight
street children into prostitution. The court sentenced one
trafficker to life and the other to fifteen years in prison. In
October 2009, Egyptian courts, also using the 2008 Child Law
amendments, convicted and sentenced to prison two marriage
registrars for illegally facilitating the marriages of more than
100 under-age girls to foreign men (ref B).
In November, local press reported that as part of an on-going
investigation into under-age marriages, an additional 21 marriage
registrars - suspected of illegally recording over 800 such
marriages in 2009 - had been arrested.
In February, the Public Prosecutor initiated criminal proceedings
against five suspects for facilitating the marriage of an under-age
girl to an older man from Saudi Arabia. The defendants include the
victims' parents, the Saudi "husband," a marriage "broker," and a
lawyer who facilitated the marriage. All were reportedly charged
with violating the Child Law.
-- F. During the year, the NCCM continued to provide TIP training
to government employees. NCCM's TIP Unit trained an estimated 500
prosecutors, judges, police officers Ministry of Tourism employees,
police officers, labor inspectors and social workers.
--G. The Prosecutor General told us that the Egyptian government
will cooperate with other governments in the investigation and
prosecution of trafficking cases.
--H. The government provided no specific information on
extraditions.
-- I. There is no evidence of government involvement in or
tolerance of trafficking, on a local or institutional level.
CAIRO 00000211 008 OF 010
-- J. There is no evidence government officials are involved in
trafficking.
--K. There were no allegations that Egyptian peacekeepers were
involved in trafficking.
-- L. There are anecdotal reports from independent experts of
child sex tourism in Cairo, Alexandria, and Luxor but no statistics
are available. There are no reports of Egyptians involved in
extraterritorial sex tourism.
5. (U) PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS:
-- A. The Government is constrained by lack of resources. There is
a medical file started for each child victim. The Ministry of
Social Solidarity and NGO's provide basic health care for victims.
El Orman Orphanage, a private facility operated by an NGO, houses
children in need of protection.
-- B. There are care facilities, although resources may not be
sufficient to meet the needs of all victims. In 2009, the Ministry
of Health (MoH) entered into an agreement with the IOM to establish
a trafficking victim's care center in a Cairo public hospital,
staffed with MoH employees trained in identifying and assisting
trafficking victims. The center, due to open in March 2010, will
serve as a pilot for other centers and will provide care to both
domestic and foreign trafficking victims. Egypt's Ministry of
State for Family and Population (MSFP), working with NGOs,
established in August 2009 in Cairo's low-income Dar Al Salaam area
a rehabilitation center for victims of child trafficking.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity provides shelters, but they are
only open during the day, and do not provide residence for victims
at night. Juvenile detention centers are in bad condition, and
juveniles may be subject to incarceration with adults.
Street children generally refuse to stay in shelters. Child victims
may also be referred to their guardians. Egypt's Ministry of State
for Family and Population (MSFP), working with local NGOs,
established in August 2009 in Cairo's low-income Dar Al Salaam area
a rehabilitation center for victims of child trafficking.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity offers day-time shelters. In
2008, NCCM launched a special center for rehabilitation of victims
of trafficking in persons. Other public shelters such as Hope
Village provide assistance to victims. NCCM also operates a free
hotline that operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Street
children and victims of violence and abuse can call to receive
assistance.
-- C. The Ministry of Social Solidarity and NGO's provide basic
health care for victims. NCCM receives partial funding from the
government, but it is a quasi-governmental body.
-- D. Foreign trafficking victims may be returned to their
countries of origin through their embassies in Cairo, but they are
not treated as criminals.
CAIRO 00000211 009 OF 010
-- E. The government does not provide longer-term sheltering or
housing benefits to victims. It also does not currently provide
resources to aid the victims in rebuilding their lives, although
the MOH is scheduled to open a treatment center for victims in
March 2010.
-- F. The government does not have a formal referral process to
transfer victims detained, arrested, or placed in protective
custody by law enforcement authorities to institutions that provide
short- or long-term care. However, according to the government
judges may make such referrals.
-- G. There are no estimates on the number of trafficking victims.
Some independent experts estimate that there may be as many as one
million street children in Egypt who are potentially at risk for
trafficking, but there are no statistics on the actual trafficking
cases among street children or other forms of trafficking. The
government is currently carrying out a comprehensive study,
scheduled for completion in fall 2009, to determine the scope of
human trafficking.
-- H. The government's law enforcement, immigration, and social
services personnel do not have a formal system of proactively
identifying victims of trafficking. However, in 2008 and 2009, the
IOM conducted trafficking victim identification training programs
for officials of Egypt's State Security Investigative Service.
-- I. There is an effort under way to educate police and first
responders to the need to respect the rights of and protect victims
of trafficking. The IOM's training of police and the Prosecutor
General's Handbook are two examples of this effort. However, in
practice street children and prostitutes may be treated as
criminals rather than victims especially by the security apparatus.
-- J. The government encourages street children to assist in the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenses. However, in
other cases the government may not push victims to testify due to
familial and societal ramifications.
-- K. NCCM TIP Unit began training for government officials on TIP
focusing on prosecutors and judges. NCCM's TIP Unit also completed
a manual to spread awareness of the selling and trafficking of new
born babies in hospitals. NCCM will follow up with training to
nurses, doctors and psycho-social specialists in hospitals.
There is no immigration control for identification of potential
victims at the airport.
-- L. The government does not provide assistance, such as medical
aid, shelter, or financial help, to its nationals who are
repatriated as victims of trafficking.
-- M. IOM is working through the MOH with trafficking victims.
UNICEF works with street children, who are at risk for becoming
trafficking victims.
6. (U) PREVENTION:
-- A. There is no organized campaign to prevent trafficking.
However, there has been wide media reporting on trafficking in
persons, much of it related to the efforts of First Lady Suzanne
CAIRO 00000211 010 OF 010
Mubarak.
-- B. The government does not monitor immigration and emigration
patterns for evidence of trafficking.
-- C. The National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons
led by Ministry of Foreign Affairs was established to coordinate
and communicate between various agencies on the issue. It has also
been charged with drafting the comprehensive trafficking law.
-- D. The National Commission and NCCM's TIP Unit both are
formulating a national plan of action to address trafficking in
persons. IOM and UN agencies have been included in the process.
-- E: We have no information on government actions to reduce the
demand for commercial sex acts.
-- F. Egyptian nationals do not often participate as consumers in
child sex trafficking.
-- G. No Information. However, we have no reports on Egyptian
troops in UNAMID or UNMIS being involved in trafficking.
7. (U) Partnerships
-- A. First Lady Suzanne Mubarak - through her International
Women's Peace Initiative - is a leader internationally in the fight
against human trafficking.
--B. We are not aware off government efforts to assist other
countries' anti-trafficking efforts.
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