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Viewing cable 09CAIRO2236, EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT ASSERTS TIP PROGRESS TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO2236 2009-12-03 12:12 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO6379
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #2236/01 3371229
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031229Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4369
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 002236 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/03/2029 
TAGS: KTIP PHUM KCRM KWMN ELAB PGOV UN EG
SUBJECT: EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT ASSERTS TIP PROGRESS TO 
VISITING AMBASSADOR 
 
REF: A. CAIRO 2083 B. CAIRO 1967 Classified By: Economic-Political Minister-Counselor Donald A. Blome for reason 1.4 (d).
1. (SBU) Ambassador at Large for Combating Human Trafficking Luis CDeBaca visited Egypt November 13 through 15 and met with GoE officials and others involved in Egypt's anti-trafficikng efforts, including Egypt's Public Prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, Egypt's Minister of State for Family and Population Moshira Khattab, representatives of the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, the International Organization for Migration's Regional Representative for the Middle East Shahidul Haq, and Dr. Aleya Hammad, a member of the board of directors of the Suzanne Mubarak Women's International Peace Movement. ----------------------------------------- Public Prosecutor on Pursuing Traffickers -----------------------------------------

2. (C) Public Prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, a presidential appointee with nation-wide responsibility for Egypt's prosecutors, stressed his offices' willingness to prosecute trafficking cases (Note: In October, using the 2008 amendments to Egypt's Child Law which criminilize trafficking offenses involving children, Egyptian courts convicted two marriage registrars of facilitating the marriages of several hundred under-age Egyptian girls to older men from the Persian Gulf region (ref A). In May, an Alexandria court, using the Child Law's anti-traffcking provisions and other criminal laws, convicted two Egyptian men of forcing eight "street children" into prostitution. The Alexandria court sentenced one defendant to life in prison and the other to fifteen years. End note). Mahmoud noted that his office is now developing expertise in prosecuting trafficking offenses, both under the Child Law and other criminal laws. Mahmoud and accompanying staff members said that with the anticipated passage of Egypt's comprehensive anti-trafficking law, his office will have another tool and welcomed international cooperation, especially with U.S. prosecutors, on further developing the ability of Egyptian prosecutors to pursue trafficking cases. --------------------------------------------- - IOM Sees Evolution of GOE Views on Trafficking --------------------------------------------- -

3. (C) Shahidul Haq, the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) Cairo-based Regional Representative for the Middle East, said that when he arrived in Egypt two and a half years ago, the GOE denied that Egypt had an internal trafficking problem. According to Haq, Egypt has always been the "best in the Middle East" in terms of international efforts to combat trafficking - through its ratification of international anti-trafficking conventions and first lady Suzanne Mubarak's efforts - but there is now growing acceptance among GoE officials and civil society that Egypt has an internal problem. In 2007, Egypt formed an inter-ministerial National Commission for Combating Human Trafficking, which Haq said is making progress, although "it could be faster." He praised a number of the commission's accomplishments including drafting comprehensive anti-traffcking legislation expected to be considered in the current session of Egypt's Parliament, enabling the IOM to train officers of Egypt's elite State Security Investigations Service (SSIS) on investigating trafficking offenses (ref B), and commissioning a comprehensive study of the extent of human trafficking in Egypt. (Note: In October 2009, the GOE's National Center for Sociological and Criminal Research (NCSCR), Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations entered into an agreement whereby the UN will provide financial ($100,000) and technical support to the NCSCR as it carries out the first comprehensive study of internal trafficking in Egypt. The NCSCR study is scheduled to be completed in October 2010. End note.) --------------------------------------------- ----------- MFA on National Efforts and UNGA Trafficking Discussions --------------------------------------------- -----------

4. (C) According to Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for Human Rights Wael Aboul Magd, who heads the National Anti-Trafficking Commission's secretariat, the GOE is past the "denial stage" and accepts that Egypt has an internal trafficking problem. Nonetheless, there is no clear understanding of the extent of the problem ("Some in the media think we are the worst in the world. Some in CAIRO 00002236 002 OF 002 government insist that we are pure."), and, therefore, the GOE commissioned the NCSCR's comprehensive study, which he said will guide the development of a national action plan. According to Aboul Magd, researchers have begun working in the "field" with support from the Ministry of Interior. Aboul Magd said the GOE did not see a need to wait for the study results before drafting comprehensive legislation. According to Aboul Magd, the commission recently presented the draft anti-trafficking legislation to Egypt's Prime Minister, who will send it to Parliament for review and, he hopes and expects, passage. Aboul Magd said that if the law passes, the GOE is interested in technical assistance from U.S. prosecutors.

5. (C) Ambassador CDeBaca asked Aboul Magd about Egypt's support in the U.N General Assembly for a Global Plan of Action on Trafficking in Persons. Aboul Magd was unfamiliar with the issue, but said he would query Egypt's mission in New York. Ambassador CDeBaca explained U.S. concerns that the U.N. General Assembly not take any action that could undermine the Palermo Protocol, regional plans of action to combat human trafficking, or the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime's central role in international anti-trafficking efforts. Aboul Magd responded that he did not think there were fundamental differences between the U.S. and Egyptian positions. Egypt was also concerned about a "proliferation" of activities, and suggested that there could even be room for the U.S. and Egypt to work together in the U.N. on the issue. Aboul Magd also said that Egypt had invited two of the three U.N. special rapporteurs working on trafficking issues to visit, and he anticipated they would do so in early 2010. ---------------------------------------- Minister of State Criticizes TIP Ranking ----------------------------------------

6. (C) Moshira Khattab, Egypt's Minister of State for Family and Population, criticized the continued inclusion of Egypt on the State Department's trafficking-in-persons watch list, arguing that the GOE should be recognized for its "tough fight" in 2008 against Islamists in Parliament to ensure passage of amendments to Egypt's Child Law criminalizing trafficking in children. Khattab said the Child Law amendments are an effective tool against trafficking and Egypt's Public Prosecutor is cooperating closely with her ministry to implement the law. Khattab said that media attention to Egypt's domestic trafficking problem is now growing, prompted by recent trafficking related prosecutions. While she said some of the reporting may be exaggerated, it is "shocking people" and bringing needed attention to the issue. Khattab noted that civil society is still largely absent from the trafficking fight in Egypt and urged continued international support to strengthen civil society capacity, especially to assist street children. Tueller