07TBILISI2061, GEORGIA LAUNCHES ANTI-TIP CAMPAIGN IN SVANETI

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2061 2007-08-15 12:46 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1012
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #2061 2271246
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151246Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7326
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 002061 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CARC, G/TIP, AND DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA LAUNCHES ANTI-TIP CAMPAIGN IN SVANETI 
 
 
1. (U) As part of a national anti-trafficking awareness 
campaign, the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA) - a 
USAID implementing partner - conducted consultations and 
distributed anti-TIP publications in the remote, mountainous 
border region of Svaneti from 27 July until 2 August.  Rumors 
of possible TIP activity and involuntary servitude, stemming 
from the Government's actions to reassert control over this 
region last summer, led GYLA to conduct this portion of their 
national anti-TIP campaign "No to TIP" in Svaneti at this 
time. 
 
2. (U) Two GYLA representatives targeted local village 
residents.  During the consultations, the experts discussed 
trafficking issues, including characteristics and stages of 
trafficking, rights and responsibilities of TIP victims, and 
victim prevention.  Svaneti is an area of anti-TIP concern in 
Georgia, due to the isolation of the province and the 
region's tradition of "kords meribi" or "white servants." 
This tradition, which has existed since Soviet times but 
increased since the 1992-93 civil war, is a labor practice 
wherein a family takes in a house servant in exchange for 
food and shelter.  These servants may be displaced people who 
choose to stay and work.  Or, they may be held against their 
will in involuntary servitude, as slaves.  Despite a mostly 
warm reception by the villagers, the GYLA representatives 
were unable to directly speak with any of these servants. 
Most of the villagers would only speak about the servant 
tradition in a circumspect manner, with none admitting to 
employing any themselves.  In addition to targeting 
residents, the GYLA representatives also briefed local police 
on recently enacted anti-TIP legislation and GYLA's 
USAID-funded prevention materials. 
 
3.  (SBU) Comment: The extension of anti-TIP education 
programs to the remote and under-served region of Svaneti 
represents another step forward in Georgia's ongoing fight 
against human trafficking.  GYLA's demonstrated expertise and 
leadership in combating TIP, in partnership with Georgian 
civil society, continues to bolster the GoG's efforts to 
eradicate this scourge.  Svaneti remains a largely closed 
society, where law enforcement is difficult and suspicion of 
outsiders reigns supreme.  Due to the mountainous terrain and 
road conditions, Svaneti lies approximately 12 hours by car 
from the capital.  Lying on the Russian border, it is 
vulnerable to trafficking and insulated from intervention 
efforts.  End comment. 
PERRY

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