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07 July 2009

UNMIT Press Release - PNTL and UNPOL crack down human trafficking ring

UNMIT PRESS RELEASE PNTL and UNPOL crack down human trafficking ring Dili, 6 July, 2009 - On Wednesday, 2 July 2009 at 5pm United Nations Police (UNPOL) and the Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) jointly carried out an anti-human trafficking operation at a bar in the Marconi neighborhood of Dili. Ten persons, including one woman, were arrested on the suspicion that they were part of a human trafficking ring.

Police also found 22 other women, between the ages of 17 and 29, working in the bar. One of them is a minor. They are currently being processed as victims of human trafficking, and are being cared for by the International Organization for Migration and non-governmental organisations.

The suspects are currently detained in the Becora Prison, awaiting pre-trial hearing. Preliminary investigations reveal that the suspects deceived the victims into travelling to Timor-Leste on the false expectation that they would be working legitimately as masseuses or waitresses. Upon entering Timor-Leste, they were forced to provide sexual services. Police are continuing investigations.

"The successful operation culminates from information received by the police and joint efforts between UNPOL and PNTL," said Luis Carrilho, UN Police Commissioner."It reflects the support the police enjoy from the community and the good relationship between UNPOL and PNTL."

"The UN regards human trafficking as a form of serious exploitation and abuse," said Commissioner Carrilho, "police will not hesitate to take action against human traffickers."

Police urge any person with information regarding this case or other human-trafficking activities in Timor-Leste to contact the police through the 112 hotline.

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