07 May 2010

IOM Counter Trafficking Unit gives training for senior police officials

TIMOR-LESTE - IOM Alerts Senior Police Officers to Human Trafficking - IOM yesterday, in cooperation with the National Police (PNTL) Training Centre, hosted a workshop for senior law enforcement officers to raise awareness of human trafficking and to identify ways to combat it in Timor-Leste.

Senior police and Migration Service officials from the capital, Dili, and all districts, including PNTL Second Commander Alfonso da Jesus, attended the workshop, which covered a range of topics, including definitions of human trafficking, national legal frameworks, international cooperation in investigations and prosecutions, and the response of law enforcement agencies.

Timor-Leste has been identified as a destination country for victims of trafficking and may also become a source country. People trafficked to Timor-Leste have included victims from Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, China and the Philippines.

Some were subjected to forced labour aboard fishing vessels. Others were coerced into commercial sex work in the capital, Dili. Many victims thought that they could earn large salaries in Timor-Leste’s US dollar-based economy.

There is also evidence that trafficking takes place inside the country with women and children trafficked from the countryside to the towns for forced labour or sexual exploitation. Rescued victims report overwork, physical and sexual abuse, and non-payment or under-payment for their work.

IOM Timor-Leste Chief of Mission Norberto Celestino says that the workshop marked an important step in the fight against human trafficking in Timor-Leste. “The attendance of senior law enforcement officials highlights their determination to eradicate the problem. Committed law enforcement plays a key role in prosecuting traffickers and providing protection to victims,” he said.

Since 2007, the IOM Timor-Leste Counter Trafficking Unit has organized trainings for law enforcement agencies, the media and other stakeholders and has provided technical support to the Inter Agency Counter Trafficking Working Group. It has also implemented nationwide public information campaigns to raise awareness of human trafficking.

For more information, please contact Katharine Bryant at IOM Dili. Tel. +670 7230254, Email: kbryant@iom.int or Heather Komenda, Tel. +670 723 0810, Email: hkomenda@iom.int

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