IOM Alerts Senior Police Officers to Human Trafficking in Timor-Leste
IOM in cooperation with the National Police (PNTL) Training Centre,
hosted on 6 May 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 marks 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
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
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