IOM Backs Timor-Leste's National Plan of Action to Combat Human Trafficking

Posted: 
10/15/09

Timor-Leste has begun to develop a National Plan of Action to
combat human trafficking with support from IOM.

Government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs-led
Inter-Agency Counter-Trafficking Working Group (ICTWG) yesterday
began a two-day training on how to formulate a National Plan of
Action drawing on examples from other South East Asian
countries.

The training is part of the joint programme "Supporting Gender
Equality and Women's Rights in Timor-Leste", which is funded by the
Spanish government-backed Millennium Development Goals Fund.

IOM will subsequently provide technical support for further
drafting sessions and hopes that this important framework for
action will be presented to the Inter-Agency Counter-Trafficking
Working Group for approval in early 2010.

Timor-Leste has been identified as a destination country for
victims of trafficking and risks becoming a source country. Victims
trafficked to Timor-Leste have originated from Myanmar, Thailand,
Indonesia, China and the Philippines. Most have been exploited as
slave labour aboard fishing vessels or as commercial sex workers in
the capital, Dili.

Victims are often tempted with opportunities to pay off debts or
earn comparatively large salaries in Timor-Leste's US dollar
economy.

Evidence exists that internal trafficking also takes place,
including rural-urban trafficking of women and children for labour
or sexual exploitation. Once in a trafficking situation, victims
report overwork, physical and sexual abuse, and non-payment or
under-payment.

The ICTWG has been working since 2003 to combat the problem of
human trafficking in the country. It comprises government
ministries, international organizations and NGOs. IOM has provided
Secretariat support to the ICTWG since its establishment.

Since 2007, IOM's Counter Trafficking Unit has conducted
trainings for stakeholders in the counter-trafficking effort,
including the media and law enforcement agencies, and has provided
technical support to the ICTWG.

IOM has also completed nation-wide public information campaigns
and awareness-raising activities. The most recent public
information campaign is currently running in all of the country's
13 districts.

For more information, please contact:

Katharine Bryant

Tel. +670 7465134

E-mail: "mailto:kbryant@iom.int">kbryant@iom.int

or

Heather Komenda

Tel. +670 723 0810

E-mail: "mailto:hkomenda@iom.int">hkomenda@iom.int