Last Updated: Friday, 27 November 2015, 12:04 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - East Timor

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2006
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - East Timor, 5 June 2006, available at: [accessed 30 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

East Timor (Tier 2)

East Timor is a destination country for women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. There are also unverified reports of men trafficked for forced labor. The majority of women trafficked to East Timor are from Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the P.R.C. Within the country, there is internal trafficking of women and girls from rural areas to the capital, Dili, for commercial sexual exploitation. There are reports indicating that the decline in the international peacekeepers' presence has resulted in a decrease in the number of foreign trafficking victims.

The Government of East Timor does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The East Timorese government collaborated with NGOs and regional and international bodies, but it continued to have difficulty distinguishing trafficking victims from illegal migrants. While the government suffers from a lack of adequate financial resources, it also lacks political will to combat trafficking. The Government of East Timor should concentrate on arresting and prosecuting traffickers, improving victim protection measures, and raising awareness of trafficking. The government should also adopt a strong and comprehensive anti-trafficking law.


The Government of East Timor's law enforcement efforts against trafficking were minimal over the last year. There were no arrests or prosecutions of traffickers; the government did not compile information on law enforcement efforts. East Timorese authorities did not conduct investigations or raids over the last year. East Timor has basic legislation that criminalizes internal and external trafficking and is in the process of finalizing a new penal code that will criminalize the activities of pimps and brothel owners/operators. The Immigration and Asylum Act of 2003 criminalizes all forms of trafficking but penalties are less severe than penalties for rape and forcible sexual assault. There is a lack of coordination between prosecutors and the police, and law enforcement officials generally lack training. Despite rumors of law enforcement officials' complicity in trafficking, there were no reported prosecutions of corrupt officials related to trafficking.


The East Timorese government, lacking adequate resources, did not provide protection and assistance to trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government has a working group to focus on trafficking and coordinate with NGOs and international organizations. While some trafficking victims were repatriated through the help of their embassies and international organizations, most victims were charged and deported for prostitution and immigration violations. The Ministry of Labor and Community Reinsertion has informally collaborated with a local NGO, "Organization of Timorese Women," which has worked to identify and help potential domestic trafficking victims free themselves and find work outside of the sex industry. The government did not fund foreign and domestic NGOs but continued to refer victims to international organizations and NGOs that run programs providing protection for victims of trafficking.


The Ministry of Labor, in collaboration with IOM, hosted a pre-departure training program for a group of Timorese nationals going to South Korea as part of a bilateral labor agreement; the training included a session aimed at raising the participants' awareness of the threat of trafficking. The government has considered, but not developed, a national action plan to address trafficking. The East Timorese government did not place a priority on trafficking prevention programs although it continued to recognize that trafficking is a problem.

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