Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Brunei

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Brunei, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
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.

Brunei (Tier 2)

Brunei is a destination country for persons trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Most trafficking occurs in the labor context, as foreign workers are recruited from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh for work in the garment industries, agriculture and in homes as servants. There are also a small number of cases of trafficking in women for purposes of sexual exploitation.

The Government of Brunei does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government should be more aggressive in investigating trafficking of foreigners and, in particular, should increase measures to sanction foreign labor traffickers within its borders. The government also needs to foster basic understanding of trafficking among operational-level officials and implement uniform policies in prevention, protection and prosecution.


While there is awareness among senior officials of the criminal aspects of labor and prostitution trafficking, there is little understanding of these issues at the operational and enforcement level of government. There are no awareness programs to educate the public or specific training for government officials on trafficking. In broad preventive measures not specific to trafficking, the government provides a wide range of social and educational services to Brunei citizens, which reduces their vulnerability to trafficking.


Brunei has immigration, labor, and religious regulations that should deter most trafficking, but they are unevenly implemented. A specific statute outlaws sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and girls, and there is also a wide range of other laws, mostly related to prostitution and the protection of minors, which could be applied against sex traffickers. However, authorities only rarely investigate and prosecute sex traffickers, particularly when the victims are foreigners. Sanctions against labor traffickers are rarely invoked. Currently government mediation is most commonly used to resolve labor disputes, including those involving severe forms of trafficking, although abusive employers may also face criminal and civil penalties. The government rigorously monitors its borders and migration patterns.


The government has a weak record in protecting foreign trafficking victims, whom it often prosecutes or deports for violations of immigration and labor codes. There are government protective measures for foreign workers, although they are not uniformly carried out. They include arrival briefings for workers, inspections of facilities, and a telephone hotline for worker complaints. When a grievance cannot be resolved, repatriation of foreign workers is at the expense of the employer, and all outstanding wages must be paid. The government provides funds for shelters that service only Brunei citizens and residents, who are rarely the victims of trafficking. No foreign NGOs exist in Brunei and NGOs that do exist are not oriented towards assisting foreigners. Some embassies provide protection services, including temporary shelter, for workers involved in disputes with employers.

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