Last Updated: Friday, 21 November 2014, 13:47 GMT

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

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 - Macau, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d89a5e.html [accessed 24 November 2014]
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.

Macau (Tier 2 Watch List)

Macau is a transit and destination territory for women trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. While there have been few documented cases of trafficking in Macau in recent years, evidence suggests there may be other victims who are afraid, unable, or unwilling to come forward. Most females in Macau's sizeable sex industry come from the interior regions of the P.R.C or Mongolia, though a significant number also come from Russia, Eastern Europe, Thailand, and Vietnam. The majority of women in Macau's prostitution trade appear to have entered Macau and the sex trade voluntarily, though there is evidence that some are deceived or coerced into sexual servitude, often through the use of debt bondage. Press reports and NGOs state that some women live in poor conditions under threats of violence and coercion. The Russian Consulate in Hong Kong estimates that up to 200 Russian women are in Macau on tourist visas at any given time engaging in prostitution, and NGOs in Russia have information that some of these women are trafficking victims. Similarly, an estimated 200-300 Mongolian women are estimated to be in prostitution in Macau at any given time. Organized criminal syndicates are reportedly involved in bringing women to Macau. Fear of reprisals from these groups may prevent some women from seeking help.

Macau does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Macau is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to address trafficking over the past year. The government has undertaken steps to combat potential trafficking. Despite the government's belief that trafficking is not a significant problem in the territory, the presence of large numbers of prostituted women from the P.R.C., Russia, Mongolia, Eastern Europe, Thailand, and Vietnam raises concerns that a significant number of them are victims of trafficking and in need of assistance. To this end, the government should undertake greater efforts to investigate and identify trafficking victims.

Prosecution

The Macau Government's efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement means over the past year were inadequate. Macau has no law that specifically addresses trafficking of persons into Macau, though it does have other statutes that are used to prosecute traffickers. The government convicted several people over the past year for violations of Macau's "procurement" statutes involving low-level trafficking-related crimes. However, despite press reports of trafficking during the year, law enforcement officials did not aggressively investigate accusations of trafficking in Macau's many brothels and casinos. Officials generally maintain that trafficking is not a significant problem in Macau and, therefore, do not see the need to devote greater resources to investigating the problem.

Protection

There are no separate government assistance programs for victims of trafficking and no NGOs focused specifically on trafficking-related issues. Government officials believe that existing programs are sufficient to aid potential victims given the small scope of the problem. The government operates social service programs for abused women and there are also a small number of NGOs in Macau that provide assistance to any individual in need, including trafficking victims. Macau does require labor contracts for migrant workers. Although government officials maintain that these contracts sufficiently spell out the terms and conditions of employment and they have received no complaints that these contracts have been breached, they also recognize that many may be too frightened to complain to police for fear of retribution.

Prevention

There are no prevention campaigns in place to inform women in prostitution of trafficking issues and to advise them on where to obtain help if they are victims of trafficking.

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