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Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Micronesia, Federated States of

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 16 June 2009
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Micronesia, Federated States of, 16 June 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a4214a3c.html [accessed 20 April 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.

Micronesia, Federated States of (Tier 2 Watch List)

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a source country for some women trafficked to Guam for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, and possibly a destination for women from the People's Republic of China (PRC) trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. The FSM may be a destination country for a few men and women from other Pacific nations trafficked for the purpose of forced labor. In one reported case, a small group of young women in the state of Chuuk were lured by job opportunities in the service and hospitality sectors with salaries unavailable locally to the U.S. Territory of Guam. Instead of working as store clerks or waitresses, however, the women were forced to engage in prostitution. Brothel owners reportedly confiscated their passports and physically harmed the victims to ensure their obedience. Very little data on human trafficking in FSM exists, as the government has not conducted any relevant investigations, studies, or surveys on the issue. Anecdotal reporting suggests that few victims are trafficked within or outside the FSM.

The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite significant overall efforts, the government has not provided evidence of vigorous efforts to identify trafficking victims and to prevent trafficking incidents by educating the public about the dangers of trafficking; therefore FSM is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. In the two police academy classes that have taken place since 2007, anti-Trafficking in Persons techniques were a major part of the curriculum.

Recommendations for FSM: Develop and implement a comprehensive federal anti-human trafficking law; create or support campaigns to educate and inform the public about the dangers of trafficking; monitor the practices of overseas employment recruiters, and investigate recruiters who may be involved in trafficking; and develop an internal structure which ensures victims' access to protective services.

Prosecution

FSM national police has jurisdiction over trafficking issues, although no specific or comprehensive federal laws prohibit human trafficking or trafficking-related offenses such as slavery, forced labor, or forced prostitution. Each of the four states could prosecute trafficking offenses under related laws prohibiting false imprisonment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, and even "making threats." Penalties for trafficking offenders under these laws range from five to ten years imprisonment and are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government's Transnational Crime Unit (TCU), part of the Pacific Transnational Crime network, was the main conduit for general law enforcement information coming from international sources. The Unit had regular contract with the FBI and the Australian Federal Police. FSM police cooperated with foreign law enforcement officials investigating the case of the women trafficked from Chuuk to a brothel in Guam, where prosecution of the illegal brothel owners for trafficking began in early 2009. FSM reportedly began an investigation into the activities of the Micronesian citizen who recruited the women in Chuuk and is believed to also have been trying to recruit women in the state of Pohnpei. Law enforcement agencies operated under significant resource, personnel, and capacity constraints.

Protection

During the reporting period, the government did not identify any trafficking victims within FSM's borders, and therefore did not provide specific assistance to victims of trafficking, though it ensured that identified victims would have access to limited, general protective services provided by government agencies. No NGOs provide victim services independently or in cooperation with the government. FSM has no laws specifically protecting trafficking victims or witnesses, although general material witness laws give the government the right to detain witnesses for their own protection. Effective due process procedures in the FSM criminal justice system generally ensured that the rights of all victims of crime were respected and protected. While no specific civil remedy for trafficking victims is spelled out in the state or national codes, each state's code does provide general redress for personal injuries caused by another. Victims may bring personal injury civil suits against traffickers, although no suits have ever been filed. The law did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they faced hardship or retribution.

Prevention

The government made no efforts to prevent trafficking or increase the public's awareness of trafficking risks in FSM and the region during the reporting period. Evidence and anecdotal reports suggest that the current number of internal or transnational trafficking victims is relatively low; the government's limited resources were thus often directed to meet more emergent priorities. The government, however, did initiate anti-Trafficking in Persons training for new police recruits in the last two police academy classes. FSM supports no anti-trafficking task forces or working groups. The government has run no campaigns aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts. FSM has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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