Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 13:37 GMT

2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Micronesia, Federated States of

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 19 June 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Micronesia, Federated States of, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30cac1.html [accessed 17 September 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 and, to a limited extent, a destination country for women subjected to sex trafficking. Some reports suggest FSM women are recruited with promises of well-paying jobs in the United States and its territories and are subsequently forced into prostitution or labor upon arrival. The most vulnerable groups of persons at risk for sex trafficking in FSM include foreign migrant workers and FSM women and girls. Pohnpei State Police have reported the prostitution of FSM and foreign women and children to crew members on fishing vessels in FSM, or in its territorial waters. Some Micronesians allegedly transport women and girls to the fishing vessels and are involved in their prostitution in restaurants and clubs frequented by fishermen. Other vulnerable groups include FSM nationals who travel to the United States. In addition, the Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) has received and investigated labor trafficking complaints from foreign nationals on fishing boats for lack of payment and inhuman treatment. Data on the prevalence of human trafficking in the FSM is not available, as the government does not collect and maintain crime data, nor has it conducted any studies or surveys on human trafficking.

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. Because the assessment of these significant efforts is based in part on the government's commitment of future actions, FSM is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. During the current reporting year, the FSM acceded to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol, and the FSM congress passed new legislation that revised the country's criminal code to include anti-trafficking provisions. However, the Government of the FSM did not prosecute any trafficking cases, made no efforts to identify or assist victims of trafficking, and failed to make substantive efforts to prevent trafficking or increase the general public's awareness of trafficking in 2011.

Recommendations for the Federated States of Micronesia: Publicly recognize and condemn all acts of trafficking; make robust efforts to criminally investigate, prosecute, and punish all trafficking offenders; develop and implement procedures for the proactive identification of trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as foreign workers in the FSM, fishermen on fishing vessels, women and girls in prostitution, and FSM nationals migrating to the United States for work; establish measures to ensure that victims of trafficking are not threatened or otherwise punished for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked; train officials on human trafficking and how to identify and assist trafficking victims; support and facilitate comprehensive and visible anti-trafficking awareness campaigns directed at employers of foreign workers and clients of the sex trade; make efforts to notify foreign workers of their rights, protections, and ways they can report abuse; establish a registration system for overseas employment recruiters as agreed to in the Compact of Free Association as Amended (2004); initiate monitoring mechanisms for recruitment agencies both domestically and abroad; investigate and prosecute recruiters who may be engaged in fraudulent recruitment acts that lead to trafficking in persons; and develop a national plan of action for anti-trafficking matters.

Prosecution

The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia demonstrated modest progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. During the reporting period, the FSM congress drafted and passed anti-trafficking legislation that prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons, and acceded to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol. The newly enacted legislation prescribes penalties of 15 to 30 years' imprisonment and fines not exceeding $50,000, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape. While there were limited investigations of entertainment sites suspected of involvement in sex trafficking, authorities did not report any prosecutions, or convictions for trafficking crimes. The government did not cooperate with any international organizations or NGOs to offer anti-trafficking training and support to government officials during the reporting period. During the year, there were no investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of government employees complicit in human trafficking.

Protection

The FSM government's efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims during the reporting period remained inadequate. FSM has never identified a trafficking victim within the country and does not have a proactive system in place to identify victims of trafficking systematically among vulnerable groups, such as foreign workers and women and children in prostitution. In addition, the FSM government made no efforts to identify, protect, or refer trafficking victims to services during the reporting period; no NGOs provided services to any trafficking victims. The government reported that any identified victims would have access to the very limited social services and legal assistance provided to victims of any crime. Although victims have the legal right to bring personal injury civil suits against traffickers, because no victims have ever been identified, no suits have ever been filed. FSM officials did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.

Prevention

The FSM government did not substantially expand efforts to prevent trafficking or increase the general public's awareness of trafficking during the reporting year. Two members of the FSM congress made several outreach presentations over the course of 10 days within Yap, Chuuk, and various outer islands in order to promulgate awareness of trafficking and immigration issues. However, the government did not conduct or support any other informational or educational campaigns solely about human trafficking and the prevention thereof. Also, FSM officials did not develop or implement any monitoring or enforcement measures to govern the activities of labor recruiters and brokers. Government entities did not develop or disseminate campaigns aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts and child prostitution, nor were specific populations targeted. The FSM government did not draft a national action plan against trafficking in persons and sufficient resources were not designated to this regard.

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