Fighting trafficking in persons

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Eighth Constitutional Government


Press Release

Fighting trafficking in persons

The 8th Constitutional Government is committed and pledged to gather all the necessary efforts to prevent and fight trafficking in persons and to protect and support the victims.

Trafficking in persons is one of the most serious forms of human rights violations. It is a complex phenomenon, mostly transnational, developed by organised criminal networks that take advantage of the victims' vulnerabilities.

The fight against this heinous crime requires not only a solid legal framework but also articulated action by all the entities involved, both national and foreign, strengthening knowledge of the phenomenon, institutional capacity, educational and preventive action among the various stakeholders, protection and assistance to victims and the punishment of traffickers.

Timor-Leste has finalised, in 2009, the process of accession to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Additional Protocol to this Convention, concerning the prevention, suppression and punishment of trafficking in persons, especially women and children. This international instrument aims to prevent and fight trafficking in persons, protect and assist the victims of such trafficking while fully respecting their human rights, and promote cooperation among the States Parties to achieve these objectives.

In 2017, the Law on the Prevention and Fight of Trafficking in Persons (Law No. 3/2017 of  January 25th) was approved by the National Parliament, which, in addition to measures aimed at preventing and fighting trafficking in persons and protecting and assisting its victims, also introduced the fourth amendment to the Criminal Code, to expand the concept of the crime of trafficking in persons, protect its witnesses, provide for the punishability of legal persons and set the regime of loss of the respective benefits in favour of the State.

During the 8th Constitutional Government's mandate, through Decree-Law 9/2021 of June 30th, a Committee for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons was established, with the mission of coordinating, at the national level, the actions of different entities responsible for the prevention and fight against trafficking in persons, as well as guaranteeing the cooperation with foreign entities in this matter and monitoring the application of the provisions of international conventions that Timor-Leste has signed.

The Government is preparing a national plan against trafficking in persons and has carried out several initiatives in this area, namely the reinforcement of institutional capacity and border management, training and awareness-raising activities, the creation of the National Police Development Programme (TLPDP) and the preparation of an Integrated Criminal Information Management System. END