H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Zacarias Albano da Costa, and
the Head of Mission for IOM in Timor-Leste, Dr. Norberto Celestino
H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Zacarias Albano da Costa, met today the Head of Mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Timor-Leste, Dr. Norberto Celestino.
The scope of this meeting, which included technical staff of both the MFA and the IOM, was to address the issue of human trafficking in Timor-Leste.
“At the present moment there isn’t still exact data regarding human trafficking in Timor-Leste. I just want to refer that the situation is alarming although there aren’t yet exact figures regarding the number of trafficked people in Timor-Leste”. This was stated by the Head of Mission of IOM in Timor-Leste, Dr. Norberto Celestino.
In order to address the issue of Human Trafficking in Timor-Leste, a Technical Group was established in 2003. The activities of this group were intensified after 2007, under the leadership of the current Foreign Minister, Dr. Zacarias Albano da Costa.
“This Group has involved, besides the partnership between the MoFA and the IOM, the District Attorneys Office, the Ombudsman for Human Rights, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry for Social Solidarity, the Secretary of State for the Promotion of Equality, the Secretary of State for security, the Secretary of State for Professional Training and Employment, and also non-governmental organizations, including Focupers, the Alola Foundation, Pradet, among others” said Minister Zacarias da Costa .
It should also be referred that Timor-Leste on the 5th of November, 2009, Timor-Leste acceded to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime; the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
The Group also recognized the importance of producing a National Action Plan for Fighting Human Trafficking and the adoption of initiatives in the legal area.
“The Group has been working quite effectively and has drafted a law for the Prevention, Suppression and Punishment of Human Trafficking in Timor-Leste; the Plan refers strategies and concrete measures for the prevention and prosecution in this area. The drafting of the Law is at a stage of consultation, in the districts, and it is expected to be presented at the Council of Ministers at the beginning of March. This Draft Law, like the National Plan, will be implemented in a second stage that will again involve the governmental departments and non governmental organizations mentioned above”, said Minister Zacarias da Costa.
The IOM has offered its support to Timor-Leste since the beginning of the work of this Group, offering a budget, managed by that organization, for several activities, including the training of human resources, for relevant ministries and national agencies responsible for the implementation of the strategies agreed upon, and also the reassignment of consultants for the Consular Affairs division of the MFA, through the Project of Strengthening Migration Management.