Brunei Tier 2 Status in 2017 US TIP Report


Brunei keeps Tier 2 status in US TIP Report
on: July 05, 2017

| Azlan Othman |

BRUNEI Darussalam has maintained its Tier 2 status in the 2017 United States Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, released by the US State Department recently.

The annual report assessed 187 countries on their efforts to combat human trafficking through three key components, namely prosecution, protection and prevention.

Tier 2 was accorded to the governments of countries that do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

The Sultanate has been retaining the same status since 2012.

“The Government of Brunei Darussalam does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Brunei remained on Tier 2,” the report said.

“Increased efforts included convicting its first trafficker in four years; expanding victim protection measures during judicial proceedings; and carrying out victim screening procedures while strengthening investigations into alleged labor abuses that may amount to trafficking.“However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Authorities levelled criminal charges against some foreign victims and deported or fined others for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of having been subjected to trafficking. Courts issued lighter sentences for trafficking crimes than those prescribed by law,” the report noted.

The report has given several recommendations for Brunei. They include to increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict and punish both sex and labour traffickers including complicit government officials and ensure the imposition of sufficiently stringent penalties; increase protective services to provide incentives for victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions, including by allowing adult victims in government shelters to move freely and by issuing work permits to all victims; cease the arrest, deportation, and punishment of trafficking victims for crimes committed as a direct result of their being subjected to trafficking; allocate resources for the completion of the pending dedicated trafficking victims’ shelter and expand existing shelter services to accommodate adult male trafficking victims; train officials on implementation of proactive procedures to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable groups; train judges on accurate and effective implementation of anti-trafficking laws; allocate government resources to the victims’ fund established under the 2004 law and allow those funds to be paid directly to victims as restitution; strengthen efforts to enforce laws prohibiting acts that facilitate trafficking, such as retention or confiscation of migrant workers’ identity documents; offer foreign victims long-term alternatives to removal from the country; expand comprehensive and visible anti-trafficking awareness campaigns directed at employers of foreign workers and clients of commercial sex; approve and implement the national action plan; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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