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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06HONGKONG818 2006-02-28 06:53:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Hong Kong
Cable title:  

2006 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT: MACAU

Tags:   PHUM PINR PGOV HK CH KCRM KWMN SMIG KFRD 
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VZCZCXRO1006
PP RUEHCN
DE RUEHHK #0818/01 0590653
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 280653Z FEB 06
FM AMCONSUL HONG KONG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5166
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK PRIORITY 9079
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA PRIORITY 2738
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0371
RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR PRIORITY 0961
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK PRIORITY 0012
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 HONG KONG 000818 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR DENNIS WILDER
DEPT FOR EAP/CM G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, EAP/RSP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PINR PGOV HK CH KCRM KWMN SMIG KFRD
ASEC, PREF, ELAB
SUBJECT: 2006 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT: MACAU

REF: A. SECSTATE 003836


B. HONG KONG 0217

HONG KONG 00000818 001.2 OF 005


Overview of Trafficking Problem
-------------------------------



1. (SBU) Macau, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the
People's Republic of China (PRC), is not a source of
trafficked persons, but it is a destination and transit point
for illegal immigration and prostitution. There are no good
estimates of how many of these illegal migrants and
prostitutes may fit the broad definition of "trafficked
persons" used for this report, but anecdotal evidence
suggests the number is probably rather small. The Government
investigated 42 cases of "procurement" (i.e., the
exploitation of prostitution) during 2005, all of which were
either under investigation or being prosecuted as of this
writing. Ten of the women involved in these cases claimed to
have been brought to Macau under false pretenses and three
complained of abuse. In none of the cases did the Government
suspect trafficking in persons. None of the cases involved
child exploitation.



2. (SBU) The leading Hong Kong English-language daily "South
China Morning Post" (Circ. 100,000) reported in July 2005
that women were being brought to Macau under false pretenses
and forced or coerced into prostitution. The report alleged
the women had their passports taken away, were kept under
surveillance, were subject to debt bondage, and were
threatened with physical violence to themselves or their
families. A local NGO that has helped trafficking victims in
the past told us they had not encountered any cases of
trafficking during the past year, though they admitted they
did not proactively seek out trafficking victims. There were
no reports of child trafficking, or of victims being forced
or coerced to work in sweatshops or other jobs.



3. (SBU) According to reliable contacts in the Macau
Government, most trafficking victims come from Mongolia or
interior regions of China, and are typically told they are
coming to Macau to work as dancers. Criminal organizations
reportedly provide assistance to some of them to travel from
their home countries, enter Macau, and/or settle in the city.
The Government told us that Chinese, Russian, and Thai
criminal syndicates are involved, and usually pass the women
to local triad groups once they enter Macau. The terms of
repayment for such "employment assistance" reportedly can be
onerous, often more onerous than the women had been led to
believe. Living and working conditions also can be
problematic, according to NGO and press reports, involving
close monitoring )- even imprisonment -- during off hours,
crowded boarding arrangements, confiscated identity
documents, long working hours, and threats of violence. The
authorities investigate reports of such activities promptly.
Organizers of prostitution rings, whether or not involving
trafficked persons, are prosecuted under laws that
criminalize profiting from the proceeds of another person's
prostitution.



4. (SBU) There is no integrated government effort in Macau to
control or combat trafficking in persons. While Government
officials generally acknowledge that trafficking exists in
Macau, they do not consider the problem serious and believe
current policies and efforts are sufficient. Macau has
several laws related to trafficking, and the Immigration
Department and local police aggressively enforce the law.
Macau actively participates in international meetings on
trafficking and adheres to all international treaties
governing trafficking in persons to which the PRC is a
signatory.



5. (SBU) There are no government assistance programs for
victims of trafficking and no local NGOs specifically dealing
with trafficking issues. The Government argues that the
problem is too small to warrant special programs. There are,
however, Government programs and charitable organizations

HONG KONG 00000818 002.2 OF 005


that provide assistance and shelter to women and children who
have been the victims of abuse, including trafficking victims.

Prostitution in Macau


--------------------------





6. (SBU) Prostitution is legal in Macau, though a number of
activities associated with prostitution, including "pimping,"
are illegal. Advertisements for sexual services can be found
in regional newspapers and magazines, and posted on ferry
terminal walls. There are no reliable data on the number of
prostitutes working in Macau, but most come from mainland
China, Russia, Eastern Europe, Thailand, and Vietnam. Most
prostitutes are from rural areas and are typically seventeen
to thirty years of age. They are usually poorly educated,
though not illiterate. They tend to be very mobile, usually
coming for a month at a time and then moving to other
countries, usually at the expiration of their tourist visas.
Most work in hotels and casinos, though our contacts in the
Thai Consulate in Hong Kong told us prostitution in the
casinos is normally limited to PRC nationals, because Chinese
organized crime rings allegedly control most Macau casinos.



7. (SBU) Macau law enforcement officials told us the
overwhelming majority of foreign prostitutes come to Macau as
willing participants in the commercial sex trade, and
typically know in advance specifically what they will be
doing and how much they can expect to earn. Prior to the
introduction of the Individual Visitor Scheme (IVS) in 2003,
which allowed tourists from certain mainland cities and
provinces to enter Macau on an individual basis, most
prostitutes came to Macau with the help of a "pimp" or a
criminal syndicate. The introduction of the IVS made it
possible for most prostitutes to enter Macau on their own,
though some still seek the help of pimps, either because they
are unaware that they can obtain visas on their own or
because they need logistical and financial help with travel
and housing. While the IVS has weakened the role of pimps in
Macau's sex industry, law enforcement officials believe that
Chinese, Russian and Thai criminal syndicates are still
involved in bringing prostitutes into Macau. These officials
claim, however, that women are rarely coerced into coming, or
forced into prostitution once they arrive.



8. (SBU) Macau allows visa-free access for nationals of many
countries to facilitate tourism. For citizens of
non-visa-free countries, including Russia, visas can be
obtained on arrival. The Russian Consulate in Hong Kong
estimates that at any given time there are more than 100
Russian prostitutes with work visas in Macau, and another 100
with tourist visas. Immigration officers do not admit people
they believe are entering for illegal employment, but they do
not routinely refuse entry by targeting certain groups of
travelers from specific countries. Macau officials have made
effors to work with other governments, particularly the RC,
to develop a list of those known to be practicing
prostitution, making it more difficult for those persons to
get passports and exit permits from their home governments
and visas for Macau.

Macau's Efforts in Preventing and Combating Trafficking


--------------------------



--------------------------





9. (SBU) There is no integrated government effort in Macau to
control or combat trafficking in persons. While Government
officials generally acknowledge that some trafficking exists
in Macau, they do not consider the problem serious or
widespread enough to warrant separate programs. They claim
that current policies and efforts are sufficient to address
the issue. According to these officials, the overwhelming
majority of prostitutes know why they are coming to Macau and
continue to work of their own free will. Many immigrants to
Macau sign contracts outlining the terms of their work before
arrival, and the Macau police rarely receive complaints that
the terms of such contracts have been violated, according to
our contacts at the Russian, Thai, and Philippine consulates.

HONG KONG 00000818 003.2 OF 005


Both the Macau government and the various consulates
representing those working in Macau note that they receive
very few complaints or allegations of mistreatment of
prostitutes or other foreign migrants. The NGO Catholic
Social Services (CSS) told us that, in those cases where
trafficking victims sought help from the police, the police
did "a fairly good job" of dealing with the problem.
However, the government acknowledges that most victims are
unable or unwilling to contact the police. Some fear
reprisals from their handlers, who are often associated with
organized crime, and others fear that their families will
find out they are working in prostitution.



10. (SBU) Macau has effective immigration controls, but its
long border with Mainland China makes illegal immigration a
continuing problem. Macau has land border control points
with the PRC and an international airport with regional
flights to China, Bangkok, Manila, Singapore, Taipei and
Moscow. Ferries land regularly from Hong Kong, Zhuhai, and
Shenzhen. Macau received 18.7 million visitors in 2005, up
from 16.7 million in 2004. It is a common practice for
prostitutes to go back and forth across the Chinese border
when their visas expire in order to get new visas and
continue to work. Macau immigration tries to control such
activity, and often refuses to issue a new visa if it
suspects abuse. However, the increasing volume of visitors
attracted by Macau's booming casino industry makes it easier
for people to enter illegally.

Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers


--------------------------





11. (SBU) Macau does not have a separate law on trafficking
in persons, but has the ability to prosecute such offenses
under a variety of other laws. Article 7 of the Law on
Organized Crime covers the rare occasion when a person is
trafficked out of Macau, but does not apply to victims
exploited in Macau. The penalty for trafficking in persons
under this law is two to eight years imprisonment. This
increases by one-third, within minimum and maximum limits, if
the victim is less than 18 years of age. If the victim is
under 14 years of age, the penalty is five to fifteen years
imprisonment. Crimes against personal freedom, most notably
slavery, are prosecuted under Article 153 of the Criminal
Code of Macau. This law makes illegal the sale, transfer or
purchase of a person made with the intention to reduce that
person to the status or condition of slave. Notably, this
law has also been interpreted to include economic and sexual
exploitation, which is punishable by 10 to 20 years
imprisonment. Prosecutions under this law are also rare.



12. (SBU) Some trafficking cases also can be prosecuted under
Macau's kidnapping and rape laws. Kidnapping with the intent
to commit a crime against sexual liberty or
self-determination is punishable by three to ten years
imprisonment under Article 154(1)(b) of the Criminal Code of
Macau. In cases where the kidnapper rapes a victim, they are
treated as two different crimes, though the sentences can in
some cases be served concurrently. The penalty for rape is
three to twelve years imprisonment. The Criminal Code
forbids the death penalty and life imprisonment. The maximum
term of imprisonment is thirty years in total.



13. (SBU) Since most trafficking cases involve prostitution,
by far the most common, and easiest, method of prosecuting
such cases is under Macau's "procurement" laws. Although
prostitution is legal, the exploitation of prostitution is
illegal and is punishable under various autonomous statutes.
For example, "procurement" *- defined as instigating,
favoring or facilitating the practice of prostitution by
another person or exploiting their state of abandonment or
necessity for the purposes of profit or as a way of life *-
is punishable by one to five years imprisonment under Article
163 of the Criminal Code of Macau. Additionally, "aggravated
procurement" *- defined as the use of violence, serious
threats, or deception, or exploiting the mental incapacity of

HONG KONG 00000818 004.2 OF 005


a victim *- is a separate crime punishable by two to eight
years imprisonment under Article 164 of the Criminal Code of
Macau.



14. (SBU) According to Macau's International Law Office, the
Government's typical response to a trafficking complaint is:
1) police investigate and the woman is sent to a shelter; 2)
a Government prosecutor investigates and, depending on what
is found, a court case may be filed; 3) the victim is offered
assistance to return to her home country at the expense of
the Macau government. Officials noted that this last step
often makes the case more difficult to prosecute if the
victim does not return for the trial, but the Macau
government provides this assistance for the physical and
emotional protection of the victim. Officials also noted
that, after repatriation, some prostitutes returned to Macau
and engaged in prostitution again. Most prostitutes were
"professionals" who knew the laws on trafficking and that the
Government would buy them a ticket home if they claimed they
were forced into prostitution, this official said. Many such
"victims" would return to Macau a few months later. All
trials are public, except when the victim is a minor or when
the victim's life (or that of someone else involved) is in
danger.



15. (SBU) The number of procurement crimes has remained
relatively unchanged in recent years. From 1999-2003, there
was an annual average of 18 procurement cases and one case of
sexual coercion. In 2004, there were 17 complaints from
women who claimed they were brought to the SAR under false
pretenses, and 5 complaints of abuse. In 2005, 10 women
complained of being brought to the SAR under false pretenses,
and 3 complained of abuse.



16. (SBU) Several international treaties designed to combat
slavery and similar practices, as well as trafficking in
persons, are applicable to Macau, including:

--The International Convention for the Suppression of the
Traffic in Women and Children;
--The International Convention for the Suppression of the
Traffic in Women of Full Age;
--The Slavery Convention;
--Convention No. 29 of the International Labour Organization
(ILO) concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour; --The
Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the
Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to
Slavery;
--The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in
Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of
Others;
--Convention No. 105 of the ILO concerning the Abolition of
Forced Labour;
--The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
--The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights;
--The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of
Discrimination Against Women;
--The Convention on the Rights of the Child;
--ILO Convention 182;
--The Sale of Children Protocol.

Protection and Assistance to Victims


--------------------------





17. (SBU) There are no official government assistance
programs in place for victims of trafficking, and no NGOs
focused specifically on trafficking issues. Officials claim
the problem is too small to warrant separate Government
programs. However, several NGOs and charitable
organizations, including CSS and the Association of Women of
Macau, provide assistance to abused women, including
trafficking victims, without regard to nationality or social
status. These organizations told us they had not received
any requests for assistance from trafficking victims during
the year, thought they admitted that they do not actively

HONG KONG 00000818 005.2 OF 005


seek out victims. The government also provides assistance to
abused women, including trafficking victims. The Macau
government provides repatriation funds to those who wish to
return to their home countries but cannot afford tickets,
including those who claim to be victims of abuse or
trafficking. Government officials have received
anti-trafficking training that included segments on
protection of victims at the U.S.-sponsored International Law
Enforcement Academy in Bangkok.



18. (U) Post point of contact is poloff Donald Conner, Tel.
(852)2841-2139, Fax (852)2526-7382; unclass email:
connerdl@state.gov.

Hours required to do the report:
FS4 - 26
FS2 ) 2
FS1 - 2
OC - 1
Cunningham