Cablegate: Brunei Tip Report
DE RUEHBD #0087/01 0680643
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090643Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3751
INFO RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RULSJGA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
UNCLAS BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN 000087
DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, EAP/MTS AND EAP/RSP
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN ELAB SMIG KFRD PREF BX
SUBJECT: BRUNEI TIP REPORT
REF: 2006 STATE 202745
1. (SBU) Please find below Post's report in preparation for the
annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Please note paragraph
numbering is keyed to reftel questions:
A. Brunei is not a major destination for trafficked persons, nor is
it a source or transit country. However, Brunei is heavily
dependent on foreign workers to perform much of the manual labor, as
well as a significant amount of the high-skill work required to keep
its economy functioning. GoB statistics indicate that 70, 763
foreign workers or 18% of the nation's population are currently
legally resident in Brunei. Post's survey of primary labor source
country embassies indicated the actual number of foreign workers may
be as high as 100,000. The GoB statistics may not count the large
number of Malaysian citizens resident in Malaysia who commute daily
to legal jobs in Brunei or foreign nationals with permanent
residence status. The following statistics provided to us by
foreign missions reflect either the number of these countries'
nationals formally registered or estimated to be working in Brunei:
Brunei authorities, social service agencies, and the embassies of
potential source countries all believe that TIP, if it occurs at all
in Brunei, is very infrequent and most likely ccurs in the context
of legal labor agreements nt being honored by either the employer
or employe. Such cases are prosecuted (or more often mediated)
under the Labor Act. During the year the enfrcement section of
Department of Labor (DOL) recrded 72 complaints by domestic helpers
and 288 cmplaints by corporate / garment workers against emloyers
who failed to pay worker's salaries. Fortyone of the 72 complaints
by domestic helpers wer resolved through mediation, and 204 of the
complaints by corporate / garment workers were resolved through
There are four pending cases of criminal prosecution for non-payment
There have been reports of Brunei being a destination of an unknown
but small number of women for prostitution. The Embassy of Thailand
told us that approximately 2-3 Thai national women were arrested
monthly in Brunei for prostitution. A small percentage of these
women asserted that they had been trafficked to Brunei. However, a
senior Thai Embassy official found almost all of these claims lacked
credibility, noting that in one such case, she overheard one
arrestee tell the other "I told you we should have gone to Hong Kong
or Tokyo." Of all the embassies surveyed, only the Thai embassy
reported one credible case of a woman recruited to work in a
restaurant who was subsequently forced into prostitution.
B. Although the Trafficking and Smuggling Persons Order 2004 is in
force, no case has been tried under this law. During the reporting
period, the government investigated one case as a potential
violation of anti-TIP law, but brought charges under the
easier-to-prove Woman and Children's Act. The case was dropped when
the victim chose not to testify and left the country.
Most trafficking related cases such as contract switching and
non-payment salary are tried under Labor Act. A small country with
a correspondingly small law enforcement community, GOB lacks
internal expertise in addressing trafficking issues. In January
2007, the GOB joined the International Labor Organization (ILO) and
plans to ratify some of the ILO's Conventions and Protocols, which
reflects the GOB's political will to improve labor practices and
address trafficking issues. Also under development is a revised
'Agencies Order' which calls for the screening of recruitment
agencies to regulate potentially deceptive recruitment practices.
C. GOB officials, noting the very small number of potential
trafficking cases, state that the lack of trained manpower is the
main limitation on the GOB's ability to tackle trafficking issues.
D. The GOB has a national committee that addresses transnational
crimes including trafficking, and has already in place the
Trafficking and Person Smuggling Order 2004. The Immigration and
National Registration Department monitors and screen movements of
people entering and exiting the country, not limiting to evidence
for trafficking in persons and trafficked victims.
A. While Brunei acknowledges that trafficking does occur and takes
the issue seriously, it does not see trafficking as a significant
problem. A conservative country with low rates of social crimes
(including prostitution), Brunei officials and social service
agencies simply do not have the case load to indicate that TIP is a
B. The government agencies involved in anti-trafficking efforts are
the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Home Affairs; the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; the Internal Security
Department; the Immigration and National Registration Department;
the Royal Brunei Police Force; and the Department of Community
Development. The lead agency is the Ministry of Home Affairs.
C. Brunei's Attorney General Chambers leads national efforts to
educate law enforcement and social services agencies on the TIP
Order. Training is conducted annually, but lack of staff has meant
that such efforts are limited in scope.
D. During the reporting period, GoB officials participated in a
workshop run by the Government of Japan on "Developing a Coordinated
Inter Agency National Action Plan to Eradicate Trafficking in
Persons" under the umbrella of the Bali Process on People Smuggling,
Trafficking in Persons and related Transnational Crime aimed at
enhancing capacity-building and skill development.
E. There are no NGOs or organizations specifically dealing with the
trafficking in persons issue.
F. Immigration and law enforcement officials at Brunei's six major
entry points screen arrivals and departures and are charged with
enforcing anti-trafficking laws.
G. The National Committee on Transnational Crime (NCTC) under the
Prime Minister's Office coordinates GOB efforts to combat
transnational crimes including trafficking and smuggling of persons.
It is chaired by a Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's
Office and includes representatives from relevant government
services. Brunei's Anti-Corruption Bureau is the enforcement
agency for public corruption, which falls under the Prime Minister's
H. Brunei committed under Bali Process as an ASEAN member to fulfil
the Plan of Action regarding developing a work programme related to
trafficking in persons. Following further interagency review, the
GoB determined that given the very limited scope of trafficking in
Brunei, current training and enforcement efforts were sufficient and
that elements of a National Action Plan against TIP were adequately
addressed in other interagency anti-crime initiatives (see G
INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS:
A. Brunei enacted the Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order,
2004 in December 20, 2004 which specifically prohibits trafficking
in persons - both for sexual and non-sexual purposes including
forced labor. The Order applies to whether Brunei is the receiving,
sending, or transit country.
The Children Order 2000 deals specifically with the offense of
trafficking in children. Section 33 (1) of the Order provides that
it is an offense to take any part in any transaction where a child
is held against his / her will and controlled for any valuable
consideration. The penalty is imprisonment, which may extend to
seven years with ten strokes of the cane or to a fine not exceeding
$20,000 or both.
The Women and Girls Protection Act provides for protection of women
and young girls by, inter alia, penalizing the act of knowing or
associating in the practice of prostitution involving any woman or
girl, or having reason to believe that such woman or girl will be
employed or used in prostitution.
B. Under Section 6 - the offence of exploiting a trafficked person,
where the term 'exploitation' is defined as all forms of sexual
exploitation, stipulates that the exploitation of a trafficked
person shall be guilty of an offense and liable on conviction to a
fine not exceeding BND 1,000,000 (approx. USD660,000) imprisonment
for a term of not less than 4 years but not exceeding 30 years and
C. It is stipulated that any person who recruits or harbors any
persons for the purpose of 'exploitation' - defined as including
forced labor or involuntary servitude - by means of deception, abuse
of power or of a position of vulnerability, is punishable under
Section 4 of the Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004,
which carries a fine not exceeding BND 1,000,000 and imprisonment
for a term of not less than 4 years but not exceeding 30 years and
Investigations conducted by the Department of Labour have identified
labor issues such as: placement in different jobs from those
initially offered; salary deduction for recruitment fees; salary
based on false promises; and high recruitment fees paid by the
prospective employee. However, investigations did not go further to
reveal the involvement of errant agencies in the labour-source
countries. Labor Department officials told us that a new 'Agencies
Order' to regulate labor recruitment agencies and their practices is
under development and expected to be implemented in the coming year.
Non-payment of salary cases are tried under the Labor Act.
Employers who fail to pay wages of their employees will be imposed
with a BND1,500 fine or imprisonment for a term of 6 months.
D. Section 376 of the Penal Code calls for imprisonment of up to 30
years and caning for the offense of rape. Should the rape also
cause harm, cause fear of death or hurt, or involve a minor less
than 14 years old, the minimum penalty is eight years with a minimum
of 12 strokes of the cane with the maximum penalty 30 years.
Trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, which falls under
the Section 4 provision of the Human and People Smuggling Order
2004, carries a fine not exceeding BND 1,000,000 and imprisonment
for a term of not less than 4 years but not exceeding 30 years and
E. Prostitution is illegal. Any individual who sells, lets to hire
or otherwise disposes of or buys or hires or otherwise obtains
possession of any woman or girl that shall be employed or used for
the purpose of prostitution is liable to imprisonment of five years
and a fine of BND20,000.
F. No prosecution has ever been conducted under the Trafficking and
Smuggling of Persons Order 2004. The GOB reported that one
investigation was conducted during the reporting period by the
enforcement agencies into possible trafficking cases for which
prosecution could have been instituted under the 2004 Order. Due to
the difficulty in proving the trafficking offence under the 2004
Order, a decision was made to charge the perpetrators under the
Women and Girls Protection Act, 1972. However, the victims were not
co-operative and were unwilling to stay in the country during
prosecution and the case was dropped.
In 2004, the Government passed an Employment Agencies Order 2004,
which regulates activities of employment agency making them
accountable and responsible for the recruited employees. Under the
Order, the Commissioner of Labour may institute proceedings against
any employment agencies who fail to comply with any provisions of
this Order. Provisions of this order include that agencies may not:
charge or receive any form of fee, remuneration, or profit;
knowingly or voluntarily deceive any person by giving false
information; place any person in any occupation injurious to the
public interest; knowingly send any person to any place for immoral
purposes; or transfers a license to any other person.
G. The Government of Brunei was unable to provide any documentation
or investigative history of proven cases of trafficking. There have
been no/no reports of government officials involved in trafficking.
H. The three enforcement agencies in Brunei Darussalam empowered to
investigate alleged offences committed under the Trafficking and
Smuggling Order 2004 are the Royal Brunei Police Force, the
Immigration and National Registration Department and the Royal
Customs and Excise Department.
The Immigration and National Registration Department actively
conducts enforcement activities in the country (e.g. surveillance or
raid-style operations). There were 236 immigration violation cases
recorded in 2006, of which 99 cases were overstayers. To date,
there were no arrests or prosecutions for trafficking offences under
I. The Attorney-General's Chambers periodically conducts seminars
for the Immigration and National Registration Department on how to
recognize trafficking cases.
J. To date, there have not been any requests from foreign
governments for the Government of Brunei to cooperate in the
prosecution of any trafficking case. GoB officials have indicated
that they are fully prepared to cooperate with their counterparts
should such a request be forthcoming.
K. Brunei has not received any request from any foreign country for
the extradition of persons charged with trafficking offences.
However, under the new Extradition Order 2006, taken together with
the Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004, the offence of
trafficking in persons is deemed to be an extraditable offence.
Under the Extradition Order 2006, Brunei would extradite persons
charged with the trafficking offence if the extradition request is
made by any of the listed Commonwealth country, a country with whom
Brunei Darussalam has an extradition treaty, any other country
designated under the Order, or any entity or country for the purpose
of a particular extradition request.
M. Not applicable.
N. Not applicable.
O. Brunei is neither a State party nor State signatory to any of the
Conventions or Protocols mentioned reftel. However, Brunei became a
member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on 17 January
2007 and intends to became a party to and ratify portions of the ILO
Convention in the near future.
Brunei is a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child
and a National Committee has been established to monitor and
implement the obligations contained the said Convention. Brunei is
considering accession to the Optional Protocol on the Convention on
the Rights of the Child on the sale of Children, Child Prostitution
and Child Pornography. Brunei has already put in place domestic
legislation to criminalize trafficking in children through Women and
Girls Protection Act; Penal Code; Immigration Act; Labour Act;
Children Order 2000; and Trafficking and Smuggling in Persons Order
PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS
A. The Children Order 2000 (Part VIII) deals with trafficking of
children, which provides for taking into temporary custody by the
police or social service agency children who are in need of
protection. Children taken for temporary custody are placed in a
place of safety and are to be examined by a medical officer, who may
administer such procedures and tests as this may be necessary to
diagnose the condition and thereafter to provide the necessary
The Women and Girls Protection Act 1972, can also be applied in the
cases of women and girls trafficked for the purposes of employing or
using them for prostitution or procured to have carnal connection by
threats, intimidation or deceit. It provides for the maintenance of
a place of safety and the provision for cost of care, maintenance
and education of women and girls detained therein.
The country does not have a facility dedicated to trafficking per
say but does have rehabilitation and protection centres (see point F
below) that would take in trafficked victims.
B. The Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004, provides for
the setting up of a fund which can be used for purposes considered
necessary by the Minister of Home Affairs to give effect or carry
out the provisions of the Order.
C. Currently, there is no formal system of identifying victims of
trafficking. Persons can be identified as in need of protective
services under the Women and Girls Protection Act and the Children
D. The rights of a child victim in the legal process are been
safeguarded under the Children Order 2000. That Order prohibits the
publication of any materials which reveal or tends to reveal the
identity of the child (which under the act is defined as a person
under the age of 18 years old).
Under the Criminal Procedure Code, a child victim under the age of
14 years at the time of the alleged offence (if the trafficking
involves an assault, injury, or threat of injury or any sexual
element), may be allowed to give evidence through live television
The Women and Girls Protection Act 1972, provides that (in the type
of cases described above), the proceedings shall be held in camera
and the names, identities or photographs of such women or girls
shall not be published in any media.
Further, the Attorney-General's Chambers endeavour to ensure that
victims of any offences, including trafficking offences are fully
informed of the legal process, including informing them of the
progress of the cases involving them.
E. Brunei police encourage victims to assist in investigation as a
witness. The victims are permitted to obtain other employment in
the country while pending trial proceedings. There is no known
victim restitution program.
F. The Department of Community Development provides rehabilitation
and protection centres under the Women and Girls Protection Act 1972
and the Children Order 2000. The GoB operates four protection
centers under these laws, three of which could be used for assisting
trafficking victims. Taman Noor Hidayah 2 is a protection centre
for children, teenagers, and women or wives who are victims of
sexual abuse, family problems, neglect and for those who need
protection including trafficked victims. The Darussakinah 1 is a
protection home for boys below 18 years old under the Children Order
2000, who are victims of neglect, abandonment and for those who need
protection (temporary shelter). Darussakinah 2 is a protection home
for girls below 18 years old under the Children Order 2000, who are
victims of neglect, abandonment and for those who need protection
The trafficked victims and witnesses will be given basic necessities
such as food, uniform and safety in the shelter as well as
counselling services. Emboffs have visited the Taman Noor facility
during the reporting period and found conditions there Spartan but
clean with well-trained, caring staff.
G. Some Government officials have attended the Bali Process Workshop
on Human Trafficking: Victim Support held on 7 November 2006, in
The Department of Community Development has trained counsellors in
giving counselling to victims to help in rehabilitating the morale
of the trafficked victims who were involved in negative social
activities; and to help trafficked victims to gain self-confidence,
be responsible person to themselves, family, community, religion and
There is no formal training program run by the GoB for foreign
embassies. Post surveyed the embassies of the top five source
countries for legal labor in Brunei. Those embassies all reported
very good cooperation with GoB authorities including police and the
Labor department. Because Brunei is dependent on foreign labor and
the sending countries derive significant revenue from remittances,
all sides have an interest in ensuring labor codes are adhered to
and any disputes are resolved quickly and fairly.
2. (U) Post's point of contact for trafficking issues is DCM Justin
Friedman or FSN Political / Military Assistant, Siti M. Mahmud.
Phone 673-222-9670 ext 2103 or 673-874-0687 or 673-223-1009 or