Cablegate: Brunei Tip Report Submission
DE RUEHBD #0080/01 0590657
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280657Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4118
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 000080
DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, EAP/RSP, EAP/MTS
STATE PASS TO USAID
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB
SUBJECT: BRUNEI TIP REPORT SUBMISSION
REF: STATE 2731
1. (SBU) Please find below Post's submission in preparation for the
annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Please note paragraph
designations are 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 approximately
86,000 persons, just over 22 percent of the nation's population, are
foreign workers legally resident in Brunei. With such a large
foreign worker population, it is possible that a small number of
persons may escaped detection as having been trafficked into
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 occurs in the context
of legal labor agreements not being honored by either the employer
or employee. Such cases are prosecuted (or more often mediated)
under the Labor Act.
B. Although the Trafficking and Smuggling Persons Order 2004 is in
force, no case has been tried under this law. Most trafficking
related cases such as contract switching and non-payment of salary
are tried under the Labor Act. Authorities considered prosecuting
one case during the reporting period for trafficking, but lacked
sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial. The two foreign
nationals arrested in this case were convicted for living wholly or
in part on the proceeds of prostitution, and are currently serving
In January 2007, the GOB joined the International Labor Organisation
(ILO) and plans to ratify the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention,
1999. The GOB is currently reviewing relevant laws and policy to
bring them more fully into line with international labor standards.
Under the revised Employment Agencies Order of 2004, recruitment
agencies must be licensed by the government to protect foreign
workers from exploitation. All agencies must be licensed by June
2008 to operate in the country.
C. Anti-trafficking policy, programs, and enforcement efforts are
coordinated by the National Committee on Transnational Crime. The
Immigration Department under the Ministry of Home Affairs is the
lead agency on enforcement. Other 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 Royal Brunei Police Force, and
the Department of Community Development.
D. As the government of a small country with a correspondingly small
law enforcement community, the GOB lacks broadly dispersed internal
expertise in addressing trafficking issues.
E. The National Committee on Transnational Crime monitors anti-TIP
enforcement. The Immigration and National Registration Department
(under the Ministry of Home Affairs) monitors and screens movements
of people entering and exiting the country, including monitoring for
evidence of trafficking in persons and trafficked victims. Given
the very small number of reported possible TIP cases, the GoB does
not prepare any dedicated reports on trafficking.
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 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 valuale
consideration. The penalty is imprisonment, which may extend to
seven years wih ten strokes of the cane or to a fine not exceeding
BND20,000 (approximately USD 14,285) or both.
Section 5 of the Women and Girls Protection Act provides that any
person who knowingly lives wholly or in part on the earnings of
prostitution involving any woman or girl, or in any public place
persistently solicits or importunes on behalf of a women or girl for
immoral purposes, is liable to imprisonment of 5 years and to a fine
of BND 20,000 (approximately USD 14,285).
The Compulsory Education Order 2007 which came into force on
November 24 2007, requires all children aged from six to fifteen
years old to attend school. Violation of the Order will render
parents of such a child liable to a fine not exceeding BND 5,000
(approximately USD 3,450). The Order is meant to ensure all
children in the country obtain a formal education of at least nine
school years. The Order is also intended to prevent parents from
keeping their children out of school to work during school hours.
B. Section 6 of the Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004,
which covers the offense of exploiting a trafficked person where the
term exploitation is defined as all forms of sexual exploitation,
stipulates that anyone who engages in exploitation of a trafficked
person shall be guilty of an offense and liable on conviction to a
fine not exceeding BND 1,000,000 (approximately USD 714,000) and
imprisonment for a term of not less than 4 years but not exceeding
30 years and caning.
C. The Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004 stipulates
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, may be punished by a fine not exceeding BND
1,000,000 (approximately USD 714,000) and imprisonment for a term of
not less than 4 years but not exceeding 30 years and caning.
Non-payment of salary cases are tried under the Labor Act.
Employers who fail to pay wages of their employees can be fined BND
1,500 or imprisoned for a term of 6 months.
The Employment Agencies Order 2004 regulates activities of
employment agencies making them accountable and responsible for the
recruited employees. Under the Order, the Commissioner of Labor may
institute proceedings against any employment agency which charges or
receives any form of fee remuneration, or profit beyond those set by
law or regulation; knowingly or voluntarily deceives any person by
giving false information; places any person in any occupation
injurious to the public interest; knowingly sends any person to any
place for immoral purposes; or transfers a license to any other
person. Violations of this law carry penalties of a fine of up to
BND 5,000 (approximately USD 3,570), imprisonment for a term of up
to 2 years or both. The GoB also cooperates with labor sending
countries that license or certify recruiters to promote open and
transparent labor contracting processes in labor source countries.
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 Trafficking and People Smuggling
Oder, carries a fine not exceeding BND 1,000,000 (approximately USD
714,000) and imprisonment for a term of not less than 4 years but
not exceeding 30 years and caning.
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 BND 20,000 (approximately USD 14,285).
F. To date, there have been no prosecutions in Brunei under the
Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004.
During calendar year 2007, Brunei police investigated and made
arrests in ten cases involving prostitution. The alleged
prostitutes were from Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and China
and had entered the country as tourists. Police investigations
indicated that the women involved had been identified as prostitutes
or possible prostitutes by their home country law enforcement
agencies. In one case, two women asserted that they were trafficked
due to the ill-treatment by their handlers. These women were
sheltered by their home country embassy but declined to cooperate
with the police investigation and were returned home to the care of
their home country social services agency.
In October 2007, two Thai nationals were arrested for living in part
on the earnings of prostitution (pimping). Three Thai national
possible victims of trafficking were sheltered at a government
facility as the police investigated the case as possible trafficking
in persons. Due to insufficient evidence of trafficking (the
victims had come to Brunei voluntarily and contacted the pimping
couple only after arriving) and a lack of cooperation from the
possible victims, authorities prosecuted and subsequently convicted
the pimps under the Women and Girl's Protection Act. The two
convicted are currently serving their sentences.
The Department of Labor (DOL) regularly investigates labor-related
cases involving: placement in different jobs from those initially
offered; salary deductions for recruitment fees; salary based on
false promises; and high recruitment fees paid by the prospective
employee. The GOB can prosecute employers for contract switching
even if the contractual terms were changed with the consent or
knowledge of the concerned employees.
DOL regularly conducts surprise inspections of foreign workers at
their workplace and living quarters to check on possible abuse of
labor work placements and to ensure the workers' living conditions
are generally clean and safe.
During the year, police investigated 14 cases of foreign domestic
helpers who were physically abused by their employers. Thirteen of
the victims were female Indonesians and one female Filippino.
Police reported one male Bangladeshi laborer who was abused by his
During calendar year 2007, the DOL recorded 26 complaints by
domestic helpers and 108 complaints by corporate/garment workers
against employers who failed to pay workers' salaries. Sixteen of
the complaints by domestic workers and 60 of the complaints by
corporate/garment workers were resolved, largely by employer
compensation payments. Eighteen complainants withdrew their
complaints while the remaining cases were still under investigation
at the end of the year.
Immigration authorities were active and effective in identifying
violators of immigration law after they had entered the country.
There were no cases reported of Immigration authorities identifying
immigration violators as potential trafficking victims during the
G. In August 2007, the Head of the Police Anti-Vice unit attended a
course in Australia run by the United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crime (UNODC) on human trafficking and was taught how to identify
victims. The Anti-Vice unit conducts periodic refresher training
for its members on TIP awareness as part of its standard, in-service
The Attorney-General's Chambers provides periodic refresher courses
to the Immigration Department on the Trafficking and Smuggling of
Persons Order 2004. In February 2008, Brunei Immigration officers
attended the Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking, and
participated the 2007 ASEAN Workshop on Criminal Justice Responses
to Human Trafficking in Thailand in May 2007.
The Department of Community Development has trained counsellors in
giving counselling to victims of trafficking and domestic violence
to help in rehabilitating those who were involved in negative social
activities and to help the victims to gain self-confidence and "be
responsible for themselves, their family, community, religion and
H. During the reporting period, the Immigration Department
cooperated fully and effectively with U.S. law enforcement in an
investigation of a possible trafficking case involving persons who
transited Brunei. To Post's knowledge, the USG has not sought
follow up assistance in this case.
I. Brunei has not received any request from any foreign country for
the extradition of persons charged with trafficking offences. Under
the new Extradition Order 2006, taken together with the Trafficking
and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004, the offense 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 countries, 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.
K. Not Applicable.
L. Not Applicable, Brunei had fewer than twenty military personnel
deployed on peacekeeping operations during the reporting period.
M. Not Applicable.
PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS
A. The Children Order 2000 (part VIII) dealing with trafficking of
children provides for taking children who are in need of protection
into temporary custody by the police or social service agency.
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 may be necessary to diagnose the condition
and thereafter to provide the necessary treatment.
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 sexual relations by
means of 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.
B. The country does not have a facility dedicated to trafficking
victims but does have rehabilitation and protection centers run by
the Department of Community Development and staffed with trained
personnel which take in trafficked victims. During the year, three
foreign nationals arrested initially for prostitution were treated
as victims of trafficking and sheltered at a government-run center.
The victims subsequently requested repatriation which was funded by
the Immigration Department. In such cases, the GoB works with the
victim's home country embassy to hand over the returning victims to
social service agencies in their home countries.
C. The Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004 created a
government financed fund which can be tapped to cover the cost of
reparation of smuggled persons and trafficked persons.
D. 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 Order.
One foreign embassy reported that it cooperates with Brunei
Immigration authorities to provide emergency visitor visa
permission, as well as shelter and assistance to its nationals who
have escaped from abusive labor conditions or prostitution (forced
or not) from neighboring areas of Malaysia.
E. Not applicable.
F. The rights of a child victim in the legal process are 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 endeavours 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.
G. The Brunei police encourage victims to assist in investigations
as witnesses. The victims are permitted to obtain other employment
in the country pending trial proceedings. There is no known victim
H. The Department of Community Development provides rehabilitation
and protection centers under the Women and Girls Protection Act 1972
and the Children Order 2000. The GoB operates four protection
centers, 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, and 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
Victims of trafficking and witnesses will be given basic necessities
such as food, clothing and safety in the shelter as well as
counselling services. Emboffs visited the Taman Noor facility
during the reporting period and found conditions there spartan but
clean with well-trained, caring staff.
I. The GOB does not provide any centrally coordinated specialized
training for its officials in identifying trafficking in victims.
The Brunei Police runs an internal workshop on how to identify
trafficking victims for members of the anti-vice unit which deals
with prostitution cases.
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.
J. There are no legal provisions in the 2004 Order that require the
GOB to render assistance to its nationals who are repartriated as
victims of trafficking. There were no cases of Brunei trafficking
victims reported. Given Brunei's small and closely knit community
and social structure, such assistance, if ever needed, would likely
be provided at the village level with the the quiet support of the
K. There have been no reported cases of international organisations
or NGOS working with trafficking victims in the country. The monies
in the trafficking and smuggling of persons fund can be used for the
promotion of information and education of the public in preventing,
suppressing or otherwise combating TIP or people smuggling.
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. 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.
C. There are no NGOs or organizations specifically dealing with the
trafficking in person's issue.
D. Immigration and law enforcement officials at Brunei's six major
entry points screen arrivals and departures and are charged with
enforcing anti-trafficking laws.
E. 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 combating public corruption, which falls under the prime
F. Brunei committed under the Bali process as an ASEAN member to
fulfil the plan of action regarding developing a work program
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
G. The GOB believes that societal moral values, combined with Sharia
law, will deter its citizens from seeking commercial sex acts.
Brunei's official ideology of Malay Islamic Monarchy emphasizes the
primacy of Islamic moral values in society. There are strong social
taboos in Brunei against participating in, let alone travelling
abroad for commercial sex acts. Further, Muslims are subject to
Sharia law, which prohibits Muslim males or females to be in close
and suspicious proximity with another person other than his or her
spouse - an offense referred to as khalwat. Religious authorities
actively investigate khalwat - about 691 cases of khalwat were
reported during calendar 2007. If convicted, offenders may be
imprisoned, fined, or lose their government jobs or pensions.