Human Trafficking in Timor-Leste

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Human Trafficking in Timor-Leste

Press Release

Human trafficking is an act of organized crime meant to control the agency of another person for a particular interest. The purpose may be to monetize or profit from the trafficking process, or to sell the victim to others who may specialize in their exploration and seek access to free labor.

The 2009 penal code of Timor-Leste on human trafficking defines traffickers as people who recruit, transport, transfer, or lodge others by threat or force. Traffickers may also employ kidnapping, fraud (by abusing their authority), or payment in order to get consent from the one who would otherwise shield victims from exploitation.

Timor-Leste is in the second (2) level in 2016, as they were also in 2014 and 2015. The level 2 category signifies that the nation does not meet the minimum standard of Trafficking Victims Protection (TVPA), but recognizes that Timor-Leste has made significant effort to combat such crimes. However, level 2 is considered to be a transitional category to level 3. Level 3 describes countries with high numbers of victims, or countries that have demonstrated no evidence of effort to respond or to increase capacity to combat such crime.

FM’s monitoring this year identified an Indonesian citizen (female) Windhu Handayani, 38, who lives in Dili and recruits Timorese youths that want to work abroad in countries such as Taiwan and Japan. In order to work abroad, she stipulates that applicants must simply pay money for document processing, and do not need to speak English, because she has a good relation with companies that provide jobs anyway. After recruiting and bringing those youths to Indonesia, they are informed that they are not going to work according to the agreement. Meanwhile, their passport and contact numbers were held by Windhu Handayani, who continues to generate new lies in order to extort more money from the victims. FM identified that 3 of Timorese victims have collected money according to Handayani’s request; each victim submitted US$3,500.

FM’s monitoring noted that Windhu Handayani has an established network in Dili, and cooperates with some Timorese in order to recruit more people. FM considers the case as a capital banking crime (money laundering) because it makes use of agencies that legally can receive money and transfer it to Windhu Handayani in Indonesia. The complicit company is FOHO OSAN MEAN FARMACIA, Audian, Dili. FM suspects that there will be more victims who are going to face the same case as the previous six victims, who were recently in Indonesia, because Windhu Handayani has other businesses in Dili that regularly import goods from Indonesia.


1. The national parliament accelerate discussion and fast-track a draft of Anti-human trafficking law. It is currently sitting in the agenda in parliament.

2. The government of Timor-Leste establish and implement mechanisms that can facilitate the identification of victims and conduct detailed investigations.

3. Police within the RI-RDTL strengthen cooperation mechanisms to identify suspects and networks between human trafficking and capital banking in order to capture suspects who now live in Solo-Indonesia.

4. The RDTL investigate the company FOHO OSAN MEAN FARMACIA that has facilitated the laundering of victim’s money to Windhu Handayani in Indonesia.

5. Improve and strengthen police cooperation in the border territory in order to monitor, prevent and combat the transnational crime that comes over the border line of RI-RDTL.

6. Government and civil societies organizations across the country develop prevention actions as soon as possible in order to combat exploitation of youths in rural areas.

For more details on this issue, please see below:


Nélson Belo
Executive Director of FM
Phone: +670 78316075 or 7756 1184

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