Subject: ABC: ETimor police arrest 72 for prostitution, drugs

ETimor police arrest 72 for prostitution, drugs

Last Updated 21/01/2008, 14:47:39

East Timor and UN police have arrested 72 locals and foreign nationals for prostitution and drug offences at a number of bars in the capital, Dili.

According to East Timor police, most of them were women involved in prostitution and illegal drugs and are from Indonesia, China, Thailand and the Philippines

Police say several men have also been arrested and are suspected of trafficking women.

A UN Police spokesperson in Dili, Benjamin Osuji, has told Radio Australia's Consays those arrested will undergo a process of proper identification before any charges can be considered.

"At the end of the screening exercise, the normal process of screening, they will be identified properly," he said.

"Police are now working in collaboration with immigration so that they will be able to identify them properly, and then try to link them up with any crime at all."

Trafficking destination

A recent US State Department report identified East Timor as a destination country for women trafficked from Asian countries that include China, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Those reports were proven to be accurate when officers from east Timor's police service, the PNTL and United Nations Police nabbed 28 foreign nationals suspected of human trafficking on the second of January, and then carried out these latest raids, arresting another 72.

A report on human trafficking by the Aloha foundation revealed that foreign women are often brought into the country by wealthy foreign and local businessmen.

But the foundation's Alita Veridial says there are concerns East Timor may become a source of trafficked women, as well as a target country.

"I'm worried about this one personally, becaus erecent experience demonstrates that the country is at an immediate risk of becoming a source country as well."

You can find the full story at Radio Australia's Connect Asia website: 

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