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Timor-Leste: UN police assist in crackdown on drugs, human trafficking

Timor-Leste: UN police assist in crackdown on drugs, human trafficking

United Nations police are not only helping to restore security in Timor-Leste, where 37 people were killed and 155,000 others, 15 per cent of the population, displaced nearly two years ago, they are also cracking down on illegal immigration, the sale of drugs and possible human trafficking.

Last night the drug police component of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), together with local police, raided two bars in Dili, the capital. At the Mona Lisa Bar, they found evidence of drug usage and identified eight females suspected of involvement in prostitution. All eight were arrested for identification purposes, in connection with investigations into illegal immigration and possible human trafficking.

At the Moon Bar, 13 women and seven men, all foreign nationals, were arrested for identification purposes related to investigations into the trafficking of women. The managers of both bars were among the arrested.

“A crucial part of UNMIT’s mandate is to ensure public security and support the Government in the consolidation of stability and the enhancement of a culture of democratic governance,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Atul Khare said in a statement today, congratulating UN and national police. “Accordingly, we will not allow such activities to flourish.”

Many of the arrested women are thought to have entered the country illegally and police recovered evidence of forged or altered identification documents. Police teams are working in close collaboration with the Immigration Service to process the detainees through the criminal justice system.

The UN enhanced its peacekeeping and policing roles in the small South-East Asian country that it helped to shepherd to independence from Indonesia in 2002 after violence attributed to differences between eastern and western regions broke out in April and May 2006.