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Tau Matan: Counter trafficking program

The Tau Matan Counter trafficking program commenced in August 2009 when IOM (International Office of Migration) funded PRADET to establish a Safe House for victims of Human Trafficking, both nationally and internationally trafficked. The aim of the project was to provide direct assistance in the shelter such as safety, counselling, medical treatment, and to cooperate with IOM to assist and provide safe return and repatriation to either their country of origin for internationals or to non-offending families if they were nationals. As a tertiary referral service Tau Matan relied on referrals from police, (PNTL and UNPOL), immigration officials and border guards. By December 2011 UNPOL and PNTL had not conducted any more raids on suspicious premises, the IOM International Advisor had left and there were no more referrals so the program was closed.

However, PRADET decided to keep employing one of the shelter workers because she had received extensive training and experience in countering human trafficking and obtained funding for the next 5 years, from a variety of sources including USA Ambassadorial funds, to keep her employed. From 2012 till 2015 the Tau Matan worker provided information and training to raise awareness about human trafficking and the associated risks with the aim of preventing sexual and labor exploitation in Timor Leste. Information and education/training was provided to Immigration Officers, Border guards in Covalima, Batuguarde and Oecusse, students and teachers and community leaders, (Chefe de Suco) and their communities.

In 2016, IOM commenced a new program in Timor Leste employing PRADET Tau Matin to provide psychosocial assistance to victims of trafficking. This is in partnership with the Belun program Early Warning Early Response that monitors incidents of violence and crime in all sub districts. The new Tau Matan program includes 2 counsellors and a driver with the Ministry of Social Services tasked to provide shelter. Victims of sexual exploitation are treated in Fatin Hakmatek.

There have been more cases of sexual exploitation of Timorese nationals reported, particularly of young school girls and cases of young girls and boys from sub-districts being trafficked to larger places such as Dili and Baucau thinking they can go to school but instead they are used sexually and/or as slaves.


After a general meeting and consultation with all stakeholders on 14th July to outline the program and answer questions, IOM provided 3 days TOT training for involved workers in July 2016. The program is still very new. 



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