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IOM, Macao SAR run counter-trafficking training

( IOM ) -   China's Special Administrative Region of Macao (MSAR) is home to a thriving casino and gambling industry, and is one of Asia's leading tourist destinations. It is also is a destination for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and possibly forced labour, according to the US State Department's 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Macao's vibrant economy and the ease of access from much of Asia means addressing growing exploitation is becoming a priority policy concern. Sex trafficking victims in the MSAR originate primarily from mainland China, but also from Mongolia, Viet Nam, Thailand and Russia.

The territory also hosts a large number of domestic workers, primarily from Southeast Asia, who are at risk of labour (and occasionally sexual) exploitation because their work is performed behind closed doors.  Recognizing that exploitation can affect everyone, the government established a shelter for male victims in 2012.

IOM and the MSAR authorities are responding with a series of counter-trafficking trainings running from 16 to 23 October. Three different sessions are being organized for MSAR social workers, health care professionals and labour department officials.

A group of 70 social workers were trained in victim identification, interviewing techniques and provision of protection assistance between 16-18 October. The training is funded by the Social Welfare Bureau of the MSAR.

For health care professionals, a half-day training will be organized on 21 October for two groups of 35 participants. The purpose of the session is to increase knowledge and understanding of human trafficking and its impact on health, as well as victim identification and care.

The final training will be held for frontline officers of the MSAR Labour Department from 21 to 23 October. Some 120 officers responsible for combating labour trafficking will upgrade their skills in protecting victims of labour exploitation. Together with the training for health professionals, this training will be funded by the MSAR human trafficking committee.