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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles – 2000 to 2025                                  

Macau (Macao)

Macau's economy has enjoyed strong growth in recent years on the back of its expanding tourism and gaming sectors.

The expanding casino sector, and China's decision beginning in 2002 to relax travel restrictions, reenergized Macau's tourism industry. This city of just over 500,000 hosted more than 30 million visitors in 2008. Almost 60% of these came from mainland China, despite increasing restrictions on travel to the SAR.

Macau's traditional manufacturing industry has been in a slow decline since the termination of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2005. In 2008, exports of textiles and garments generated only $1.1 billion, compared to $13.7 billion in gross gaming receipts.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Macau

Macau is primarily a destination for the trafficking of women and girls from the Chinese mainland, Mongolia, Russia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, and Central Asia for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Most victims are from inland Chinese provinces who migrate to the border province of Guangdong in search of employment, where they fall prey to false advertisements for jobs in Macau. Foreign and mainland Chinese women and girls are deceived into migrating voluntarily to the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) for employment opportunities in casinos, as dancers, or other types of legitimate employment; upon arrival in Macau, some of the victims are passed to local organized crime groups, held captive, and forced into sexual servitude. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Macau.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Judiciary Police
2855 7777
Country code: 853-



Human Trafficking Stretches Across the Region

Moyiga Nduru, Benoni SA, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, June 23, 2004

[accessed 19 February 2011]

[accessed 22 September 2016]

IOM official Jonathan Martens told a three-day conference which opened in Benoni, near South Africa's main commercial city of Johannesburg, this week (Jun. 22) that the women are promised employment, luxury accommodation, and a payment of between 10,000 and 20,000 dollars. Their passports are confiscated once they arrive in Macau.

Martens said South African traffickers earn around 500 dollars for every woman recruited for prostitution in Macau, which has been labeled the "Las Vegas of Asia" for its numerous casinos and nightclubs. Drugs play a "very big role" in recruitment, he added.

A 23-year-old woman identified as Nicola reported to the IOM that she had met nine other black, white and mixed race South Africans aged 18 to 21 in Macau, who were forcibly prostituted in the former colony.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Macau

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 15 June 2021]


Children and migrants were vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking. Migrant construction and domestic workers were vulnerable to exploitative conditions such as recruitment fees, withholding of passports, and debt coercion. Victims were compelled to work in the commercial sex industry, entertainment establishments, and private homes where their freedom of movement was restricted, they were threatened with violence, and forced to work long hours. The government investigated trafficking cases (which typically total one or two annually), but there were no convictions during the year.


The LAB enforced the law through periodic and targeted inspections, and prosecuted violators.

Police crack 10 cases of human trafficking

Alexandra Lages, Macau Daily Times, September 29, 2010

[accessed 19 February 2011]

Since the new law came into force in February 2008, the police have found 30 cases of human trafficking, of which 14 were in 2008, 6 in 2009 and 10 during this year.

“The great majority of the cases have sexual purposes behind, but there are also some cases of human organs trade. Victims are usually women coming from mainland China,” Vong explained.

Human trafficking bill approved

[access date unavailable]

[accessed 13 February 2019]

Luciano Oliveira, assessor to the secretary for administration and justice, Florinda da Rosa Silva Chan, said that the witness protection scheme will be available to any victims of human trafficking who require it.  Each case is an independent case, as “we are dealing with people,” he said, adding that the legal diploma and witness protection scheme will not only apply to underaged victims but to anyone.  The government will also create a committee to deal with issues on human trafficking, which will be “activated in specific cases, when there are victims who need these services, because not all victims require  the same treatment,” Mr Oliveira added.

Judges asked to clamp down on trafficking

South African Press Association SAPA, October 19, 2007

[accessed 19 February 2011]

"Malawian women are sold by Nigerian syndicates... to Germany, Italy and Belgium, and this all happens via South Africa."  She said South Africans themselves were being trafficked to Hong Kong and Macau.  Chinese traffickers were using Johannesburg as a transit point for Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique, Majokweni said. Russian and Bulgarian women were exploited in private clubs and venues in Johannesburg.

Sin City of the East

Malia Politzer, The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2007

[partially accessed 19 February 2011 -- access restricted]

Despite -- or perhaps because of -- its swift development, Macau has become a major sex-trafficking destination for victims from the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia, Russia, Vietnam and mainland China, according to the U.S. report. The Mongolian government recently identified Macau as the top destination for trafficking victims from its country. University of Macau sociologist Alex Choi counted 30 documented cases of human trafficking involving 119 women -- three of them minors -- in 2006 alone. "And that's just the tip of the iceberg," he says. These were cases in which women actually came forward to report that they were trafficking victims, according to Mr. Choi. The vast majority are unable to do so, for fear of deportation or retribution.

US presses Macao over human trafficking

Robin Kwong in Hong Kong, Financial Times, July 1 2007

[accessed 3 May 2020]

“There has been minimal progress in the past year,” Mr Lagon said.  Attitudes in Macao, however, may be changing. Mr Lagon said Mr Ho admitted the territory had not done enough and “expressed a will to address [the problem] within months”.  “It was a marked change in rhetoric,” Mr Lagon said.

Sister Juliana Devoy, whose Good Shepherd Sisters have operated a crisis centre in Macao for 17 years, said it had only dealt with a few victims of sex trafficking.  “The main problem is that we don’t know how to contact the victims and the victims don’t know how to contact us,” she said. “They are not free to just walk around on the streets.”

Talent scout nabbed for human trafficking [PDF]

Jing Villamentefrom, The Manila Standard, Feb 08, 2007

[accessed 19 February 2011]

A gay fashion show manager sending Filipino women to China was arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation after victims complained that they ended up as sex slaves in Macau.

Lasala said Fajardo brought them to nightclub where they had to work 20 hours a day providing sex during their 23-day stay.  The duped recruits later learned that Fajardo had abandoned them, taking all their earnings.

Combating human trafficking in Mongolia: issues and opportunities [PDF]

The Center for Human Rights and Development, Ulaanbaatar, 2003-2004

[accessed 8 July 2013]

[Page 7]  Ulaanbaatar and other major urban centers, including Darkhan, Erdenet, and Er-lian, are the main recruitment centers for traffickers and Macao is the most common destination, though Mongolian women are also trafficked to mainland China, other parts of Asia, and even Europe.

The Crime of Trafficking of Women and Children in Mongolia - The Current Situation [PDF]

National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia & Centre for Human Rights and Development, November 2002

[accessed 5 September 2014]

[accessed 5 February 2018]

[page 17]  Various information sources report that Mongolian women are sold into Yugoslavia, Belgium and Romania in Western Europe and China, Macau, Japan and Singapore in Asia, in order to make profits through prostitution

Asian Migration News

16-31 May 1999

[accessed 19 February 2011]


Four Koreans (another source says five), believed to constitute a criminal ring, were arrested by the police for making 12 Korean women work as prostitutes in Macau last year and early this year. The syndicate has reportedly collected five million won every month from Macau entertainment owners for "managing" the women.


Vladmir Isachenkov, "Soviet Women Slavery Flourishes," Associated Press AP, 6 November 1997

[accessed 19 February 2011]

Macao is a destination of trafficked women from Ukraine and Russia.

Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee - Macau

UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights CCPR,  Human Rights Committee, 5 May 1997

U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add.87 (1997)

[accessed 5 September 2014]

[13] The Committee is particularly concerned at reports on the extent of trafficking in women in Macau and on the large numbers of women from different countries who are being brought into Macau for the purpose of prostitution. The Committee is extremely concerned at the inaction by the authorities in preventing and penalizing exploitation of these women and that, in particular, immigration and police officials are not taking effective measures to protect these women and to impose sanctions on those who are exploiting women through prostitution in violation of article 8 of the Covenant.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30 September 2005

[accessed 19 February 2011]

[8] The Committee regrets the limited statistical data on sexual exploitation and cross-border trafficking included in the State party’s report, both with regard to mainland China and the Macau SAR. It is further concerned that the data refer almost exclusively to the number of women and children rescued rather than those abducted, and that data often refer to different time periods, which hampers accurate assessment and monitoring of the situation regarding the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

[14] The Committee is concerned at the limited information provided about services to assist child victims with regard to reintegration and recovery on the mainland. It is also concerned about the absence of assistance programs specifically designed for child victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation in the Macau SAR.

[18]. The Committee notes with appreciation the increased regional cooperation between the State party and neighboring countries, such as Viet Nam. However, it is concerned about reports of increased cross-border trafficking of girls, both from and to the State party, apparently for the purposes of sexual exploitation and prostitution.


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – From January to November, the SAR investigated 42 cases of procurement. While most of these cases involved women who were believed to be willing participants in the sex industry, 10 women claimed to have been brought to the SAR under false pretenses and 3 complained of abuse. SAR authorities believed that Chinese, Russian, and Thai criminal syndicates were involved in bringing women to the SAR for the purposes of prostitution. Prostitutes were primarily from mainland China, Russia, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, and Thailand.

There were no government assistance programs for victims of trafficking. No local NGOs specifically dealt with the problem; however, there were charitable organizations that provided assistance and shelter to women and children who were the victims of abuse.

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