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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                             

Republic of Palau

The economy consists primarily of tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. The government is the major employer of the work force relying heavily on financial assistance from the US.

Business and tourist arrivals numbered 85,000 in 2007. The population enjoys a per capita income roughly 50% higher than that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Palau

Palau is a transit and destination country for a small number of women trafficked from the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for purpose of commercial exploitation, and for a small number of men from the Philippines, the PRC and Bangladesh for the purpose of forced labor. Some employers recruit foreign men and women to work in Palau through fraudulent representation of contract terms and conditions of employment. These foreign workers willingly migrate to Palau for jobs in domestic service, agriculture, or construction, but are subsequently coerced to work in situations significantly different than what their contracts stipulated – excessive hours without pay, confiscation of their travel documents, and the withholding of salary payments as a means of controlling their movement; these conditions may be indicative of involuntary servitude. Some workers are also threatened by their employers, and some women expecting to work as waitresses or clerks, are forced into commercial sexual exploitation in karaoke bars and massage parlors. Since the late 1990s, the Philippines government banned its nationals from migrating to Palau to serve as domestic workers.   - 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 Palau.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate 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.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Palau

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

[accessed 20 June 2021]


There were reports some employers forced foreign workers, particularly domestic helpers, unskilled construction laborers, and workers in the tourism industry, to accept jobs different from those for which they had signed contracts and to accept less pay than stipulated in the contracts. There were also reports of fraudulent recruitment onto fishing boats, with fishermen subsequently facing conditions indicative of forced labor. Filipino, Bangladeshi, Nepali, Chinese, Thai, and Korean immigrants who pay thousands of dollars in recruitment fees and immigrate to the country for the types of jobs noted above are the most vulnerable to these arrangements. Employers sometimes verbally threatened, or withheld passports and return tickets from, foreign workers seeking to leave unfavorable work situations.


There were no reports children worked in the formal economy, but some assisted their families with fishing, agriculture, and small-scale family enterprises.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


Residents generally have access to economic opportunity, and the law provides some protections against exploitative labor practices. However, enforcement of such safeguards is inadequate, and foreign workers (one-third of Palau’s population are noncitizens) remain vulnerable to sexual exploitation, forced labor, or otherwise abusive working conditions in sectors including domestic service and fisheries. The minimum wage law does not apply to foreign workers. Some officials have been accused of complicity in human trafficking.

The 2019 US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report noted that the government of Palau had taken efforts to combat the presence of human trafficking, although much action was needed. In recent years, the president has created a national action plan, funded an assessment of the extent of trafficking in Palau and the effectiveness of the government’s antitrafficking infrastructure, created a temporary shelter for people who have been trafficked, and established a trafficking hotline. However, standard operating procedures to refer survivors of trafficking to protection services, as well as the protection services themselves, are underfunded and inadequate, and the government has not investigated the indicators of trafficking in labor recruitment.

Man convicted of human trafficking ‘luckiest person in the world’

Bernadette H. Carreon, Horizon news staff, Palau News, Marianas Variety, January 9, 2008

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

Ting Feng Chiang “is the luckiest person in the world” for getting out of jail despite his 20-year sentence for human trafficking and advancing prostitution, according to his former attorney, Johnson Toribiong.  On Dec. 28, Associate Justice Lourdes Materne ruled in favor of Chiang who filed a petition for habeas corpus.  Chiang has argued that Toribiong failed to provide him effective representation and that he was deprived of his right to have an interpreter during the trial.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 26 January 2001

[accessed 15 December 2010]

[54] The Committee expresses concern at the absence of adequate labour laws to protect children from economic exploitation. In the light of the increasing number of school drop-outs, the lack of a minimum age for employment and the increasing number of children living and/or working on the streets, the Committee is concerned about the lack of information and adequate data on the situation of child labour and economic exploitation in the State party.

[58] The Committee expresses its concern about the inadequate legal protection of children, particularly boys, against commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution and pornography. Concern is also expressed at the insufficient programmes for the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of child victims of such abuse and exploitation.

The Protection Project - Palau [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - One of the major factors that contribute to trafficking into Palau is the country’s no-visa policy for foreign visitors. This policy attracts recruiters, who commonly use it to lure victims to Palau.

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - There are reports that migrants from the Philippines may be trafficked to Palau for the purpose of forced labor. After being recruited at home, these typically unskilled Filipino workers usually arrive to Palau as tourists and end up being exploited and abused. The practice continues despite a ban on employment of Filipinos in Palau that was issued by the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration. According to the victims, the average “recruitment” fee amounts to US$1,500, which is deducted from the worker’s monthly salary of approximately US$200. An average victim repays the fee in 10 months and is required to set aside the salary of the final 2 months of a typical 1-year contract for the purchase of a return ticket. Consequently, the victims are rarely able to bring any money back to the Philippines.  Child labor is not considered to be an issue in Palau, and no evidence exists that children are forced to work under unsafe or unhealthy conditions.


Human Rights Reports » 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 6, 2007

[accessed 10 February 2020]

WOMEN - Prostitution is illegal, but it was a problem. There were reports of women being trafficked to the country from the People's Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, and the Philippines to work in karaoke bars as hostesses and prostitutes (see section 5, Trafficking). There was one conviction for trafficking for prostitution during the year.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The Divisions of Immigration and Labor and the Office of the Attorney General are involved in combating trafficking; however, the government lacked the resources and expertise to address the problem in practice. There was no formalized assistance available for victims, and victims normally were detained, jailed, or deported if they committed a crime such as prostitution. No nongovernmental organizations specifically addressed trafficking.

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