The government decreased law enforcement efforts. The 2004 Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order criminalized sex and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of up to 30 years imprisonment and fines, which were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape. The law criminalized travel outside the country for commercial sex with children, prescribing a punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment. Upon referral by other agencies, the human trafficking unit (HTU) of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) screened for trafficking indicators in cases involving prostitution, unpaid wages, workers fleeing their place of employment, or physical abuse of workers. The RBPF investigated 28 cases of potential trafficking in 2017, compared with an unknown number in 2016 and 66 investigations in 2015. Of these, authorities passed two as alleged trafficking cases to the attorney general’s chambers (AGC) for prosecution. In both cases, the AGC determined there was insufficient evidence of trafficking and subsequently prosecuted both cases for non-trafficking offenses. One additional alleged sex trafficking suspect remained under investigation. Authorities did not obtain any convictions under trafficking provisions in 2017, compared to three convictions in 2016, which were the first convictions under trafficking provisions since 2012. In previous years, authorities investigated government officials for complicity in trafficking offenses, including domestic servitude; no such investigations, prosecutions, or convictions took place during the reporting period.
The HTU trained the RBPF, immigration, labor, and anti-vice officers on trafficking and victim identification. Additionally, HTU conducted an outreach program for migrant workers through informational sessions at their respective embassies. The AGC trained multiple government agencies on cross-border control and trafficking.