The government maintained weak victim protection efforts and did not take steps to proactively identify victims. Since the government’s identification of four potential trafficking victims in 2015, the government has not identified any victims of trafficking. The government did not develop or employ systematic procedures for victim identification among at-risk groups, such as migrant workers or women in commercial sex. Tongan police utilized an Asian liaison officer trained to speak Mandarin Chinese to engage with Chinese citizens living in Tonga who may be vulnerable to trafficking; however, this has never led to the identification of a victim of trafficking. The government had procedures to refer victims of crime, including potential trafficking victims, to an NGO, but did not deploy the procedures during the reporting year due to the lack of proactive victim identification. A distrust of Tongan courts, as well as low levels of understanding of human trafficking among the public, likely contributed to the absence of identified victims. The government continued to provide an unknown amount of funding to an NGO for operations to assist adult female and child victims of crime, including shelter, counseling, and legal services. Although no victims were identified during the year, adult female and child victims of trafficking would be eligible for these services. There were no shelter facilities available to male victims older than 14 years old; however, male counselors were available to assist male victims of any age. Under the immigration act, the principal immigration officer had broad discretionary authority to grant victims permits to stay in the country for any length of time necessary for their protection. Victims could receive asylum in Tonga if they feared retribution or hardship in their country of origin, although no trafficking victim has ever requested asylum.