In 2013, UNIAP embarked upon a series of visioning workshops held in all 6 countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and at the regional level, discussing the future of anti-trafficking interventions from 2014 until 2018 including concrete results to be achieved. Engaging more than 200 key stakeholders from governments, civil society, donor agencies, international organizations, academia and others, the emerging picture provided a key resource for the development process of UN-ACT. By making the workshop reports available, UN-ACT hopes that the inclusive, in-depth discussions will also benefit other anti-trafficking stakeholders in developing their interventions going forward. You will find the 7 country- and regional-level reports by clicking on the following link or under ‘Resources’ and then ‘Publications’.…
10 years ago in 2004, the six governments of the Greater Mekong Sub-region countries (Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand & Vietnam) came together to sign a groundbreaking MoU on sub-regional cooperation against human trafficking.
The Process they embarked upon is called the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking, better known as COMMIT.
To operationalize the MoU, COMMIT has worked on the basis of so-called Sub-regional Plans of Action (SPAs), of which three have been implemented to date. SPAIII is currently in its final year, with a process underway to develop SPAIV that is set to guide COMMIT’s work between 2015 and 2018.
UN-ACT as the Secretariat to the COMMIT Process was requested to develop a zero draft of SPAIV, in cooperation with key regional partners from UN and affiliated agencies as well as civil society. A workshop took place for this purpose in June 2014, with the zero draft subsequently having gone through a series of consultations in each of the six countries involved.
Such national-level consultations involved a broad spectrum of different anti-trafficking stakeholders, including governments, international organizations, donor agencies and civil society stakeholders. The process has been by far the most participatory and inclusive for any COMMIT Sub-regional Plans of Action developed to date.
The discussions and feedback from the consultations informed the further development of SPAIV. The regional COMMIT Taskforce meeting in late October 2014 is expected to agree on the new framework agreement in principle and define regional priorities for action in 2015. This will allow for 2015 COMMIT work planning to be done in the last quarter of 2014, whilst SPAIV is set for official endorsement at the COMMIT Inter-Ministerial Meeting in April 2015.
The SPAIV development process has revealed a need to strengthen the regional dimension of cooperation in COMMIT, and to build sustainable and sustainable systems for cooperation between countries, for the Process to live up to the commitments in the COMMIT MoU.
In practical terms, this can be conceived of as institutionalizing a regional referral and protection mechanism. Such a result would take COMMIT to the forefront in the ASEAN context, where similar processes are being developed at the moment, but without an implementation mechanism such as COMMIT.
With the development of a new, more concise and results-oriented SPAIV, the COMMIT Process has the opportunity to fulfill the potential of its original MoU and set an example of effective regional cooperation against human trafficking more broadly.
UN-ACT is looking forward to working with all our partners in supporting COMMIT to achieve precisely this!…
The UNIAP Phase III Final Report presents an account of the work of the UN Inter-Agency Project against Human Trafficking (UNIAP) Phase III, from 2007-2014, which has involved a broad range of interventions against human trafficking with a range of stakeholders from all anti-trafficking sectors.
UNIAP operated in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) from 2000, when several UN agencies came together to create the project to facilitate a stronger and more coordinated response to human trafficking in GMS. The overall goal of UNIAP Phase III from 2007 to 2014 was “to make a tangible and sustained impact on human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region”. Four key objectives were identified for this purpose: 1) Supporting the GMS governments in the continued development and institutionalization of effective multi-sectorial approaches to combat trafficking; 2) Maximizing the UN’s contribution to the overall anti-trafficking response, including the COMMIT Process; 3) Facilitating optimal allocation and targeting of anti-trafficking resources; and 4) Continuing to play a catalytic role in the anti-trafficking response by identifying and supporting special projects to address new and emerging issues and opportunities.
Click on the link above or go to -> resources -> publications to access the full report.…
Phyo (not her real name), age 23, is from Myanmar. When she was 17 years old, she was deceived by a broker and sold to a Chinese man to be his wife in China. As she refused to have a baby with him, she was abused by her husband and his mother-in-law. Aside, Phyo never received any money, unlike promised by her broker. After 8 months, she managed to escape and returned home, but the problems didn’t stop there.
“When I was home, I was very depressed and ashamed. People treated me like a prostitute. I stayed at home and did nothing for two months,” she said.
Phyo was speaking at a “Survivors’ Workhop”, an initiative started in Myanmar in 2009 by the Central Body for the Suppression of Trafficking in Persons (CBTIP) in cooperation with World Vision Myanmar and UNIAP, now UN-ACT. Since then, the gatherings have been held annually.
Key to the workshop is to build the capacity of trafficking survivors, so that they can protect themselves from re-trafficking and manage to successfully (re)integrate into society. At the same time, it provides a platform for survivors from different parts of Myanmar to share their experiences with each other.
Through the program, Phyo realized that she was not the only person to have had such bad experiences. She found many new friends, felt empowered and got involved in community anti-trafficking awareness projects. Besides, she started a small business as a dressmaker with her older sister and took on a leadership role in a survivors’ self-help group in her township selling clothing and materials.
“I don’t want anyone to fall into this living hell as I did. I never thought I’d become a victim of trafficking. I try to share my story with the youth and young women. I will be satisfied if they can learn to prevent human trafficking from my story. It would also be great if we can educate our children about trafficking at schools,” Phyu said.
The program also sees survivors develop recommendations to improve protection & (re)integration services, which they discuss in dialogues with policy makers and developmental agencies.
Thanks to these exchanges, a number of concrete improvements to procedures and key services have occurred, including speedier cross-border repatriation; reduced compulsory shelter stays upon return; extended temporary accommodation in the border areas; re-issuing of National Registration Cards (NRC) for trafficking survivors; speedier and more widely available passport application systems; processes for temporary passports; or the formation of government-led community watch groups as a trafficking prevention tool.
Human trafficking is an ever-changing phenomenon that requires constant learning, especially also from the voices and concerns of those affected by it. As the project has shown, survivors are a key source of information to further develop our interventions. With their experiences and insights, they add credibility and knowledge to the design of anti-trafficking responses, and provide an important reality check on the functioning of the procedures and services in place.…