A Trafficking in Persons Donor Coordination Meeting was held on 25 November 2015 in Samut Sakhon province in Thailand, together with a field visit to meet with survivors of human trafficking. The meeting was hosted by the Norwegian Embassy, with the support of UN-ACT and the Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN), an NGO based in Samut Sakhon. More than 20 representatives from Canada, Japan, EU, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the US joined the event given their interest and concerns on this issue.
Samut Sakhon has been heavily associated with human trafficking for labour exploitation since 2006 when significant and egregious cases of forced labour of Burmese migrants were uncovered in shrimp processing factories. LPN works to promote and protect workers rights and have responded to cases of abuse of workers and their families. Through advocacy and community networks, LPN has uncovered many cases of human trafficking and have collaborated with the Thai Government and other partners in their anti-trafficking responses.
Research conducted by Johns Hopkins University and LPN, supported by UN-ACT’s predecessor project, UNIAP (United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking), found that a third (33.6%) of Burmese migrants working in the shrimp processing factories had been trafficked at some point. Many of the Thai Government’s initiatives to combat human trafficking have subsequently focused on Samut Sakhon, particularly in regard to the fisheries sector. UN-ACT continues to provide support to LPN to directly combat human trafficking and provide assistance to trafficked persons.
LPN’s investigation of trafficking onto fishing boats in 2014-15 discovered large numbers of survivors stranded in Indonesia and led to large-scale returns to Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia in early 2015. During the Donor Coordination Meeting, donors were able to speak with some of the survivors who had returned to Thailand and wanted to advocate for more efforts to combat trafficking into the fisheries industry. The field visit enabled donors to hear first-hand accounts of trafficking and labour abuses in the region as well as discuss the frontline work in addressing these issues. The meeting discussed the conditions in the industry and ultimately what interventions were important to address the problem.
The Donor Coordination Group also visited a local school collaborating with LPN to provide education to migrant children. The collaboration seeks to overcome stigma against migrants and provide a channel for migrants to enter Thai schooling. It also works to reduce vulnerability to trafficking and child labour through education.
During the field visit, the donor representatives were also updated on UN-ACT’s work on anti-trafficking and its mainstreaming of gender issues, given that 25 November was also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In addition, in light of the recent endorsement of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, a brief update and analysis was provided by USAID.
The visit to Samut Sakhon ensured that donors involved in anti-trafficking interventions at a regional level in Southeast Asia were able to coordinate their work and engage directly with those at the heart of their efforts.…
We have published the latest blog, ‘Cambodia and China Partnering to Protect Vulnerable Migrant Women’:
This piece was written by members of UN-ACT’s China and Cambodia Country Offices. It is inspired by a meeting supported by UN-ACT, in which the Chinese Government hosted a Cambodian Government delegation in Jiangxi Province to discuss ways to protect vulnerable Cambodian women from being exploited by traffickers and to develop a draft agreement between the two countries.
You can access the blog by visiting our forum or clicking this link.
We encourage you to comment directly in response to the blog!…