Archive for October, 2016

Regional Network Meeting

Non-governmental, United Nations and academic stakeholders from across Southeast and East Asia came together for an action-packed day focused around counter-trafficking in Bangkok on 30 September.

The program kicked off with a half-day workshop on applying a Communication for Development (C4D) approach to human trafficking prevention interventions, facilitated by our partners from IOM X.

In the afternoon, IOM X and UN-ACT co-chaired the quarterly Regional Network Meeting, this time with a thematic focus on ‘Shifting attitudes as part of a comprehensive behaviour change approach to counter-trafficking’. The panel discussion saw initial presentations from the ILO, Love Frankie and Rapid Asia, and highlighted the importance of time, inclusivity and a culturally adopted approach in bringing about changes to behaviour.

A session on programming updates allowed partners to present to each other their last quarter of implementation as well as plans going forward, with a particular focus on identifying synergies and opportunities for collaborations between those present.

Finally, discussions on ‘latest trends and developments in human trafficking’ raised advocacy efforts, or the lack thereof, for the ratification of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children as well as support for the preparations towards implementation. The group also discussed the nexus between sex work and human trafficking, with a special focus on the notion of ‘consent’ and the complexities around that.

The day ended at the launch of the latest issue of the After Trafficking Review on ‘Trafficking Representations’ at the FCCT in Bangkok. The GAATW-supported publication scrutinizes the often simplistic solutions to a complex phenomenon, as presented by the media, policymakers and humanitarian debates, without challenging the structural and causal factors of inequality underpinning human trafficking.

Around 40 participants from a variety of different organizations attended the Regional Network Meeting – some from Cambodia, Myanmar, Hong Kong, or even the United States – suggesting a growing interest in the forum that seeks to ensure a more coordinated and collaborative response to human trafficking across the region.

If you are working on human trafficking-related issues from a regional perspective in Southeast/East Asia and you would like to attend the Regional Network Meeting, don’t hesitate to drop us a note at


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COMMIT Workshop on Victim Identification and Referral Mechanisms

Governmental and non-governmental stakeholders from all 6 COMMIT member states, i.e. Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, have come together in Bangkok, Thailand for a 2-day workshop titled COMMIT Victim Identification and Referral Mechanisms: Developing Common Guidelines on 25 and 26 October.

The accurate and timely identification of victims of trafficking and the provision of needed support services are vital to counter-trafficking efforts. The COMMIT Governments have identified this as a key issue, and improving victim identification and protection services through referral mechanisms as a key objective to their multilateral and bilateral collaboration.

These frameworks have impacts across counter-trafficking efforts including: the ability of victims to be recognized and provided with effective support; the interest of victims in being formally identified; the possibility for law enforcement to gain evidence against traffickers; the ability to gather data on vulnerabilities to trafficking in persons; and to accurately understand the prevalence and forms of trafficking in persons.

Under the COMMIT Sub-regional Plan of Action IV (SPA IV: 2015-18), the Governments have agreed to the following outcomes and outputs in the area of victim protection:

Outcome 4.1: Victims of Trafficking are Identified

  • Output 4.1.1: Standardised regional identification procedures, based on commonly agreed indicators of potential trafficking cases, agreed, implemented and reviewed

Outcome 4.2: Victims of trafficking in persons receive appropriate protection and rights-based assistance

  • Output 4.2.1 : National referral mechanisms to support victims of trafficking operationalized
  • Output 4.2.2: Victims of Trafficking receive protection and assistance both in country of destination and in their country of origin

At the regional COMMIT Taskforce meeting in February 2016, the 6 Governments agreed that victim identification frameworks and referral mechanisms were a priority for the COMMIT Process.

This follows the agreement of joint victim identification indicators at an ASEAN-COMMIT workshop in Malaysia in December 2015, the first formal initiative between ASEAN and COMMIT. The victim identification indicators are the first step in helping first responders to trafficking in persons identify more possible victims of trafficking who may then be referred to the relevant authority for initial assistance and ultimately formal identification purposes.

As a result of these developments, the Lao Government has proposed that the COMMIT Senior Officials Meeting 11 (SOM11) to be hosted in Lao PDR on 24 November 2016 focus on victim identification and referral mechanisms. Preparation for this will draw together the COMMIT governments’ experiences and commitments on this issue, and engage in consultations to develop agreed guidelines for COMMIT countries.

Recognising that policy developments and guidelines require commitment to implement, it is also intended that implementation indicators are developed to review progress against the objectives set.

The goal of the 2-day workshop is hence to develop such common COMMIT guidelines and indicators on victim identification and referral mechanisms for implementation under the COMMIT SPAIV, to be endorsed by the SOM11 in Lao PDR in November 2016.


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‘How the lack of protection for persons displaced by climate change increases their vulnerability to exploitation and human trafficking’: The latest Blog

We have published the latest blog, ‘How the lack of protection for persons displaced by climate change increases their vulnerability to exploitation and human trafficking’.

In this piece, Jenna Klein, J.D. Candidate at the School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, discusses the shortcomings in the current international legal framework in providing protection to the increasing number of people displaced by the effects of climate change, and analyzes how these leave such populations more vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking.

You can access the blog by visiting our forum or clicking on this link.

What do you think about the blog? And what are your thoughts on the nexus between climate change and human trafficking?

We would be happy to hear from you! You can comment directly in response to our blog!…

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