Category Archive for "Updates"

Out now: Thailand Migration Report 2019

The UN’s Thematic Working Group on Migration in Thailand has published the Thailand Migration Report 2019. The report aims to provide up-to-date information on migration trends and patterns in Thailand, as well as analysis of migration-related issues and policy recommendations. Individual UN agencies developed different thematic chapters, ranging from working conditions to health and development. UNDP, through its UN-ACT project, contributed a chapter on human trafficking. …

Read More
MoU against Trafficking in Persons signed between China and Thailand

The Governments of China and Thailand, led by the Vice Minister of Public Security of China and the Minister of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Persons in Bangkok on 2 November 2018. The two countries will now start developing a joint Plan of Action to support the implementation of the MoU. With both China and Thailand being members of the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT), UN-ACT has been facilitating this process throughout. The MoU can be accessed in in Chinese, Thai and English here


Read More
‘Irregular Migrants, Refugees or Trafficked Persons?’ The latest ATR guest-edited by UN-ACT is Out!

International migration has become a ‘mega trend’ of our times, with more than 260 million migrants living outside their country of origin in 2017. Some people move in search of better livelihood opportunities, others flee conflict, environmental degradation or natural disasters, and yet others are deceived or coerced into exploitative work. The categories developed by the international community for people on the move – such as smuggled migrants, refugees, or trafficked persons – are increasingly inadequate to capture today’s complex migration flows. Yet, the label that a person is given by authorities can mean the difference between assistance and protection, or arrest and deportation.

This special issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review examines migratory categories, their use among authorities and humanitarian actors, and – most importantly – the impact they have on migrants themselves. In the first article, Giorgia Serughetti uses the concepts of ‘agency’ and ‘vulnerability’ to discuss the role of gendered and racialised stereotyping in determining labels and treatment for Nigerian women asylum-seekers in Italy. Drawing on feminist political philosophy and philosophy of law, Serughetti calls for a refocus of attention from people’s motives for moving to their protection needs. The next four papers – by Benny Hari Juliawan, Jade Anderson and Annie Li, Cécile Blouin and Emily Button, and Katherine Soltis and Rebecca Walters – scrutinise different labels applied to migrants, such as irregular migrants, refugees, smuggled migrants, and trafficked persons, and their potential overlaps, in Malaysia/Indonesia, Hong Kong SAR, Peru and the United States, respectively. A common theme in these papers is the inability, or unwillingness, of states to provide human rights protections to non-citizens on their territories. In some locations, no label grants any meaningful protection and assistance; in others, authorities tend to apply that offering least protection. Another common theme is the need to listen to migrants’ stories and examine their individual situations with greater attention. In the final thematic article, Gabriella Sanchez draws on the perspectives of children engaged in migrant smuggling across the US-Mexico border to call for a more nuanced understanding of their experiences as embedded in socio-political inequalities on both sides of the border. She concludes that narratives portraying young people exclusively as victims of criminals risk reinforcing security-oriented responses such as migration control, which in turn increase children’s socio-economic vulnerabilities.

In the debate section, four authors – Katharine T. Weatherhead, Marika McAdam, Pia Oberoi and Sarah Elliott – discuss the statement ‘It is important and necessary to make clear distinctions between (irregular) migrants, refugees and trafficked persons’. Agreeing with it to different degrees, they collectively emphasise the need to uphold human rights protections for all people on the move, regardless of their particular conditions and motivations for migrating.

Ultimately, the contributions to this Special Issue show that policy responses to migrants must rise to the challenges posed by today’s patterns of mobility, resisting temptations of reductionist or static categorisations. Rights – especially human rights – must be put up front in this endeavour.…

Read More
Joint UN-ACT-ILO Research Launched

Regular migration is often seen as the safest and most beneficial means of migrating for work. Little empirical work, however, has been conducted comparing the experiences of regular and irregular migrant workers, and assessing the associated migration outcomes.

The report What’s the incentive? Comparing regular and irregular migrant work experiences from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to Thailand, informed by two surveys, considers the relative experiences of regular and irregular migrant workers travelling from Lao PDR to Thailand.

It outlines the regulatory framework for labour migration between the two countries, evaluates regular migrant workers’ experiences, and compares these with conditions faced by irregular migrant workers. The study covers respondents’ backgrounds and pre-departure conditions; recruitment; working and living conditions in Thailand; and return to Lao PDR.

Overall, it finds that regular labour migration has yielded more positive migrant work outcomes than irregular channels, though both regular and irregular migrant workers report numerous and varied challenges and decent work deficits during their migrant work experience.

Read More
‘A Turning Point on Migration’: The latest Blog

We have published the latest blog, ‘A Turning Point on Migration’.

In this piece, Owen Shumba, Team Leader of UNDP’s Livelihoods and Economic Recovery Group, discusses the positive development impact of migration, how the Global Compact for Migration may further boost this, and UNDP’s contribution in the area.

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 Global Compact for Migration?

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

Read More
Development Approaches to Migration and Displacement in Asia and the Pacific

Migration and displacement have been described as global megatrends of the 21st Century. The adoption of the SDGs and the development of two Global Compacts on Migrants and Refugees have put these issues high on political agendas across the world.

UNDP has been working on migration and displacement for decades. While the issues have been of higher profile in other regions, Asia and the Pacific sees some of the most significant movements globally. This Policy Brief for Asia and the Pacific outlines our value-added and approach to addressing both the positive and negative impacts of population movements through a development framework.

Migration and displacement are complex phenomena, intersecting with governance and human rights, from international to local levels; livelihoods and inclusive growth, often as drivers of migration; rule of law and access to justice, with migrants frequently excluded; urbanization, which has increased internal and international migration; climate, disasters, conflict and violent extremism, having resulted in displacement; and sustaining peace.

They are about inequality and discrimination – people move to better opportunities, which can paradoxically exacerbate inequalities when not managed; about youth – the demographic most likely to migrate for work; and about gender – migration and employment opportunities, as well as vulnerabilities and resilience to displacement events, are often differentiated by gender.

In applying a holistic development approach to migration and displacement in the Asia-Pacific region, we work towards:

  • ensuring migration is a choice rather than a necessity, supporting alternatives where needed, and developing early warning systems and mitigation to displacement events;
  • empowering migrants and host communities, facilitating integration and social cohesion;
  • strengthening channels for migrants and diaspora communities within and from the region to contribute to sustainable development in their home countries;
  • building the resilience of migrants and displaced persons to various vulnerabilities, including trafficking in persons; and
  • supporting the re/integration of migrants and displaced persons, helping to develop a range of services tailored to their needs.

For more information, please contact Paul Buckley ( or Sebastian Boll (…

Read More
‘Cambodian women left trapped after being tricked into marrying men overseas’: The latest Blog

We have published the latest blog, ‘Cambodian women left trapped after being tricked into marrying men overseas’.

In this piece, Sebastian Boll, Regional Research Specialist at UN-ACT, discusses the relationship between forced marriage and human trafficking, and reflects on some of the findings from a research report on the subject, which UN-ACT and partners published in 2016.

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 how best to address forced marriages?

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

Read More
Next UN-ACT Webinar on 31 January: Human Trafficking Trends and Developments in Southeast Asia

UN-ACT, in collaboration with Freedom Collaborative, invites you to join our next webinar on Human Trafficking Trends and Developments in Southeast Asia on 31 January 31 at 3pm Bangkok-time.

This webinar will discuss latest trends and developments in human trafficking and responses thereto in Southeast Asia and beyond. Based on findings from recent research publications, it will reflect upon the implications of these for counter-trafficking and engage the audience in discussions on lessons learned and promising practices. The format will be interactive, with the wide experiences of partners joining the webinar to be shared and drawn upon.

Facilitators will be UN-ACT’s Regional Technical Coordinator, Paul Buckley, and Regional Research Specialist, Sebastian Boll. Please register here:

Read More
‘Safe Migration in a World on the Move’: The latest Blog

We have published the latest blog, ‘Safe Migration in a World on the Move’, on the occasion of International Migrants Day.

In this piece, Owen Shumba, Team Leader of UNDP’s Livelihoods and Economic Recovery Group, reminds us not to forget the many forced migrants around the world and the communities assisting these, mostly in developing and middle-income countries. He also outlines UNDP’s approach to ensuring that migration contributes to development for all sides.

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 how best to utilize the development potential of migration?

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

Read More
UN-ACT Quarter 3 2017 Newsletter

Click on UN-ACT Quarter 3 2017 Newsletter for all the latest information on human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. For an email-based version of the newsletter that is easier to manage and comes with an improved layout, please subscribe to our mailing list at the bottom of the website.…

Read More