Watch and Join us Live on 21-22 June #MixedMigration

The response to our call for registrations for the ‘International Seminar on Mixed Migration in Southeast and East Asia’ has far exceeded our expectations. All 100 seats available at the venue filled up within just 4 days. Against such strong demand, we are making available a professional live-stream via our Facebook page at www.facebook.org/notrafficking.

You can follow all presentations and discussions there, and join in by leaving comments and questions that we will raise for you during the proceedings. You may also watch the full event on demand at a later point, in case you are unavailable on 21-22 June.

Please note that key messages from the seminar will be posted on Twitter at #mixedmigration. Please share widely among interested networks!…

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International Seminar on Mixed Migration on 21-22 June 2017

The program for the ‘International Seminar on Mixed Migration in Southeast and East Asia’ organized by UN-ACT and Mahidol University at the Salaya Campus on 21-22 June 2017 is shaping up very well. The draft agenda as of 1 June and abstracts of all accepted papers have been made available on the event’s website: https://sites.google.com/a/mahidol.edu/trafficking-seminar/.

These cover 31 contributions touching upon various dimensions of migration, to be discussed in 7 thematic sessions. Authors have diverse backgrounds including academia, government, civil society or international organizations, and will fly in for the event from almost all parts of the world.

Accompanying the proceedings will be the exhibition ‘Behind Tin Walls’ by Thai photographer Visarut Sankham that documents the lives of migrant workers in Bangkok who reside in temporary, tin-walled structures as they build the city’s skyline. The showing has been made possible with financial support from the ILO Triangle in ASEAN program.

The seminar is now also open for registrations on a first-come, first-served basis via the following link: https://sites.google.com/a/mahidol.edu/trafficking-seminar/registration. Please note that the room capacity is limited to 100 people, so be quick to reserve your place as soon as possible.

For those who cannot attend in person, please keep yourself updated on opportunities to follow the event via live-stream or to watch the recordings after the seminar. More information on this will be shared shortly via the event’s website.…

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UN-ACT Quarter 1 2017 Newsletter

Click on UN-ACT Quarter 1 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.…

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‘Sex Work and Human Trafficking – The Case for Agency and Empowerment’: The latest Blog

We have published the latest blog, ‘Sex Work and Human Trafficking – The Case for Agency and Empowerment’.

In this piece, we reflect on the nexus between sex work and human trafficking, and explore approaches that may help prevent and address exploitation in the context of commercial sex. The blog draws upon a paper that UN-ACT presented at the 2017 Seoul Dialogues, an event organized by UNDP and the Government of South Korea.

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 sex work and human trafficking?

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

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New in ‘Tools & Guidelines’: Supporting the Reintegration of Trafficked Persons – A Guidebook for the Greater Mekong Sub-region

BANGKOK, 7 April 2017 – Today a new tool to support the reintegration of trafficking survivors was released by NEXUS Institute, the United Nations Action for Cooperation Against Trafficking in Persons (UN-ACT) and World Vision. The guidebook – Supporting the Reintegration of Trafficked Persons: A Guidebook for the Greater Mekong Sub-Region – is for practitioners from government and non-government organizations alike, to address weaknesses in the current frameworks of victim assistance and reintegration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS: Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam).

The guidebook highlights positive examples of the reintegration of trafficked persons as well as challenges that many victims face as they seek to move on from their exploitation. It also offers practical guidance to practitioners – through checklists and recommendations – on how to improve reintegration programming and policies.

The guidebook is based on the findings from the regional study After Trafficking: Experiences and Challenges in the (Re)Integration of Trafficked Persons in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, which was published in 2013 by NEXUS Institute and the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP), now UN-ACT. This study was based on in-depth interviews with hundreds of trafficking victims throughout the GMS and identified many good practices and lessons directly from trafficking victims in the region. 

Rebecca Surtees, Senior Researcher at NEXUS Institute and author of both the After Trafficking research report and the newly-published guidebook said, “More than 250 trafficked persons from six countries shared their very personal experiences and reflections of their lives after trafficking. This guidebook is based directly on their reintegration experiences and their recommendations on how to better support victim reintegration.”

The guidebook has been translated into the main languages of the countries covered by the project. It will be disseminated to relevant organizations and institutions in the region to support their on-going assistance work. Amy Collins, Regional Programme Coordinator of World Vision’s Ending Violence Against Children (EVAC) in East Asia Programme highlighted the importance of operationalising the guidance in the handbook to improve reintegration efforts: “World Vision, with our infrastructure in these countries addressing trafficking from policy, advocacy and implementation angles, stands ready to support this endeavour.”

Both the After Trafficking study and the reintegration guidebook are excellent examples of effective regional cooperation through the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT). COMMIT is a mechanism for bi- and multilateral collaboration against human trafficking based on a 2004 Memorandum of Understanding among the six GMS countries. UN-ACT and its predecessor project, UNIAP, have served as the Secretariat of COMMIT since its establishment. 

Kaori Kawarabayashi, UN-ACT’s Regional Project Manager, stressed the critical role of COMMIT in improving reintegration responses: “The study was undertaken in the context of a region-wide reintegration initiative endorsed by the COMMIT governments. It is thanks to the COMMIT framework that we were able to generate the rich evidence base informing the study and this guidebook, and that we now have the mandate to work towards improving policies and programmes on reintegration across the sub-region, in line with international standards.”   

ENDS

***

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UN-ACT Webinar on the Complexities of Mixed Migration in Counter-Trafficking

UN-ACT recently delivered a webinar on ‘Irregular Migrants, Refugees or Victims of Human Trafficking? The Complexities of Mixed Migration in Counter-Trafficking’ on Freedom Collaborative (FC).

The full webinar including the slides used are now available on the FC website and can be accessed here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/record…/1323030627957045515.

If you are interested in the topics discussed, look out for the UN-ACT-Mahidol University conference on these issuex in June 2017 and consider submitting your papers! See more here: https://sites.google.com/a/mahidol.edu/trafficking-seminar/.

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New in ‘Tools & Guidelines’: COMMIT Indicators of Human Trafficking & Guidelines on Victim Identification and Referral Mechanisms

Two new publications of the COMMIT Process are now available for download.

The ‘Common Indicators of Trafficking and Associated Forms of Exploitation‘ are designed to support the initial screening of possible cases of human trafficking, which more robust victim identification procedures then build upon. The results of such initial screenings will depend on a number of the indicators being apparent, and also their severity in a possible given case.

The indicators were developed jointly by the ASEAN and COMMIT Member States, with support from ILO, IOM, AAPTIP and UN-ACT, and adopted by COMMIT at its Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in 2016.

At the same SOM, COMMIT Member States also adopted the ‘Common Guidelines on Victim Identification and Referral Mechanisms‘. Developed at the sub-regional level by government and non-government stakeholders, these guidelines provide direction for policy and programming in COMMIT countries, and draw upon the Process’ experiences as well as international agreements and good practices.

The two documents are complementary in nature, and will be operationalised and localised in 2017, with support from UN-ACT and partners.

 …

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UN-ACT Quarter 4 2016 Newsletter

Click on UN-ACT Quarter 4 2016 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.…

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‘Migrants Mean Business’: The latest Blog

We have published the latest blog, ‘Migrants Mean Business’. It was first published in The Huffington Post and is re-published here on the occasion of the International Migrants Day.

In this piece, Magdy Martinez-Soliman, UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, argues that human mobility is inevitable and unstoppable, but that, if facilitated and well-managed, it creates opportunities for everyone.

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 opportunities and risks associated with migration?

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

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UN-ACT partners with Microsoft to prevent human trafficking from affecting youths

Limited opportunities for education, skill development and employment have contributed to the prevalence of cross-border human trafficking and left youths in the Greater Mekong Sub-region including Thailand vulnerable to forms of exploitation.

To address this important issue, Microsoft has initiated ‘Microsoft YouthSpark: Computer Science and ICT Education to Empower At-Risk Youths in Thailand’ in a joint effort with UN-ACT, the National Council for Child and Youth Development (NYCD), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and World Vision Foundation of Thailand.

The two-day program empowers disadvantaged youths in high-risk areas by enhancing their IT skills. Such IT skills help young people to access information, which in turn can help them to protect themselves, pursue a career path towards self-reliance or become involved with social initiatives. Participants also learn how to use technological tools to create sharable content that raises public awareness of the human trafficking problem. This helps participants to build an in-depth understanding of the issue in order to better protect themselves and their communities. Finally, the program encourages creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills.

YouthSparks is particularly important as it innovatively uses technology classes to combat human trafficking. The sessions are effective in both informing young people about issues related to exploitation as well as developing concrete skills that will reduce the participants’ risks of falling victim to the crime in the future. This is the first time that human trafficking has been targeted in this way in the region, signaling an exciting new development in counter-human trafficking efforts.

The program also demonstrates how UN-ACT can engage with young people as well as the private sector – two of its key partners. Kaori Kawarabayashi, Regional Project Manager of UN-ACT, emphasises:

“Youths are especially vulnerable to human trafficking. UN-ACT is pleased to support the YouthSpark Project, which equips young people with essential computer skills that will enhance their professional opportunities and reduce their risk of exploitation.”

The program has yielded positive results so far. For example, one youth participant says that the sessions gave him “(…) an understanding of the human trafficking problem, which means we can protect ourselves better.” He also says that “[o]n top of the fun activities, we realized that we are actually better problem solvers than we thought we were, and this encouraged us to spread the word for others’ safety.”

Somsak Mukdavannakorn, Public Sector Director, Microsoft (Thailand) Limited, similarly explains:

“With various criminal groups operating in large networks, human trafficking is a highly alarming threat that is close at hand. (…) Our YouthSpark activities allow at-risk youths to access useful information while also putting to work their creativity, analytical thinking, and problem solving skills. Ultimately, we hope that these opportunities will allow them to discover the potential within themselves, which in turn will open up new career opportunities that enable them to contribute to society.”

After two successful sessions in February 2016, Microsoft has already run an additional 5 extended training classes in various at-risk locations across Thailand. The participants in each session have been active in developing brochures, posters, presentations, videos as well as interactive reports and stories that relate to combatting human trafficking.…

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