Click on UN-ACT April 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.…
UN-ACT has published a new brochure outlining the evolution of the project and positioning UN-ACT as a ‘coordinator’ and ‘innovator’ at the strategic intersection of governance, policy, research and direct interventions in Southeast Asia’s counter-trafficking efforts. You can access the publication by clicking on this link.…
Click on UN-ACT January 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.…
The Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking, better known as the COMMIT Process, was established in 2004 at an inter-ministerial meeting between the 6 Greater Mekong Sub-region countries (GMS: Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam), in recognition of the scale, severity and cross-border dimension of human trafficking in the GMS.
The COMMIT Process brings together government agencies, civil society, the United Nations and other international organizations as well as academia and the private sector for a more strategic, more coordinated and more collaborative response to human trafficking, both nationally and regionally. UN-ACT and its predecessor project, UNIAP, have functioned as the secretariat to COMMIT since the Process’ inception.
In early 2015, ministers of the COMMIT countries convened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Process and adopt a new Sub-Regional Plan of Action guiding its work over the next 4 years. This video is a documentation of the meeting as well as a reflection on 10 years of COMMIT through the eyes of many of the key actors involved in the Process.
UN-ACT was invited by the European Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Human Rights to address its hearing on ‘The fight against human trafficking in the EU’s external relations’.
The Project’s task was to outline the global human trafficking situation including numbers and patterns, and to highlight regional trends and particularities in Southeast Asia and the Greater Mekong-Sub-region.
Other presenters came from the ILO, La Strada International and the European Commission, and a Q&A session with EU Parliamentarians concluded the session.
The hearing can be watched at the following link: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20150409IPR41273.
The session was 1.5 hours; UN-ACT’s contributions can be followed starting at 00:03:22 and again at 01:22:35.…
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!…
We have recently updated the ‘Laws and Agreements‘ section of the UN-ACT website with over 100 new resources, which are freely and easily available to download for all readers.
The resources include national, bilateral, regional and international laws and agreements that either directly address trafficking in persons and/or the intersecting areas of criminal law, labour law, marriage, child protection and migration more generally in the various jurisdictions. The documents deal with the areas of prevention, victim identification, cooperation, prosecution, repatriation and rehabilitation. They are available in a number of languages including English, Khmer, Chinese, Lao, Burmese, Thai and Vietnamese.
The resources cover all of the countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), i.e. Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam.…
Have you wondered which areas of research UN-ACT prioritizes? How the Project goes about data collection and analysis? Whether there is scope for cooperation with UN-ACT for research purposes? The UN-ACT Research Strategy will have the answers for you!
Despite efforts by various anti-trafficking stakeholders including UN-ACT’s predecessor UNIAP, the lack of rigorous research on human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and beyond continues to be identified as a significant weakness in the sector. It is for this reason that one of UN-ACT’s key output areas focuses on research, data analysis and access to knowledge, and is intended to help develop and make accessible the evidence base for more effective counter-trafficking work.
UN-ACT’s new research strategy sets out the conceptual framework for the Project’s research work, the priority areas and methodological approaches. It also discusses the UN-ACT’s efforts to help develop standards for research on human trafficking, and how it seeks to promote their application.
If you have questions or comments, or perhaps ideas for joint research projects, we would be happy to hear from you!…
The latest Regional COMMIT Task Force (TF) meeting took place in Bangkok on 15 and 16 October. The meeting brought together the leadership of the national TFs from each of the 6 COMMIT members (Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam) and UN-ACT as the COMMIT Secretariat.
On the agenda were COMMIT capacity development; engagement with civil society actors; cooperation with ASEAN; monitoring and reporting progress of SPAIV implementation; and 2016 work planning. The meeting welcomed external partners for selected sessions, including the ASEAN Secretariat, IOMX, World Vision and Save the Children.
The draft report of the COMMIT capacity assessment and development strategy was discussed with TFs and will be going through a national-level validation process before finalization. The strategy will provide an important resource for UN-ACT and other development partners to identify and coordinate their support to the COMMIT Process going forward.
TF representatives committed themselves to engaging NGOs in relevant sessions at COMMIT meetings, both nationally and regionally. The regional CSO platform will be submitting annual reports on their SPAIV implementation to the COMMIT TFs for joint progress monitoring. The COMMIT Youth Forum will be organized nationally and regionally in the lead up to COMMIT Senior Officials Meetings (SOMs).
There was agreement to intensify cooperation between COMMIT and ASEAN, especially following the adoption of the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP). Communication between national focal points for COMMIT and human trafficking affairs in ASEAN will also be strengthened. The ASEAN-COMMIT workshop on TIP indicators later this year is a concrete example of the intensifying relationship.
Existent national M&E mechanisms and expertise will be drawn upon for COMMIT reporting and monitoring purposes. A reporting template has been developed regionally to ensure compatibility, although different countries may opt for different approaches in line with SPAIV.
The work planning process for 2016 will kick off shortly, with national-level consultations planned for inclusion and buy-in of all relevant actors. The objective is to have the national work plans based on SPAIV finalized for implementation in early 2016.…