UN-ACT 2015 Annual Report

UN-ACT is pleased to launch the 2015 Annual Report, illustrating our progress across all Output areas; outlining case studies from the countries which we work in; and discussing cross-cutting issues including human rights and gender, constraints in implementation as well as the way forward for 2016 and beyond.

Here some highlights on UN-ACT implementation and impact in 2015:

1) 2911 trafficking survivors were referred and supported through national and transnational mechanisms across all 6 Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries, which is a 16% increase compared to 2014 and may be indicative of improved victim identification and referral mechanisms both within and between GMS countries;

2) 6 major legal and policy improvements occurred in 2015, ranging from a revised penal code in Viet Nam incorporating men being forcibly exploited as cases of human trafficking; and strengthened M&E procedures in Cambodia for the implementation of minimum standards in victim protection; to the adopted anti-human trafficking law in Lao PDR, the first of its kind in the country;

3) The COMMIT Process has continued to strengthen by functioning more effectively and by becoming more transparent, accountable and inclusive. During the 10th Senior Officials Meeting (SOM10)/4th Inter Ministerial Meeting (IMM4) held in Cambodia in 2015, civil society stakeholders participated side-by-side government representatives, presenting their challenges, lessons learnt and recommendations for strengthened cooperation going forward;

4) Collaboration between ASEAN and COMMIT progressed significantly in 2015 through the joint development of common indicators of human trafficking and related forms of exploitation, co-sponsored by UN-ACT. These will enable frontline responders to identify potential victims of human trafficking, prior to more specialized screenings to determine their status. The indicators are expected to be endorsed by the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) and the COMMIT SOM in 2016 before localization and operationalization in national contexts;

5) Research examining the experiences of Lao migrant workers who used recruitment agencies to obtain jobs in Thailand was conducted in 2015, with a final report expected to be published in mid-2016. The project is designed to inform the further development of regular labour migration mechanisms between the two countries, preventing abuse and exploitation as well as assisting those in need. Further, in response to increasing numbers of identified forced marriage cases between Cambodia and China, UN-ACT initiated a research project to identify vulnerability factors for this trafficking pattern as well as opportunities for protection interventions. A final report is set to be launched in 2016 as well.

6) In preparation for the civil society session at SOM10/IMM4, relevant CSOs and NGOs from across the sub-region, with support from UN-ACT, established the Civil Society Platform (CSP) to COMMIT, and convened the CSP nationally and regionally to develop common positions and messages, which their selected representatives presented at the meeting. All GMS countries have since begun to engage civil society more regularly as reflected in 149 CSOs participating in national and regional COMMIT events in 2015, compared to 80 in 2014.

Enjoy reading the full report, and we look forward to the years ahead working in partnership with key anti-trafficking stakeholders in the GMS and beyond to effectively counter human trafficking in the sub-region.…

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The UN Secretary-General’s Message on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

All over the world, tens of millions of people are desperately seeking refuge, many of them far from home and even farther from safety. Migrants and refugees face imposing physical obstacles and bureaucratic barriers. Sadly, they are also vulnerable to human rights violations and exploitation by human traffickers.

Human traffickers prey on the most desperate and vulnerable. To end this inhumane practice, we must do more to shield migrants and refugees — and particularly young people, women and children – from those who would exploit their yearnings for a better, safer and more dignified future. We must govern migration in a safe and rights-based way, create sufficient and accessible pathways for the entry of migrants and refugees, and ultimately tackle the root causes of the conflicts – extreme poverty, environmental degradation and other crises which force people across borders, seas and deserts.

These issues will be central to the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, to be held in New York on 19 September 2016. This meeting aims amongst other goals to win renewed commitment for intensified efforts to combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants and refugees, ensure protection and assistance for the victims of trafficking and of abusive smuggling, as well as all those who suffer human rights violations and abuse in the course of large movements, and promote respect for international law, standards and frameworks.

I call on every nation – whether country of origin, transit or destination – to recognize our shared responsibility. As a first step, we need a strong legal basis for action. I encourage all States to adopt and implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on human trafficking as well as all core international human rights instruments.

On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, I urge everyone to recommit to protect, respect and fulfill the human rights of all migrants and refugees. Creating and supporting well-governed, safe and human rights-based migration and asylum procedures will be an important step towards ending the abhorrent practice of profiting from human despair and misery.…

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‘The Global Effort Against Trafficking in Persons’: The latest Blog

We have published the latest blog, ‘The Global Effort Against Trafficking in Persons’:

In this piece, the UN-ACT team takes the opportunity of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July to reflect upon the anti-human trafficking sector’s achievements, ongoing needs and priorities for the future.

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

What do you think about the blog? We would be happy to hear from you! You can comment directly in response to the blog!…

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12 UN-ACT Results at a Glance

Check out this 2-pager providing a quick overview of 12 of UN-ACT’s key results over the last 2 years of programming. We hope that you find this to be of interest – and don’t hesitate to reach out for questions or comments!…

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‘Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia – A Lesson for Viet Nam’: The latest Blog

We have published the latest blog, ‘Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia: A Lesson for Viet Nam’:

In this piece, Kylie Luu from UN-ACT’s Regional Management Office discusses the Agreement of Manpower Cooperation between Viet Nam and Saudi Arabia signed in late 2014 and the general conditions for migrant workers – especially domestic helpers – in the latter. Factors such as gender inequality, the kafala system, ‘live-in’ arrangements and the use of irregular recruitment mechanisms including social media platforms contribute to migrant workers’ vulnerabilities to abuse and exploitation. With numbers of Vietnamese going to Saudi Arabia expected to increase as a result of the new agreement, the Vietnamese authorities need to prepare their citizens for life and work in the country, including for potential problems and opportunities to access assistance. Kylie also suggests that the government may want to join other important sending countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, and advocate for structural changes to the kafala system and broader labour conditions in Saudi Arabia.

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

What do you think about the blog? We would be happy to hear from you! You can comment directly in response to the blog!…

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UN-ACT April 2016 Newsletter

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.…

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New in ‘Publications’: The UN-ACT Brochure

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.…

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UN-ACT January 2016 Newsletter

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.…

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COMMIT 10 Years and SOM/IMM Video

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.

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UN-ACT in the EU Parliament

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.…

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