Friday, April 26, 2013

Phl urges ASEAN to adopt action plan to combat human trafficking

From the Website of PIA

Phl urges ASEAN to adopt action plan to combat human trafficking

Thursday 25th of April 2013

MANILA, April 25 -- Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Thursday called on members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to come up with a comprehensive regional approach to counter and combat all forms of human trafficking.

The Philippines is hosting the third ASEAN Experts Working Group against human trafficking from April 25 to 26, and Ochoa hopes this will strengthen the commitment of member-countries to fight this regional problem.

“While there are universal mechanisms that address human trafficking or trafficking in persons, there is no regional mechanism that particularly and especially deals with such issues in Southeast Asia,” said Ochoa.

He added: “There must be a regional action plan within the scope of each ASEAN members’ domestic laws and policies to effectively address regional challenges common to all ASEAN members in the fight against human trafficking.”

According to the Executive Secretary, the action plan should include an integrated, cohesive and a more structured monitoring and reporting mechanism on human trafficking in order to prevent and suppress trafficking in persons in the region.

The fight against human trafficking, Ochoa explained, is in line with efforts by the ASEAN to protect and promote human rights, and its commitment to other regional and international declarations against all forms of trafficking in persons, particularly women and children.

“Human trafficking is one of the most contemptible violations of human rights, as those involved in this loathsome crime deprive their victims of their right to life, liberty, and security” Ochoa said, as he pushed for stronger international cooperation to ensure the successful investigation, prosecution and elimination of safe havens of perpetrators and accomplices of trafficking in persons.

During the conference, the ASEAN Experts Working Group hopes to come up with a regional instrument to educate people on human trafficking, promote and protect the rights of victims, strengthen rule of law and border control in the region, establish a synchronized regional approach in the investigation of human traffickers involving foreign nationals, and increase prosecution and conviction of human traffickers to weaken their organized criminal networks.

The conference also aims to further enhance cooperation of ASEAN members with the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons in order to strengthen the region’s capacity to effectively combat human trafficking and provide assistance to victims.

The ASEAN is composed of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (OES)




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