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Australia’s commitment to countering human trafficking in ASEAN

Update on Design of Future Investment – March 2018

Investment design – progress to date

The Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking In Persons (AAPTIP), Australia's flagship counter-trafficking program, is set to conclude in 2018.

DFAT is finalising the design of a new counter-trafficking investment to follow AAPTIP. The design has been informed by consultations with key stakeholders including officials from each of the ten ASEAN Member States.

Our proposed investment

Building on Australia's 15 years of investment in countering trafficking in Southeast Asia, it is proposed that the program will work through ASEAN bodies and with ASEAN Member States.

Seven people sitting around a table.
Police from Thailand and Myanmar discuss progress on cross-border trafficking cases in Nay Pyi Taw, November 2017.

The ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) is a milestone for the region in countering trafficking in persons. Australia has supported ASEAN in its development and implementation of ACTIP through previous investments and will continue this cooperation.

The proposed investment has been designed to support ASEAN Member States' commitments under ACTIP. The overarching goal is that:

ASEAN Member States have effective justice systems that provide just punishment of traffickers and protect the human rights of trafficking victims.

Australia's new investment will continue our work with ASEAN in the justice sector and facilitate new approaches that engage related state agencies, civil society and the private sector.

The proposed investment is focused on the achievement of three objectives:

  • enhancing the regional-level capability of ASEAN to oversee and implement ACTIP
  • enhancing national-level capability of individuals, groups and organisations in ASEAN countries to implement ACTIP, and
  • engaging a broader range of actors in public policy to improve ACTIP implementation.

How will it be delivered

The investment is expected to work at regional and national levels. It will continue national-level programming in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. To achieve the proposed objectives, the investment is expected to provide:

  • technical assistance for capacity development at the national-level and regional-level, as well as for international legal cooperation between ASEAN Member States, and
  • facilitation of policy dialogue between justice officials and other stakeholders, including through innovative approaches to participation and deliberation.

Who will the program work with

The program intends to continue its close cooperation with ASEAN Member State governments, who are critical to successful criminal justice responses to human trafficking. These stakeholders include:

Justice officials: government officials responsible for implementing the criminal justice response to human trafficking. This includes police, investigators and administrative officials in law enforcement agencies; prosecutors; judges and court administrators; and justice sector policymakers

Ms Vira Yakaji Na Pikul and Mr Surapol Komchit sitting at a table with microphones in front of them.
Thai judges presenting during a judges and prosecutors roundtable on human trafficking in Chiang Mai, Thailand, November 2017.

Related state officials: government officials from outside the justice sector who contribute to the criminal justice response to human trafficking and the protection of victim rights. These can include officials drawn from ministries and agencies responsible for labour rights, social welfare, education, human rights and countering corruption.

The new investment will encourage engagement with a broader range of stakeholders including:

Civil society and the private sector: stakeholders from outside government who can contribute to the criminal justice response to trafficking. These can include civil society organisations, particularly those organisations that provide support services to trafficking victims and/or advocate for trafficking victim rights, and businesses seeking to reduce trafficking-related risks.

Where to from here

It is expected that a procurement process will commence in March/April 2018. Information on any subsequent request for tenders in support of delivering the investment will be published on AusTender.

Questions regarding Australia's regional cooperation on countering human trafficking in ASEAN can be directed to the Australian Mission to ASEAN, at ASEAN.Mekong.Program@dfat.gov.au

Last Updated: 14 March 2018
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