Denpasar, 11 August 2015 — The Human Rights Resource Centre, together with the WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice, the East West Center and Udayana University, with the generous support of the U.S. Government and the British Embassy in Jakarta, kicked off the 8th Annual Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights today in Bali, Indonesia. The theme this year is, “Preventing Slavery and Trafficking in Persons in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).”
“ASEAN is integrating towards a more fluid movement of people, services, capital and goods,” said Professor Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, HRRC’s Acting Executive Director. “Helping to ensure each member state is equipped with the knowledge and institutional safeguards to stop trafficking in persons becomes a matter of urgency.”
Trafficking in persons is a transnational crime that is estimated by the International Labour Organisation to generate approximately US$ 32 billion per year in global revenues. While a majority of trafficking victims are subjected to sexual exploitation, cases of labour exploitation are increasing. The 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons notes that some 40 percent of the victims detected between 2010 and 2012 were trafficked for forced labour. The report also notes that most victims are trafficked close to home, within the region or even in their country of origin.
ASEAN has made important strides toward combating trafficking over the last two decades. The work is expected to culminate in the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons and the ASEAN Plan of Action, both of which are due to be adopted at the ASEAN Summit in November 2015. They will provide ASEAN actors with a blueprint for ongoing cooperation and coordination to prevent, protect (the victims) and prosecute (those responsible for) trafficking in persons.
To be held from the 11th to the 14th of August, the Summer Institute will be attended by key experts and practitioners dedicated to combatting trafficking, as well as representatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers and the ASEAN Secretariat.
With the theme “Combatting Trafficking in Persons: It Takes a Village to Move a Mountain,” a public forum is also planned at the Udayana University to discuss how different actors in the community, especially youth, can be more engaged in combatting trafficking. Raising awareness will help identify strategies in preventing and overcoming trafficking in persons in Bali.