Deputy Representative Jane E Bocklage Remarks
AICHR – SOMTC Consultation on Human Rights-Based Approach in the Implementation of ACTIP and APA
Le Meridien Hotel, Jakarta
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Dr. Dinna Wisnu,
Ambassador Tavarez, Ambassador Fontan Pardo,
Distinguished Representatives and participants from ASEAN Member States,
It is a great pleasure for me to be with you today to represent the United States at this AICHR-SOMTC Consultation.
ASEAN Member States have demonstrated a strong commitment and taken practical measures to combat trafficking at both the regional and national levels.
I want to congratulate ASEAN again for endorsing The ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children and the ASEAN Plan of Action that emphasize cross sectoral cooperation to combat Trafficking in Persons.
Around the world, approximately 21 million people are victims of trafficking – most of them are women and children.
The United States Trafficking In Persons Report recently estimated that proceeds from the illicit human trafficking industry total 150 billion US dollars.
An International Labor Organization Report estimates that the Asia-Pacific region accrues the highest global annual profits from forced labor at $51.8 billion US dollars due to the high number of victims.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reinforced the tragic nature of this problem in this year’s Statement on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, stating that “Human trafficking is a parasitic crime that feeds on vulnerability, thrives in times of uncertainty, and profits from inaction”. President Obama has perhaps been most clear in calling human trafficking “modern slavery”.
For these reasons and, in the words of Secretary Kerry: the United States is committed to working with our international partners to tackle the root causes and consequences of modern slavery and to exchange ideas and innovative practices.
I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) for bringing us together to share best practices and discuss ways to collaboratively combat Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children, in ASEAN.
Prior to the adoption of the ACTIP, AICHR and SOMTC held the first Joint Workshop on the “Human Rights-based Approach to Combat Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children” in November 2015 in Yogyakarta. Participants from a wide range of relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies joined, as well as National Human Rights Institutions from ASEAN Countries, civil society organizations, and UN Agencies.
The meeting resulted in several recommendations.
First, to hold an annual consultation on TIP and human rights between AICHR, SOMTC, and other ASEAN Sectoral Bodies.
Second, to share information and activities on trafficking.
And finally, to identify areas of cooperation on mutual interests as part of the implementation of ACTIP and the Plan of Action.
Yesterday, the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children took the opportunity to launch the “Regional Review on Laws, Policies, and Practices within ASEAN, Relating to the Identification, Management, and Treatment of Victims of Trafficking, Especially Women and Children”—a collaborative effort between ACWC, the United States, and the European Union.
This review aims to improve national and regional responses to assisting victims of trafficking, and provide a tool to support the implementation of the ACTIP and the Plan of Action.
The ASEAN commitment to address human trafficking is recognized internationally.
To maintain the momentum of these important accomplishments, the United States is honored to support the AICHR – SOMTC consultation on the Human Rights-based Approach to the Implementation of ACTIP and the Plan of Action, in partnership with the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union.
We are all aware that implementing the ACTIP is both a vital and a very challenging task indeed.
It is comprehensive, covering prevention of trafficking, protection and treatment of victims, and promotion of international cooperation.
Combatting trafficking in persons has been and continues to be a top priority for the United States.
We have undertaken extensive efforts to combat trafficking, particularly as it intersects with global organized crime.
We work closely with governments, the private sector, civil society, and the international community to address the root causes of trafficking; to prosecute the perpetrators; and to protect and empower victims to rebuild their lives.
The United States remains committed to working together with AICHR and SOMTC, with the ACWC, and other relevant ASEAN bodies on this issue.
We stand ready to assist ASEAN in implementing the ACTIP and its Action Plan in support of the creation of an ASEAN community free from trafficking in persons.
As Ambassador Hachigian shared at yesterday’s event, our support in this area through the ASEAN-U.S. Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security – the PROGRESS program – will continue. And we are boosting our commitment to ASEAN through a new $21.5 million dollar five-year regional program to combat trafficking in persons in Asia.
The multi-dimensional nature of ACTIP means that multi-sectoral coordination will be the only way to ensure successful implementation. The various ASEAN sectoral bodies must work in unison to produce the appropriate policies, guidelines, technical regulations, programs, and capacity-building activities to combat trafficking, and to protect and treat the victims through a rights-based approach. We highly appreciate the AICHR Representative of Indonesia for organizing the annual consultation and demonstrating an unwavering commitment to enhancing regional cooperation.
We also take this opportunity to welcome and to express our sincere appreciation to all the participants representing the key sectoral bodies in ASEAN such as: the ASEAN Committee on Women, , ACWC, AICHR, Senior Labor Officials Meeting, SOMTC, National Human Rights Institutions, AHA Centre, and the ASEAN Secretariat.
Your participation in this workshop demonstrates a firm commitment to combating trafficking in the region, and determining priority areas of collaboration in implementing ACTIP.
The United States is resolute in supporting ACTIP, and is proud to continue the longstanding partnership with ASEAN to combat trafficking. We hope this event will provide a platform for continuous interaction among ASEAN’s relevant bodies. Again, it is a great honor to be here with you today and I wish you all a very productive workshop.