From May to December 2016, law enforcement and immigration agencies from Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the USA carried out nine separate coordinated operations for crimes including maritime people smuggling and trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation across a wide range of sectors, such as fishing, construction, and domestic servitude. Criminal networks involved in the online commercial sexual exploitation of children were also targeted.
Nominated investigations were expected to involve cooperation with one or more countries. Countries then divided into groups and developed joint investigation or data collection plans.
Parallel efforts led to over 30 arrests, including the arrest of one of the region’s most notorious people smugglers, Abraham Louhenapessy, better known as Captain Bram. Trafficking in persons networks were also disrupted in Malaysia, the Maldives, Philippines, Thailand, and the USA.