Between July and December 2019, the Governments of Fiji and New Zealand co-chaired the 5th Joint Period of Action under the Bali Process Working Group on the Disruption of People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Networks (the Working Group) in Bangkok, Thailand.
Eleven countries – Australia, Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States of American and Vietnam – took part. Representatives from Canada, the Bali Process Regional Support Office, the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime attended as observers.
- Participating countries are seeing an increase in the numbers of migrants being smuggled by air. Another common trend is the increase in trafficking of women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Transnational law enforcement cooperation on trafficking and smuggling remains robust and effective.
- To raise public and law enforcement awareness about human trafficking, participating countries are implementing various outreach and informational programmes.
- The Co-Chairs of the Bali Process Working Group on Trafficking in Persons provided an overview of the Group’s current areas of focus and priorities. In 2019, the Working Group developed a guide to identify victims and a guide to protect victims, both using victim-centred approaches.
- Members would like to have a particular focus on smuggling facilitated by organized smuggling networks, and the use of social media in organized smuggling ventures. With regard to trafficking in persons, members would like to focus on trafficking for the purpose of forced marriage, sham marriages, the production of pornography, and labour exploitation in the construction sector.
- Members reflected on the successes and challenges that the working group has experienced over the past five years, with the long-term nature of investigations often running beyond the six month Joint Period of Action.
- The co-chairs noted the number of action points to take forward in developing and agreeing the Working Group’s future way of working, to ensure continued benefit and impact.