On 6 December 2022, the Co-Chairs of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime hosted the sixteenth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials in hybrid format with participants attending in-person in Bali, Indonesia and virtually.
In attendance were representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, UAE, Thailand, USA, Viet Nam, IOM, UNHCR, and UNODC.
- The Co-chairs commended the ability of Bali Process members to adapt to changing circumstances. At the same time, members affirmed the value of continuing virtual and hybrid meetings, where appropriate, as well as in-person meetings when possible.
- Members acknowledged the growing scale and complexity of irregular migration in the region due to the impact of Covid-19, and other regional developments. Notable trends include the role of technology both as a tool to recruit and exploit victims and as a mechanism to deter, detect and protect.
- Members reviewed progress against priorities outlined in the 2018 Ministerial Declaration and 2018 Strategy for Cooperation and noted the need to incorparate lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic into the forward plan of the Bali Process.
- Members were briefed on outcomes from the Seventeenth Bali Process Senior Officials Steering Group Meeting held on 5 December 2022. This marks the Third Steering Group meeting held by the Bali Process. Participants discussed current and emerging trends and challenges in the region, with the role of technology a cross-cutting theme throughout all the discussions.
- The Working Group on Trafficking in Persons:
- Raised the issue of increased collaboration with technology platform providers to identify possible ways and means to address trafficking risks in online spaces.
- Will conduct research on different legislative approaches to the links between forced marriage and trafficking in persons used across the Asia-Pacific region.
- Will work with the Regional Support Office (RSO) to encourage members to launch public information campaigns on social media to raise awareness about how to avoid the dangers of trafficking and how to seek support and protection.
- Will further strengthen collaboration with ASEAN.
- The Working Group on the Disruption of People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Networks:
- Will initiate another Joint Period of Action in 2023 to disrupt people smuggling and trafficking in persons networks.
- Conducted its Annual Meeting and a joint tabletop exercise with the Task Force on Planning and Preparedness in October 2022.
- The Technical Experts Group on Returns and Reintegration:
- Plans to update the Bali Process Policy Guide on Returns and Reintegration.
- Plans to collaborate with the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons on the nexus between returns, the criminal justice process for those accused, and protection of the interests of victims.
- The Task Force on Planning and Preparedness:
- The Task Force on Planning and Preparedness and the Working Group on the Disruption of People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Networks held a joint table-top exercise aimed at improving national and regional preparation for large-scale irregular movement by land.
- The Task Force on Planning and Preparedness held virtual Policy Expert Gatherings bringing together experts and civil society representatives to discuss the impact of Covid-19 and health considerations related to people smuggling and human trafficking and vulnerable groups.
- Key priorities were outlined as follows: the need for multi-disciplinary responses to irregular migration; the value of national coordination mechanisms; and the benefit of available training to enhance member governments’ capacities.
- Government and Business Forum:
- The Government and Business Forum continues making progress towards its key priorities of moving towards ethical employment, transparency of supply chains, and safeguard and redress mechanisms.
- The Government and Business Forum held virtual Consultation & Innovation Sessions on the Electronics, Garments and Shipping sectors where participants shared insights and progress on key actions that address labour exploitation and trafficking in persons.
- Bali Process Regional Support Office (RSO):
- Members commended the RSO’s technical support and assistance with strengthened cooperation provided to Bali Process Members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members also noted the RSO’s work and hosting of the following events: the Bali Process 20th Anniversary Constructive Dialogue on Irregular Migration, People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons, and the RSO 10th Anniversary Border Cooperation in Practice and Technology Forum.
- The RSO highlighted its commitment to strengthen border management and law enforcement cooperation through frontline capacity building and collaboration with partners.
- ASEAN – Indonesia Chairmanship 2023
- Indonesia shared its priorities with respect to people smuggling and human trafficking during its ASEAN Chair year.