Third Ministerial Conference

Location: Bali, IndonesiaDate: 14 - 15 April 2009
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At the third Ministerial Conference, which took place in Bali, Indonesia over 14-15 April 2009, Ministers reaffirmed their strongest support for a continuing commitment to combating people smuggling and trafficking in persons.

Ministers expressed particular concern at illegal means of transporting smuggled and trafficked persons, including illegal maritime ventures, which put the lives of those being smuggled or trafficked at very considerable risk. Ministers acknowledged that trafficked persons are victims, especially women and children, and need protection and assistance through victim support, rehabilitation and reintegration.

Ministers expressed their concern that transnational criminal organisations continue to profit from the smuggling and trafficking of human beings, with disregard for the safety or human rights of those being smuggled and trafficked. Ministers agreed that people smugglers and traffickers operated without regard to international human rights principles and instruments or national legal frameworks.

Ministers underlined the importance of source, transit and destination countries increasing efforts to combat people smuggling and trafficking in persons, including by enhancing national legislation to criminalise these activities.

Ministers also agreed on the importance of a victim-centred approach to law enforcement, especially in relation to trafficking in persons, which can only enhance prosecution and prevent re-victimisation.

Ministers noted that enhanced regional cooperation, including extradition of people smugglers and traffickers, would help dismantle criminal networks and reinforce regional efforts to counter the illegal trade in persons. Ministers agreed that cooperation should be based on an acknowledgment that each State had a sovereign right and legitimate interest to develop and implement its own laws to address people smuggling and trafficking in persons, reflecting the non-binding nature of the
Co-Chairs' Statement.

Establishment of Ad-hoc Group

Ministers at the Third Bali Regional Ministerial Conference considered that the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime had now reached a point of maturity where it was timely to take a new step in its development.

Noting the persistence of current situations concerning the irregular movement of people in the Asia-Pacific region, Ministers considered that the Bali Process was well positioned to assist affected countries upon request. To this end, Ministers agreed that the Ad Hoc Group (AHG) mechanisms used during the establishment phase of the Bali Process be retasked to develop regional responses to these current challenges.

Accordingly, Ministers requested the Co-Chairs of the Steering Group to make available the retasked AHG to address comprehensively particular situations on a case-by-case basis upon the request of affected countries. The Steering Group would draw participation for the AHG from the most-affected countries as well as relevant international organisations, and report developments to the wider membership of the Bali Process as appropriate.

The AHG would have the following terms of reference: (a) to develop practical outcomes at the operational level to assist countries to mitigate increased irregular population movements; (b) to enhance information sharing arrangements between most-affected countries; and (c) to report to Co-Chairs through the Steering Group with concrete recommendations to inform future regional cooperation on people smuggling and trafficking in persons.