Trafficking in Persons is a complex and dynamic crime which requires comprehensive legal and social policy approaches to prevent trafficking before it occurs, to protect and support victims, and to prosecute perpetrators and criminal networks.

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Trafficking in Persons involves the use of deception, force or fraud to recruit, transport, harbour and ultimately receive and hold people against their will, with the aim of exploiting them for profit through involuntary servitude and bondage – whether through forced marriage, sexual exploitation or forced labour.

Trafficking in Persons is a $150 billion a year global industry, that can take place both within, and across borders – a victim does not need to be physically transported from one location to another for trafficking to take place.

Men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds and nationalities can become victims of this crime. Victims are often lured through false promises of job opportunities, before becoming trapped in dangerous and exploitative situations.

Transnational criminal networks operate through complex, agile modus operandi, holding significant power and influence through their networks. They are sophisticated in the way they work, enabled by access to substantial funds and their ability to leverage technology advances. They are often involved in multiple form of criminal activity – from illegal trade, to movement of drugs, money laundering and arms smuggling.

Humanitarian disasters, conflict and political instability, and economic inequality continue to drive vulnerable populations to seek better economic opportunities and stability. In developed regions, a crowded jobs market is changing the demographics for those at risk, with a younger, computer-literate population vulnerable to online scams, catfishing and false adverts.

Acknowledging the increasing challenges for those working to tackle criminal networks and to support and rehabilitate victims, the Bali Process’ role in strengthening cooperation and dialogue across Member States is more important than ever.

Countering Trafficking in Persons

The Asia-Pacific region has witnessed an expansion in the incidence and scope of human trafficking and modern slavery following the Covid-19 pandemic. Alongside the largest share of women and children trafficked globally for sexual exploitation, considerable numbers of men and women are trafficked for forced labour and related exploitation, with forced marriage also a real concern for this region.

An expansion of social media use and time spent online resulting from the pandemic has triggered a dramatic increase in tech-facilitated trafficking, where digital technologies are being used both to recruit and exploit victims. Both global and domestic dimensions of trafficking are key issues for this region, with victims found across the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

The Regional Support Office of the Bali Process (RSO) Countering Trafficking in Persons programme aims to support Bali Process Member States by:

  • Providing capacity-building and technical support to Member States to strengthen capacity to identify and protect victims of trafficking and exploitation, using a trauma and victim-centred approach.
  • Promoting cooperation among an extended network of policy makers, law enforcement, legal and protection practitioners for addressing trafficking in persons and modern slavery, in compliance with international, regional and national legal standards and with the commitments undertaken by the Bali Process.
  • Working with Bali Process Member States to promote a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach through capacity building and training activities and policy dialogue.
  • Designing activities with the awareness that women, men, girls and boys are at risk of different methods of recruitment and exploitation. The RSO will support Bali Process Member States to embed a gender-sensitive approach when working to address activities relating to trafficking in persons.

Regional Strategic Roadmap

Regional Strategic Roadmap

The Regional Strategic Roadmap toolkit enables Bali Process members to evaluate existing national policies, and identify gaps in current counter-trafficking programs in a self-directed manner. The toolkit has been designed to assist policy makers and practitioners navigate through four distinct categories: planning, principles, policy and practices.

Regional Strategic Roadmap Regional Strategic Roadmap
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Resources for states, policy makers and practitioners

Resources for states, policy makers and practitioners

The RSO develops resources such as guides, policy papers, thematic briefs, and training materials to support knowledge and capacity building across Bali Process Members to address people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime, and facilitate the sharing of information and best practices from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.



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