Asia-Pacific MPs want action to end ‘hidden crimes’

Asia-Pacific MPs meeting in Manila agreed to call upon all Parliaments in the region to end human trafficking, as a new report estimates 72% of the estimated 30 million people trafficked in the world are found in Asia and the Pacific.

Gathered in Manila at the South-East Asia Sub-Regional Parliamentarians’ Meeting on Trafficking and Prevention of Violence Against Women on October 17-18, MPs stressed the need for accurate data on trafficking and violence against women in order to bring targeted solutions.

The Global Slavery Index 2013 released by the Walk Free Foundation (WFF) calls slavery, which includes slavery itself, forced labour or human trafficking, and practices such as debt bondage, forced marriage and exploitation of women and children, as ‘hidden crimes’.

“It is very alarming to note that six among the top ten countries with the highest number of enslaved are from our region. We urgently need to work with governments and parliamentarians to address this issue,” said Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD).

AFPPD, with support from AusAID strives to end modern day slavery through targeted policies and legislation. A policy brief on human trafficking in South-East Asia was launched by AFPPD to provide parliamentarians with country-specific policy recommendations.

“We need these evidence-based actions to bring change when a huge number of people in our region suffer from human trafficking,” said Senator Claire Moore, Vice Chair of AFPPD.

“As population dynamics increase cross-border movements, governments must be more vigilant to ensure every individual’s human rights and welfare are protected within and outside of their own country.”

MPs adopted a Statement of Commitment to take policy initiatives to end human trafficking particularly in women and children and foster international cooperation to protect migrant workers. They will also provide assistance and necessary services to victims of trafficking in cooperation with non-governmental and civil society organisations.

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