You are reading: Bali Process Trafficking in Persons Working Group and Taskforce on Planning and Preparedness highlight efforts and best practice across region Bali Process Trafficking in Persons Working Group and Taskforce on Planning and Preparedness highlight efforts and best practice across region
01 December 2023 | Event
Bali Process Trafficking in Persons Working Group and Taskforce on Planning and Preparedness highlight efforts and best practice across region

The Ninth Annual Meeting of the Bali Process Trafficking in Persons Working Group, and the Seventh Annual Taskforce on Planning and Preparedness were jointly held in Bangkok over 7-10 November. Members took stock of progress against the Trafficking in Persons Working Group Forward Work Plan for 2021-2023, and looked ahead to the formation and articulation of their 2024-2026 priorities. Co-Chaired by Australia and Indonesia, interventions were made by Working Group Members Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam to update across efforts and progress made to date.

Misuse of Technology and Forced Criminality

Priority issues discussed included the misuse of technology and trafficking into online scam centres as an emerging issue this year, which called on government resources and attention over 2023, and the challenges in providing victim protection and assistance. Delegates also spoke to the importance of public-private partnerships in supporting the detection, disruption and investigation of trafficking in persons taking place online. Co-chairs of both groups commended the RSO for efforts to support Member States in responding to these issues.

The RSO updated on activity that has taken place to support Member States over the past year—including work led by the RSO to provide information and resources on the then-emerging issue of trafficking into online scam centres with the publication of a policy brief Trapped in Deceit in April 2023. This guide subsequently informed national and regional dialogue and policy, and supported regional and national roundtables and presentations.

The RSO also presented on efforts to embed victim-centred and trauma-informed approaches across operational capacity building efforts, through training and capacity development workshops. The RSO raised awareness of the RSO-UNHCR screening and referral app, which supports law enforcement and border and immigration officials to more effectively communicate with potentially vulnerable migrants and victims of trafficking at border stations—and where needed, to identify appropriate referral pathways.

RSO Secondments

Salma Husna, Diplomat (Attache) from the Directorate of International Security and Disarmament, Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and secondee to the RSO will be leading the coordination of a workshop on countering trafficking in persons to take place in 2024. The workshop will fulfil one of the key objectives set out in the Trafficking in Persons Working Group Forward Plan.

The RSO Secondment Programme aims to support strengthening of technical capacity across Member States and allows Member States to share good practices and high-level capacities through and with the RSO, and accordingly across the wider Bali Process membership. Secondments support two-way dialogue between the RSO and Bali Process Member States and have played an important role in building mutual understanding and enhancing information sharing and opportunities for the RSO and participating Member States.

Taskforce for Planning and Preparedness

The Bali Process Taskforce for Planning and Preparedness aims to provide a critical mechanism for agile response and action on large-scale irregular migration events. Member States discussed irregular maritime movements in the Andaman Sea, and examples of public information and safe migration campaigns—work which the RSO will build on with Member States in 2024.

In an intervention, the RSO highlighted the ongoing urgent challenges for the region relating to irregular maritime ventures and reflected on the key leadership role for the Taskforce for Planning and Preparedness.

Tuan Meedin, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Sri Lanka and also a Secondee to the RSO, shared a powerful case study from Sri Lanka National Police highlighting the real-life impacts of smuggling, and the coercive tactics used by smuggling networks to trick and influence people into using smuggling services.

The RSO also updated on the two-week International People Smuggling Investigations programme being run in Colombo, Sri Lanka which Tuan is coordinating— bringing together law enforcement, immigration, coast guard and navy from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

The RSO also presented on work with the UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR) to launch the updated Bali Process Toolkit for Inclusive Civil Registration, building on efforts to support governments to address civil registration gaps—which pose an acknowledged risk factor for trafficking in persons, people smuggling and irregular migration.

David Scott, RSO Co-Manager (Australia) said: “It was a pleasure to present to the Bali Process Trafficking in Persons Working Group on the progress made by the RSO over the past 12 months to support Bali Process Member States in their efforts to counter trafficking in persons and the efforts of the RSO to strengthen regional coordination and information sharing amongst partners and regional organisations.

“The RSO plays an important role in providing support across the Bali Process Working Groups and will continue to enhance these efforts into 2024. We look forward to continuing to build on progress in joining up efforts and bringing together various stakeholders to ensure we build connections and opportunities throughout the Bali Process ecosystem.”