GLO.ACT supports Lao-Thai exchange on providing legal assistance to victims of human trafficking and smuggled migrants

Vientiane, Lao PDR - 4 December 2018 - On 27 November 2018 UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT) gathered relevant Lao and Thai NGOs and authorities to exchange information on legal support to Lao victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants in Thailand, based on the existing Lao-Thai Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).The overall objective of the exchange meeting was to encourage improved cooperation and coordination, particularly regarding legal assistance, in an effort to create a more efficient and quicker process.  

Arranged over two days, the exchange workshop was co-chaired by Ms. Bounleua Chanthaphomma, Deputy Head of Secretariat to the National Committee on Anti-Human Trafficking, and Director of the Centre for Counselling and Protection of Women and Children, Lao Women's Union, and Mr. Avrohom Simons, UNODC Regional Programme Consultant for Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Focusing on the existing situation and challenges Lao Trafficking in Persons (TIP) victims and irregular migrants face in Thailand, the first day of the workshop heard presentations from two Thai NGOs, the Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN) and the Alliance for Anti-Trafficking (AAT) who actively play key roles in rescuing victims of trafficking from both sexual and labor exploitation, as well as the Thai Royal Police's Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (TATIP) and the Office of the Attorney of Thailand. The People's Supreme Court of Lao PDR presented on the legal process for victims of trafficking in Lao PDR, concluding the first day.

The Thai Ministry of Social Development and Human Security began the second day with an overview of the Thai shelter system and legal assistance process and was followed by a breakdown of the legal process for Lao victims of trafficking in Thailand. The Thai Immigration Bureau provided details on cases involving irregular Lao migrants in Thailand, sharing the available mechanisms in deportation cases involving non-victims of trafficking, irregular migrants, and push back cases. Concluding the presentation portion of the workshop, the Lao Women's Union discussed their shelter procedures and conditions for returned victims of human trafficking.

After an intensive two days of information exchange, workshop participants collaborated in a group activity coordinated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Participants were asked to deliberate and provide inputs on the Standard Operating Procedures for Lao victims of trafficking returning from Thailand. These contributions will be compiled and utilized for the development of the Plan of Action for the Lao-Thai MOU.

The exchange workshop provided an opportunity to learn more on the current situation of Lao victims of trafficking and irregular migrants in Thailand and develop a better understanding of the prosecution process of Lao victims in the Thai justice system. In an effort to further engagement, learning, and development, the exchange workshop initiated a plan for LPN to host two Lao lawyers in the coming months. 

                              

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter-smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

More information about GLO.ACT is available  here.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Siliphaithoun Xayamoungkhoun

GLO.ACT National Project Officer

Email: siliphaithoun.xayamoungkhoun@un.org

Website: www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/glo-act/

Email: glo.act@un.org

Twitter: @glo_act