ASEAN law enforcement agencies improve ability to provide gender-focused services

Bangkok (Thailand), 11 October 2019
- Representatives from law enforcement agencies in ASEAN attended a training session on gender, transnational organized crime and the role of women in law enforcement. Participants came from Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand. Each representative was selected on the basis of their role as trainers in the national training academy. And the objective of the event is to create a cadre of trainers at the national level who can train new recruits or officers who must upgrade their skills. The focus on women is important as it helps to achieve three key objectives:

  1. Meet commitments towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 that seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls;
  2. Provide gender-sensitive services to women and girls who are victims of transnational organized crime in border locations; and
  3. Create awareness of the significant improvements to investigations and law enforcement outcomes when teams of women and men work together.

The training is part of a joint collaboration between UN Women and UNODC. This collaboration implements activities in all ASEAN member states and has the support from the Government of Canada and the Government of Japan. The overall project objective is to increase the number of women in law enforcement. This is achieved with research of the current status of women in the civil service, assessment of policies to recruit women and training for relevant units and individuals. The outcomes of the project are already becoming evident as several law enforcement agencies have asked for support to ensure national gender plans have international support.

The training provided participants with insights on how to deploy female officers who can meet the needs of victims of human trafficking. Other capacities included team building skills to create operational units of male and female officers who can work together to tackle the challenges of cross-border crime. Finally, the content of the training provided opportunities to address some of the societal biases that exist and that limit the participation of women in police and other law enforcement agencies. Project Manager, Gerson Bergeth said "We will work with the national training academies to ensure we have a sustainable solution for capacity building. As governments work to meet SDG 5, we need to make sure that local solutions are the primary approach".

The 5-day training event is part of a larger strategy across ASEAN to address the risks associated with increased trade and the movement of labour. As countries remove barriers to trade and make investments in infrastructure we can expect parallel impacts on security and illicit activity. These impacts will disproportionately affect some communities and women who are at risk. The collaboration with UN Women and the partnership with national governments is an ideal effort to counter these risk and also increase the role of women in society.

Click here to learn more about the UNODC Regional Programme for Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Click here to learn more about UNODC Border Management in Southeast Asia