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UNODC and UN Women collaboration seeks to increase number women in law enforcement

Bangkok (Thailand), 10 August 2018
- Up to 60% of victims of human trafficking are women and girls. Yet in some countries of ASEAN, women make up less than 9% of law enforcement officers. This creates a large gap in addressing the needs of women caught in situations of transnational organized crime. As the region advances in trade and integration, governments realise they must address the remaining task of increasing gender equality. Across the globe societies have been asking hard questions about the status of women and the positions of authority that generate greater equality. The citizens of the region are also concerned, and governments must react.

The UN, with the support of the Government Japan and the Government of Canada has recently launched an innovative project that will take direct action towards the long-term objective of increasing the number of female recruits and the number of women in higher levels of law enforcement. According to the Canadian Government, the project will "Increase women's participation and leadership in law enforcement, including border management, as well as to strengthen the capacity of front-line officers in border locations to respond to the needs of women and girls in the context of cross-border crime and migrant smuggling". The ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, entered into force in March 2017 and law enforcement agencies will study the best ways to meet the directives of the convention - including increasing the percentage of women in police, immigration, customs and other regulatory bodies.

The project addresses three main objectives: 1) create an enabling environment through improving the capacity of governments and increasing the availability of sex disaggregated data on trafficking trends and accountability is enhanced for the implementation of commitments to eliminate all forms of trafficking and associated transnational crime, 2) women lead and participate in anti-trafficking policy development and programming, including emergency support to trafficking victims and 3) women and girls' safety is assured and their empowerment promoted.

By the end of the project, governments across the region will have a clear road map of action to tackle the threat of illicit activities more effectively. And, society will be closer to achieving the fundamental objective of representative societies where women have influence over all aspects of governance.

Click here to learn more about UNODC's work on Border management.