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Government of Myanmar strengthens its national plan to combat human trafficking

Yangon - At the “National Consultation and Strategic Planning on Strengthening Myanmar’s Response to Human Trafficking” in Yangon on August 5-6 2010, over 50 representatives from government, law enforcement, social welfare, the criminal justice system, UN agencies and civil society came together to review Myanmar’s five-year plan of action for counter-trafficking and to share information on successes and gaps in this plan.

The two-day conference hosted by the Central Body on Suppressing of Trafficking in Persons (CBTIP), resulted in a stronger and more targeted National Plan of Action (NPA) for the remaining period of the current NPA (2007-2011) to combat human trafficking in Myanmar.

Participants at the forum provided inputs and technical assistance towards this review of past counter-trafficking efforts, working together to propose solid recommendations for an improved plan of action. In particular, Anti-Trafficking Task Force (ATTF) officers from the most critical human trafficking hotspot provinces in Myanmar attended to provide real-time perspective to the breadth and scope of this internal and cross-border crime. Special emphasis was placed on improving prevention and protection mechanisms, and increasing arrests and prosecutions of offenders.

“When it comes to human trafficking, Myanmar has always been at the defeated end, a victim” said Police Colonel Sit Aye in his opening statement on behalf of the Central Body on Suppression of Trafficking in Persons at the National Consultation and Strategic Planning.

“In China, Myanmar girls are being sold to individuals to become purchased wives. In Thailand too, girls are forced into prostitution, exploited sexually, have to work like slaves in factories with some being enslaved permanently on sea-faring fishing vessels to be used as recreational objects - all such appalling and heart breaking incidences are still taking place today.”

“While there have been numerous successful milestones in Myanmar’s counter-trafficking efforts in recent years, it is time to increase the momentum of our country’s quest in combating human trafficking” added Police Colonel Sit Aye.

The Deputy Director of the Transnational Organized Crime Department, Police Lt. Col. Rallyan Mone, made a presentation on human trafficking case patterns and statistics in Myanmar. This was followed by an overview of human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, presented by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP). In addition, the Deputy Director of the Department of Social Welfare Mr. Daw Thin Thin Nwe presented a snapshot of human trafficking and responses in Myanmar.

With this background established, the participants were divided into three groups to undertake detailed discussions on the topics of prevention, prosecution and protection, from which recommendations emerged for consideration in drafting the new counter-trafficking plan in Myanmar.

On the second day of the workshop, the various groups presented the results of their small group discussions for consideration by the plenary. These recommendations will now inform the development of annual work plans for the remaining years of the NPA, thus enabling the Government of Myanmar to more effectively target and focus resources in areas most critical to combating this serious transnational crime.