HA NOI — Ministers from six Greater Sub-Mekong (GSM) countries yesterday signed a second joint declaration of the regional framework to reiterate their commitments to combating human trafficking.
With the signing of the joint declaration to COMMIT, or the Co-ordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Human Trafficking, GSM ministers acknowledged that the region must further co-operate in law enforcement to counter human trafficking and protect the vulnerable.
Speaking at the opening of the Third Inter-Ministerial Meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reaffirmed Viet Nam's commitments to fully complying with the recently signed declaration.
According to the Deputy PM, Viet Nam had issued a series of guidelines and laws and ratified important international legal frameworks to fight human trafficking in recent years.
"Human trafficking, particularly women and children, has become a burning issue and a threat to society," Phuc said. "This kind of crime is becoming increasingly complicated due to its sophisticated, trans-national and profitable nature."
Chinese Vice Minister of Public Security Zhang XinFeng said as a member of COMMIT, China had cracked down on cross-border human trafficking in the GSM and actively carried out joint initiatives and investigations while repatriating suspects.
Between 2009 and 2011, 19,000 children and 35,000 women were rescued across China, according to XinFeng, adding that "COMMIT has dealt a severe blow to the crime of human trafficking, protecting the personal rights of citizens of the six countries and promoted each country's stability and prosperity."
Myanmar's Deputy Union Minister of Home Affairs Brig-Gen. Kyaw Zan Myint said human trafficking had been driven by many factors, including disparities between countries in terms of development and wealth distribution.
The international community had recognised the high number of human trafficking cases in the GSM region, Kyaw Zan Myint said, calling on COMMIT countries to link up and co-operate with countries outside the region.
As part of the COMMIT Sub-regional Plan III (2011-2013), over the next two years, GSM countries would increase co-operation between police forces and areas of victim identification, assistance, rehabilitation and reintegration, while promoting anti-human trafficking models that have been applied successfully at a local level.
The signing of the Ha Noi declaration came five years after the first COMMIT declaration was signed in Beijing in 2007. The implementation of activities within COMMIT is co-ordinated by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, established in 2000 with a focus on facilitating a more co-ordinated response to trafficking in the GSM region. — VNS