Support to ASEAN

ASEAN-ACT is committed to supporting ASEAN bodies responsible for counter-trafficking by enhancing their capacity to oversee, monitor and report on implementation of the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) and the associated Plan of Action.

The program works with the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) and the ASEAN Heads of Specialist Anti-trafficking Units Process to assist these bodies to fulfil their mandate in implementing the ACTIP, and report on progress.

ASEAN-ACT works closely with the Lead Shepherd on Trafficking in Persons, who chairs the SOMTC working group to progress regional counter-trafficking cooperation. This work is guided by the Bohol Trafficking in Persons Work Plan 2017–2020.

Building on Australia’s previous support, ASEAN-ACT assists the SOMTC with promoting, monitoring and reviewing ACTIP implementation, and reporting periodically on progress to the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime.

ASEAN-ACT’s work with ASEAN bodies is also informed by the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000. The protocol supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Support to Member States

Support to national justice systems

In partnership with national justice and related agencies and their officials, ASEAN-ACT works to develop solutions to the local challenges faced in implementing the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP).

By building on relationships established from previous Australian support, the program connects police investigators, prosecutors and judges to develop problem-solving counter-trafficking initiatives that meet local needs.

As the crime of trafficking in persons changes, local needs for support are also changing. As more and more crimes are perpetrated online, and as traffickers work actively to ensure victim-blaming, new skills are needed to identify and prosecute traffickers, and support victims.

ASEAN-ACT is ensuring that its support to national criminal justice sectors meets local needs. The program is playing a strong role in facilitating more connections and collaboration between local organisations and between countries. This enhanced cooperation between justice officials promotes cross-agency relationships and helps to formalise procedures across Member States.

Enhancing organisational capacity

ASEAN-ACT addresses organisational capacity needs of partner agencies by helping partners identify their challenges and working on counter-trafficking initiatives that can improve operational outcomes.

Partner agencies in the justice and related sectors have indicated that they will require more than training and skills development to achieve their goals in countering trafficking in persons. They have identified the need to work together to support victims and prosecute traffickers, highlighting the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration, leadership and political will for implementing the ACTIP.

Transnational cooperation

ASEAN-ACT supports police-to-police transnational investigative cooperation between ASEAN Member States, as well as international legal cooperation.

Existing transnational police relationships, such as those between the Philippines and Malaysia, and Thailand and Myanmar, have led to the successful prosecution of traffickers whose crimes may otherwise have gone undetected.

ASEAN-ACT’s support is strengthening existing transnational investigative cooperation between police, and helping to establish new police-to-police cooperation mechanisms.