Victim rights

We work with ASEAN Member States to ensure implementation of ACTIP commitments, especially in connection to victim rights.

The ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) represents a collective statement of the region’s commitment to vulnerable groups in Southeast Asia.

Promoting victim-centred approaches


We work with ASEAN Member States to facilitate dialogue and good practices on victim-centred approaches for prosecutors, judges, police and frontline organisations.

To read about victim-centred approach training in Vietnam, click here.

Victim-sensitive court indicators

To improve the way victims are treated in the criminal justice system, we have developed eight key indicators, together with target ASEAN countries, to encourage victim-centred practices in courts. The indicators serve as a framework and reference point to assist the formal justice sector, in particular courts, to protect the rights of trafficked persons.

Four key data indicators have also been created for the region, as a tool to enable the collection and publishing of information that could support trafficked victims in making an informed decision about participating in legal proceedings.

To find out more about the victim-sensitive court indicators, click here.

When does victim detention become a violation of human rights?

Throughout the ASEAN region, victims of trafficking often find themselves in some form of detention.

In some countries, identified victims are placed in shelters from which they are not permitted to leave – or are only granted very limited rights to freedom of movement.

We have conducted a Study on shelter practices for victims of trafficking in the ASEAN region. The focus of the Study is on freedom of movement for trafficked persons.

To find out more about the study, click here.

Dimensions of victim rights in the ASEAN context

The ACTIP provides clear obligations for ASEAN Member States to protect the rights of trafficking victims. For example, it provides for victim identification in one country to be recognised automatically in another. It also provides for identified victims to have access to assistance and specifies that victims should not be held unreasonably in detention before, during or after legal or administrative proceedings.

Victim identification
Non-criminalisation and conditionality
Right to information about rights
Right to legal assistance
Right to remedy

Terminology – ‘victims’ and ‘survivors’

ASEAN-ACT routinely uses the term ‘victim’, not ‘survivor’, to refer to people who are trafficked. However, both terms are valid and have different implications when used in the context of law and justice, advocacy and service provision.

The term ‘victim’ has legal consequences within the criminal justice process. It refers to an individual who has suffered harm as a result of criminal conduct. The laws that give individuals particular rights and legal standing within the criminal justice system use the term ‘victim’. Law enforcement agencies such as police also use the term ‘victim’ when talking about crime.

‘Survivor’ is a term widely used by service providers and advocacy groups. It recognises the strength and courage people show in overcoming victimisation.