The 7th Anti-Trafficking in Persons Day was held at the Thingaha Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
Celebration of this event was started in 2013 although Myanmar enacted the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law on 13th September 2005.
Vice President U Henry Van Thio delivered a speech at the ceremony, saying that trafficking in persons was a form for human right abuse with brutal exploitation among human beings; it could be seen in various forms across the world while the impact was more severe in economically less developed countries.
The Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018 released by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) indicated that the overall number of reported trafficking victims has increased. The report added Myanmar in the country list of the East Asia and Pacific region.
In reviewing the percentages of human trafficking in the region, men contributed 29 per cent and women 48 per cent; for children boys made up 4 per cent and girls 19 per cent. By categories of exploitation, sexual slavery was 60 per cent, forced labour 38 per cent and other forms 2 per cent.
Japan, Mongolia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Singapore detected many cases, while Myanmar and Thailand could bring many cases to the courts.
The main reasons for human trafficking in Myanmar included socio-economic conditions, natural disasters and internal armed conflicts, while legal or illegal migrants to foreign countries were trafficked.
Myanmar has been taking various measures against the trafficking in persons as a national duty carried out by drawing up a five-year plan which included four sectors in cooperation with relevant ministries, UN bodies, international organizations, INGOs and social communities. Prevention and protection activities including legal proceedings were also carried out.
Five major human trafficking cases in Myanmar were forced marriages, forced prostitution, forced labour, trafficking in children and debt bondage. The country’s human trafficking cases in 2018 were found to be 75.24 per cent in forced marriages, forced prostitution 13.59 per cent, forced labour 8.74 per cent, surrogacy 1.94 per cent, and illegal adoption 0.49 per cent. By countries of destinations, 79.61per cent was related to China, 1.46 per cent to Thailand and 18.93 per cent in Myanmar.
The Vice President also said the forms of human trafficking have changed, but the cases have not declined significantly year by year. It was also found that the cases could be reduced by creating employment opportunities and by giving reasonable wages after discussing with employers and relevant associations.
From the 6th ceremony of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Day last year to date, a total of 210 cases of trafficking in persons occurred. Some 156 cases were brought to courts. Legal actions were taken against 152 men and 334 women in human trafficking cases. Money and properties related to cases were confiscated in accordance with the Money Laundering Eradication Law.
U Henry Van Thio also suggested to give protection to victims in human trafficking in line with basic human rights, UN convention and the humanitarian aspects.
Plans were under way to update the 2005 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law, together with adopting its bylaw. The Central Body for Suppression and Prevention of Trafficking in Person and its working units have been reformed, while the Anti-Trafficking in Person Division of Myanmar Police Force has been expanding its units for effective works.
Myanmar was also a participant in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The country was also taking part in other UN conventions of child rights, various forms of discrimination against women, forced labour, and anti-corruption.
Myanmar hosted the 19th Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime and its related meetings, the16th ASEAN Senior Officials Working Group Meeting on Transnational Crime, and the 34th Special Senior Officers Meeting on Anti-trafficking in Person.
The country was cooperating with other member countries in the implementation plan for the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) Blueprint (2009-2015), the future plan for ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children (ACTIP) and Bohol Trafficking in Person Work Plan (2017-2020).
He also urged the news media to provide assistance together with the relevant state/regional departments and partner groups, courses on human trafficking at basic education level of state-owned schools, private school and universities, disseminating knowledge to the public through regional anti-trafficking units in Regions/States, districts, townships, wards and villages, and promoting cooperation with neighbouring , regional and international countries in fighting against transnational crime in human trafficking.
In concluding his speech, the Vice President advised to take legal actions against human traffickers, protect the potential victims, to rescue the trafficked ones, and to make all-inclusive cooperation in rehabilitating them.
He urged for the participation of all citizens across the country in combating human trafficking in accordance with the theme ‘Join Hands in Fighting Against Trafficking in Person’ for the 7th ceremony for Anti-Trafficking in Persons Day 2019.
Next, a video documentary depicting the efforts in anti-human trafficking in Myanmar was screened.
The Vice President looked around the exhibition booths after posing for documentary photos together with the attendees.
The ceremony was also attended by Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Lt-Gen Sein Win, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Dr Aung Thu, U Thant Sin Maung, U Thein Swe, Dr Myo Thein Gyi and U Kyaw Tin, Union Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo, Deputy Ministers Maj-Gen Aung Thu, Maj-Gen Than Htut and U Tin Myint, Deputy Attorney-General U Win Myint, Member of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Dr Tin May Tun, Nay Pyi Taw Council Member Colonel Min Naung, Permanent Secretaries, Chief of Myanmar Police Force, Directors-General, Deputy Chiefs of MPF, Deputy Directors-General, diplomats, representatives from UN organizations, INGOs and NGOs, members of Central Body for Suppression of Trafficking in Persons and its working groups, social organizations, invited guests and officials. —MNA (Translated by Aung Khin)