The ASEAN and the US have agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation in combating human trafficking during a seminar on trafficking in persons (TIP) held recently in Yangon , Myanmar , the ASEAN Secretariat said in its press release.

The press release quoted Luis CdeBaca, US Ambassador-at-Large for Monitoring and Combating Trafficking in Persons as saying at the event that multi-lateral forums have proven themselves as credible response to TIP and ASEAN plays an important role in this regard.

He remarked that the seminar provided an opportunity to increase understanding of TIP and to share different challenges across countries as well as within ASEAN context.

Both sides shared the view that addressing trafficking in persons should not be limited to certain forms of trafficking, but should address all forms of both sex and labour trafficking, whether occurring transnationally or wholly within a country’s borders.

They agreed that priority areas for future cooperation might include but not limited to, providing capacity building training for judiciary and prosecutorial officials on TIP, organising regional workshops, enhancing supports for victims of human trafficking; facilitating enhanced partnerships between government agencies and NGOs, INGOs, CSOs; enhancing dialogue and collaboration between the US and ASEAN member states in the preparation of the country TIP report.

Cognizant that the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP) and Regional Plan of Action (RPA) will be finalised and adopted in 2015, ASEAN and the US looked forward to a strengthened partnership and enhanced future cooperation in combating trafficking in persons.

Besides bringing together national agencies responsible for anti-trafficking in persons from the ASEAN member states and the US agencies concerned, the seminar facilitated the exchange of views in responding to trafficking in persons in individual countries. The convening of seminar underscored US and ASEAN’s shared concern and commitment to combating human trafficking.

The seminar, the first-ever ASEAN-US cooperative activity on TIP, was organised by the US Mission to ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat, and supported by the USAID/ PROGRESS.-VNA