UN officials welcome Southeast Asian agreement on human trafficking

29 October 2004

United Nations officials today hailed the signing of a cooperation agreement by six Southeast Asian countries to tackle the scourge of human trafficking.

At a meeting in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar, representatives from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam signed a memorandum of understanding that binds them to help them deal with human trafficking in the Mekong river region, one of the world's hotspots for the problem.

The agreement - the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region - includes measures to establish a network to repatriate victims to their home countries, improve extradition procedures and create links between specialist police units in each State.

Hailing the agreement, J. K. Robert England, Chair of the Regional UN Working Group on Human Trafficking, said cross-border collaboration is essential to defeating the trade in human trafficking. He also welcomed "the balance between law enforcement and human security that the memorandum of understanding embodies."

Charles Petrie, UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar, said the UN system would support the six nations as they moved to implement the accord.

 

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