ASEAN vows to beef up measures vs human trafficking

MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday said the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) is committed to play an active role in the implementation of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP).

ACTIP was created on March 8, 2017 when the Philippines became the sixth ASEAN member state to submit its instrument of ratification to the ASEAN Secretariat.

Presently, eight member states have already ratified ACTIP, including Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Last August, Indonesia organized the AICHR Cross-Sectoral Consultation on Human Rights–Based Instruments Related to the Implementation of ACTIP, in which Philippine Representative and AICHR Chair Leo Herrera-Lim along with DFA-ASEAN Executive Director Zaldy Patron highlighted the need to familiarize and educate people on how to look out for red flags that could lead to TIP incidents.

The Philippine government, for its part, stressed the importance of regional cooperation among all 10 members of the regional bloc to combat trafficking in persons (TIP).

According to the agency, AICHR granted consultative relationships to six civil society organizations (CSOs), bringing to 22 the total number of CSOs with such relationship with AICHR.

The six CSOs are the Islamic Renaissance Front, Suara Initiatif Sdn Bhd, Philippine Migrants Watch, Inc. (PMRW), Persatuan Korban NAPZA Indonesia, FORUM ASIA, and Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor.

The CSOs accredited to AICHR have a wide range of advocacies that include trade unions, migrant workers, indigenous peoples, former prisoners, women’s and children’s rights, persons with disabilities, the environment, and development.

Aside from the PMRW, other Philippine CSOs that are part of this group include Save the Children Philippines, Child Rights Coalition Asia, and the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies, Inc.

AICHR Philippines will partner with AICHR Singapore and Child Rights Coalition Asia in 2018 in conducting a workshop to promote and protect the rights of children in ASEAN.

The Philippines is the Chair of AICHR in 2017 coinciding with ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary. Joyce Ann Rocamora/