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Australia moves to reduce trafficking in women and children in South-East Asia.



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Media Release

PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

THE HON KATHY SULLIVAN MP

 

AA24

2 July 1999

 

AUSTRALIA MOVES TO REDUCE TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA

 

I am pleased to announce Australia has committed funds to a United Nations program aimed at reducing trafficking of women and children in the Mekong sub-region.

 

The Australian Government is disturbed by accounts of increased trafficking in people in the sub-region, particularly since the Asian financial crisis.

 

It is estimated that several hundred thousand women and children are vulnerable to traffickers who use violence or the threat of violence, deception and coercion to force them into abusive and exploitative working and living conditions.

 

The three-year anti-trafficking program, coordinated by the United Nations Development Program, will involve international and local non-government organisations working in Cambodia, the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.

 

Importantly, the project will bring together key agencies concerned with stopping trafficking in the sub-region, including ten UN agencies, and organisations such as Childrights-Asianet; End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking (ECPAT); the International Organisation for Migration and the Mekong Region Law Centre.

 

Australian funding for the project will help prevent trafficking through programs designed to empower women and children, and will help non-government organisations provide better protection for vulnerable people. Victims will be assisted to recover and reintegrate back into society through community-based programs.

 

Australian funds will also help to strengthen legal infrastructure and law enforcement agencies to ensure that effective action can be taken against the criminal networks involved in trafficking and that victims with the courage to testify are given protection.

 

To help strengthen the capacity of people and organisations involved in combating trafficking, the program will support improved access to information, research, awareness and advocacy across the sub-region.

 

The A$3.6 million UN program will be an important contribution to the efforts of national governments in the sub-region to stop trafficking. The Australian Government, through the overseas aid program, will provide A$800,000 to the program.

 

 

Media contacts: Judi Nixon (Mrs Sullivan’s office) 07 5591 1011 / 0411 287 258    Deborah Nesbitt (AusAID) 02 6206 4966 / 0417 683 767

 

 

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