The Asean Convention on Trafficking in Persons (Actip) was signed recently by the 10 leaders of the member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a move that is expected to strengthen commitment of the region in addressing modern-day slavery.
The signing of the agreement was lauded by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (Iacat).
Under the convention, Asean—Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—will focus on prosecution of traffickers, protection of victims and implementation of programs intended to prevent trafficking in persons and all forms of abuse.
The Actip establishes a legal framework for the member-countries of the Asean to effectively address cases related to human trafficking.
Darlene Pajarito, executive director of Iacat, cited the country’s important role in drafting the convention.
The Philippines “played a pivotal role in the development of the convention, acting as the principal guide for the Experts Working Group Meetings held prior to the signing of the Actip.”
“A key element of the Actip lies in the promotion of cooperation between member- countries in meeting the objectives of the agreement,” Pajarito said.
This is equally helpful in tracking down human trafficking rings operating within the region and the consequent prosecution of these individuals,” he added.
Signatories who were present underscored the urgency to protect the rights of the victims of human trafficking in accordance with international law and related treaties.
Pajarito also hailed all those who have contributed their time and expertise in the development of the convention, particularly representatives from Iacat Council Members.
“We congratulate the men and women who have displayed unyielding commitment and grit in facilitating the development of an effective agenda in dealing with trafficking in persons in the region,” he said.