The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) welcomed the signing of the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP) as another milestone in fighting human trafficking. The agreement was signed by the ten (10) leaders of the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which strengthened the commitment of the region in addressing modern-day slavery.
The ACTIP establishes a legal framework for member countries of the ASEAN to effectively address cases related to human trafficking.
Darlene Pajarito, Executive Director of IACAT, hailed the signing of the ACTIP citing the important part of the Philippines in drafting the convention.
“The Philippines, acting as lead shepherd in trafficking in persons, took charge of the Experts Working Group Meetings held prior to the signing of the ACTIP,” she said.
The member ASEAN countries, which include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, gave emphasis on the prosecution of traffickers, protection of victims and implementing programs intended to prevent trafficking in persons and all forms of abuse.
“A key element of the ACTIP lies on 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,” she added.
The signatories 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,” Pajarito said.30