On 29 and 30 August 2022, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Australian
Attorney-General’s Department co-chaired the Bali Process Working Group on Trafficking in Persons’
(Working Group) Regional Webinar on the Role of Technology in Facilitating and Combating
Trafficking in Persons (Regional Webinar) and Eighth Annual Meeting.
The events were attended by 15 Working Group members (Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, International Organization for Migration, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), six additional Bali Process members as observers (Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Timor-Leste, and International Labour Organization1), two private sector representatives (Meta and Match Group), three civil society representatives (Australian Red Cross, Walk Free and MAST Human) and the Bali Process Regional Support Office.
The Regional Webinar supported the Working Group’s ongoing consideration of technology as a priority issue and action item in its Forward Work Plan 2021–23 (Forward Work Plan). Working Group Co-Chairs and Meta’s Head of Public Policy (Australia) delivered opening remarks, reiterating the importance of working collaboratively to combat technology-facilitated trafficking in persons.
Eighth Annual Meeting
The Eighth Annual Meeting gave members an opportunity to share progress on the implementation of the Working Group’s Forward Work Plan. Action Item leads (Australia, Indonesia, International Organization for Migration, Malaysia, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Vietnam) updated the Working Group on action item progress and planning of future activities, as well as opportunities for member involvement.
Additionally, members contributed to a strategic discussion to identify and respond to emerging challenges and priorities. Members discussed a shift in source and destination countries for trafficking in persons in the region, including shifts driven by ‘call centre scams’ or ‘online scam networks’ (also known as ‘scam factories’). Members also discussed the related increasing ‘forced criminality’ of victims of trafficking in persons, and traffickers’ ongoing use of technology to recruit and exploit victims. Co-Chairs will consider how the Working Group can promote more effective and coordinated responses to these challenges in its 2023 annual events and next Forward Work Plan, in consultation with members and other Bali Process work streams as appropriate.