The 4th Joint Period of Action ran over a period of six months (June to November 2018) with ten countries participating – Australia, Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the USA, and Vietnam. During the Debrief Workshop, member countries reported back on the results achieved through nine joint investigations aimed at dismantling people smuggling and trafficking in persons networks in the Asia-Pacific region.
The 4th Joint Period of Action resulted in several successes, including the arrest of a Fijian citizen as a result of the joint investigation conducted with Immigration New Zealand and the Fijian Police. The female Fijian national was charged with a range of crimes, including 17 counts of human trafficking.
Following on from the successful prosecutions of 10 facilitators and organisers under the 3rd Joint Period of Action of a failed maritime people smuggling venture that departed Indonesia in 2015, Indonesia made solid progress in its financial investigation into the syndicate of notorious people smuggler Abraham Louhenapessy, better known as Captain Bram. With support from Australia and New Zealand, the Indonesian National Police (INP) and the Indonesian Financial Intelligence Unit (PPATK) identified two companies and 13 bank accounts used by the syndicate. Authorities also traced the financial flows from this network to 10 countries, enabling them to identify seven new suspects.
The outcomes of the 4th Joint Period of Action also resulted in the development of a significant intelligence picture across several syndicates, with a vast range of targeting opportunities. Vietnamese authorities continued to work with Australian and Malaysian authorities to detect and deter networks involved in the trafficking of Vietnamese nationals, including minors, for the purposes of sexual servitude. Numerous suspects have been identified, particularly in Australia, and arrests are expected as investigations continue.
As part of a separate case, Sri Lankan Police arrested a male suspect believed to be trafficking Sri Lankan nationals to Malaysia for the purpose of forced labour. Bangladesh also continues to monitor the risks of human trafficking and people smuggling in Cox’s Bazaar.