On 21 and 23 September 2021, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Australian Border Force co-chaired the Bali Process Working Group on Trafficking in Persons’ (Working Group) Seventh Annual Meeting and Regional Webinar on Combatting Trafficking in Persons in the COVID-19 Recovery Phase (Regional Webinar).
The events were held virtually and were attended by 14 Working Group members (including three international organisations), as well as the Bali Process Regional Support Office. The events were also observed by Bali Process members Singapore, Timor-Leste and the International Labour Organization.
Seventh Annual Meeting
Co-Chairs acknowledged the hardships many countries faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and reinforced the importance of regional cooperation in responding to the increased risks of trafficking and preventing criminal groups from capitalising on the pandemic to exploit people for gain.
Co-Chairs officially launched the Compendium of Good Practice Examples to Combat Exploitation in Supply Chains (Compendium), which delivers on a priority agreed by the Working Group at its Fifth Annual Meeting, and contributes to priorities of the Bali Process Government and Business Forum articulated in the Acknowledge, Act, Advance (AAA) Recommendations.
Regional Webinar on Combatting Trafficking in Persons in the COVID-19 Recovery Phase
The Regional Webinar brought together Working Group members to consider the trafficking in persons challenges anticipated to arise or be exacerbated as international borders reopen. Members heard from the International Organization for Migration on the migration and mobility implications of COVID-19 and the anticipated impacts of reopening international borders, including trafficking in persons’ trends and responses in Asia-Pacific.
Representatives from Australia, Thailand and the Regional Support Office participated in a panel discussion on responding to trafficking in persons as international borders reopen. Panellists discussed the impact of travel restrictions on trafficking in persons in their country and the region, challenges expected to arise as international borders reopen, how their countries are preparing for these challenges, and how more coordinated and effective regional responses could support this. Key initiatives included enhancing screening for victims, additional victim support, and awareness campaigns.