Seventh Annual Meeting of the Working Group on the Disruption of People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Networks

Location: BangkokDate: 10 October 2022
Disruption Tabletop exercise Oct 22 Image

The Governments of Vietnam and New Zealand co-chaired the seventh Annual Meeting under
the Bali Process Working Group on the Disruption of People Smuggling and Trafficking in
Persons Networks on 12 October 2022. The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format in Bangkok, Thailand with participants joining in virtually.

Participating countries included Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, New
Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States of
America and Vietnam. Representatives from the Bali Process Regional Support Office, the International Organization for Migration, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime also attended.

Table-top exercise on people smuggling and trafficking in persons investigations

Over 10-11 October 2022, 45 participants from 12 Bali Process Member States, working across immigration, police and government, came together to workshop issues in detection, investigation and prosecution at the Bali Process Taskforce on Planning and Preparedness and Working Group on Disruptions, co-chaired by New Zealand and Viet Nam.

The Regional Support Office of the Bali Process facilitated the tabletop exercise together with Immigration New Zealand, using a hypothetical case study scenario modelling the movement of migrants, with expert input from IOM, UNODC and UNHCR. Participants considered thematic issues including the growing use of technology by organised criminal groups, vulnerabilities of women and children, and the need to account for health-related contingencies.

Forward work plan

The co-chairs note that participating countries and international organisations are keen to participate in a Joint 12-month Period of Action, allowing tangible outcomes from larger and
longer-term investigations to be progressed and reported on. Participants provided a suggestion for this activity - investigating the links between trafficking in persons and online scams. The topic will be finalised in 2023, in consultation with members. The co-chairs look forward to facilitating the Joint Period of Action in the coming months.

Other suggestions for future priorities and activities included:

a) Training on trauma-informed approaches to addressing people smuggling and
trafficking in persons, including returns and reintegration considerations.
b) Workshops on improving collection and sharing of standardised or anonymised data.
c) Training on ethical use of data, biometrics and personal information.