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Opening remarks at the 5th Bali Regional Ministerial Conference

April 2, 2013

Check against delivery.


Introduction

Excellencies, distinguished representatives and participants, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s a pleasure for me to be here with you in Bali for the fifth Ministerial Conference of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime.

I’d like to particularly welcome our three new members, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: you have all made valuable contributions to the Bali Process as observers and I look forward to your continued engagement as members.

I would like to thank Dr Natalegawa for his support as both co-chair of the Bali Process and as host of this conference.


Achievements and the challenge ahead

Two years ago, members agreed to set the Bali Process on a path towards achieving a more collaborative approach to addressing people smuggling and trafficking in persons.

We agreed a framework for regional cooperation and set senior officials the task of implementing it.

Today we consider a plan to advance implementation of the Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF).

To assist us, we have a “bricks and mortar” institution – the Regional Support Office in Bangkok – which is taking forward practical initiatives under the framework to assist the region address these complex challenges. This is a significant achievement for the Bali Process and our region.

It provides us with the tools to further build members’ capacity and develop practical and cooperative arrangements to address irregular migration in the region and to combat people smugglers and human traffickers.

Sustaining momentum is more vital than ever.

With the continued irregular movement of people in and through our region, people smugglers and human traffickers continue to thrive.

According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 2012 saw unprecedented migratory movements on all maritime routes in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Asia-Pacific plays host to more than 9.5 million persons of concern to UNHCR including refugees, internally displaced people, and people without states.

Sadly, where there are vulnerable people there are predators; human traffickers and people smugglers who prey on the desperate for their own financial gain.

Addressing these crimes requires concerted regional effort.

Trafficking in persons is a complex, multi-faceted and often hidden crime, it is a violation of human rights.

In Asia it is estimated that more than 700,000 people are trafficked annually.

The International Labour Organization estimates that more than 20 million people globally are victims of forced labour, including those that have been trafficked into such situations:

• 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation.
• 14.2 million are victims of forced labour exploitation in economic activities such as agriculture, construction, domestic work and manufacturing.

Human trafficking is one of the biggest sources of income for organised crime, causing untold damage to millions of lives.

To combat both the activities of human traffickers and people smugglers we need to continue our efforts to strengthen law enforcement cooperation and border management responses.

Building law enforcement capability and capacity in the region has long been core work of the Bali Process.

I am pleased to see before us today a proposal to bolster these efforts by establishing cooperation with the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC).

The JCLEC, established in 2004, has a strong track record of building law enforcement capacity and enhancing cooperation in the region and beyond, tapping into the expertise of JCLEC will assist Bali Process members to strengthen efforts in the region to address both people smuggling and trafficking in persons.

Providing our policy makers and practitioners with the tools for criminalising people smuggling and human trafficking is also vital if we are to successfully prosecute these crimes. I am pleased to see a proposal to develop policy guides to assist member countries take practical steps in this area.

The Bali Process can play a critical role in facilitating cooperation and information sharing between source, transit and destination countries to prevent and prosecute these crimes and to ensure protection and assistance for victims.

I particularly commend the Bali Process on increasing its efforts to address human trafficking through a range of activities during the past two years, but more can be done.

Today we have a proposal before us for a working group which will assist us to focus our efforts in taking a more coordinated approach to human trafficking issues in the region and I commend this to you.

In taking our work forward, we should seek to engage with experts in the field, including civil society organisations and the private sector, to improve our responses to stopping this vile trade in human life.


Conclusion

The Bali Process has made significant progress in the last two years.

We have given ourselves a strong regional framework through which to work together to address these global challenges.

Through the Regional Support Office, we have equipped ourselves with the means to undertake practical activities and develop cooperative arrangements to help us respond in a more coordinated way.

No one country can address these issues alone.

We must continue to build on this strong foundation and look to ways we can work together to reduce irregular migration in our region and to undermine the business model of people smugglers and traffickers.

I commend the work program before us today and encourage a frank discussion towards achieving our goal of setting a strong forward agenda for the Bali Process.

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