Sunday, May 19, 2013
Remark: The following described situation was related based on our cases and field experience.
ituation of Southeast Asia and AAT Regional response
The situation of women and children in the region can be seen following two main tendencies: First, they migrate or are trafficked from all Southeast Asian countries following one passage through Thailand until Malaysia and Singapore. Second, Vietnamese women and minors migrate / are trafficked out of Vietnam to almost all countries of the region. So, Thailand rests in the middle as a turntable for human trafficking of the region while Vietnam is one source country.
Therefore, AAT is divided into two regional offices enacting different but totally complementary programs within each other.
As Thailand is one of the main transit and destination points for Southeast Asian girls, and Vietnam is one of the main origin countries of women that are trafficked for sexual exploitation in the region, AAT Regional Thailand has oriented its actions to detect and protect Southeast Asian victims found in destination countries (mainly Thailand) and to repatriate them back safely. AAT Regional Vietnam focuses on building a national model for prevention and reintegration of Vietnamese victims.
AAT Regional Thailand has extended its work on prevention and reintegration in countries such as Laos and Cambodia, as AAT Regional Vietnam has joined the regional strategy to find and repatriate Vietnamese back to their country.
AAT Regional Thailand has established regional programs for other Southeast Asian girls especially Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese.
AAT Regional Vietnam has developed and adapted regional programs for Vietnamese women.
Regional Actions from the regional Thai perspective
As our work started in countries seen mainly as transit or destinations points, we developed systems for victim detection, identification and protection. We also take actions for their safe return home.
To protect foreign victims, we established projects in at risk areas such as cross-border areas, strategic communities, entertainment places, and detention centers to gather information on missing persons and potential victims. We then trace victims, identify them, protect them with relevant agencies and transfer them to appropriate centers for repatriation.
However during repatriation we faced difficulties. The process was slow and not convenient for victims. Some origin countries were not prepared for the operation while coordination and arrangements to receive victims was not adapted. Moreover, for difficult cases such as the victims with no family or who have no legal documents, repatriation was almost impossible. So AAT Reg. Thai worked to develop collaboration between destination and origin countries to facilitate repatriation.
But when former victims were repatriated home, we faced another problem: Many of them came back to destination countries or were re-trafficked. This is because there is no alternatives in their communities or existing reintegration programs did not provide the opportunity to stay in their communities. Former victims, when back home, face the same economic, and familial problems that pushed them, in the past, to leave their communities. Consequently, AAT Reg. Thai oriented its programs to develop reintegration systems based on the choices of women and by empowering them to develop alternatives to prevent trafficking and protect others.
Finally, a high number of victims found in Thailand were trafficked to Malaysia. So, AAT Reg. Thai extended its actions to Malaysia to protect and safely repatriate foreign women directly in their country.
Regional Actions from the regional Vietnamese perspective
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A high number of Vietnamese women and minors are trafficked for sexual exploitation either through migration, lure, or false marriage. Furthermore, numbers of Vietnamese have migrated to Southeast Asian countries mostly because of the war, or for trade or other economic reasons. They have established communities that are self managed by Vietnamese in the Vietnamese way. Such communities can be found in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Singapore. These communities help for migration but sometimes facilitate human trafficking by being used as transit or destination areas. This enables Vietnamese women and minors to be trafficked or sed for false marriage almost everywhere in Southeast Asia.
AAT Regional Vietnam focuses primarily on developing programs at the source. They established the first official reintegration system and rehabilitation centers for women victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. AAT Reg. Viet also develops prevention actions.
AAT Regional Thailand’s role for Vietnamese is oriented to rescue and repatriate them back to Vietnam. We organized the first official cases of repatriation of victims from Thailand back to Vietnam. This action contributed to the development of an official system to combat human trafficking in Vietnam. It also participated in developing regional actions for protection and repatriation of Vietnamese victims together with AAT Reg. Viet. In 2008, Thailand and Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration concerning human trafficking.
Now AAT Reg. Viet has developed regional / international actions for the protection and repatriation of Vietnamese women and minors.