YANGON: Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have vowed to increase momentum on combating human trafficking.

The decision was agreed at the end of the two-day 7th Senior Officials Meeting for the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT) held in Myanmar’s ancient city of Bagan from Wednesday to Thursday, according to Friday’s official newspaper New Light of Myanmar.

The meeting decided to hold the 8th COMMIT senior officials meeting and the 3rd Ministers Meeting in Thailand in December this year.

The 7th COMMIT senior officials meeting brought together over 135 representatives from the six governments in the Mekong region and observers from other ASEAN countries, the United Nations and international non-governmental organisations as well as donors.

The three-day meeting also reviewed their plans and priorities related to counter-trafficking and discussed future joint actions, focusing in particular on the areas of law enforcement and criminal justice, and recovery and reintegration for victims.

Attending the event were also representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.

Human trafficking is a serious crime involving the cheating or deceiving of people into sexual servitude or labour for the purpose of exploitation, the meeting pointed out.

The International Labour Organisation estimated in 2005 that 9. 49 million people are in forced labour in Asia-Pacific region, with a significant amount of that thought to be in Mekong region.

According to the UN, traffickers are making illicit profits estimated at US$31 billion globally. –BERNAMA, http://leavefreedom.blogspot.com/2010/01/mekong-countries-will-increase-efforts.html