KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 (KUNA0 — The Central Committee on Suppressing of Trafficking in Persons (CCTP) of the Union of Myanmar hosted the 6th Expert Group Meeting on ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP) and the Regional Plan of Action (RPA) from 3-5 June in Yangon. The Meeting is attended by all ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat.

According to the ASEAN statement, Police Brigadier General Thein Oo, Deputy Chief of Police of the Ministry of Home Affairs of Myanmar officiated the meeting.

In his remark, he underscored that trafficking in persons is the second most prevailing transnational crime in the world after illicit drug trafficking. He said that “human trafficking is a vicious chain that binds victims to criminals. Such chain would be broken only with the force of human solidarity.” He added that “to achieve justice, a strong foundation in the rule of law and strengthened judicial systems are instrumental. It is also important that victims of trafficking are not treated like irregular migrants and deported or charged with criminal offences even before they are identified as victims.”

Since 2007, ASEAN has been working on the development of an ASEAN convention with a view to achieve a regionally agreeable framework on collaboration among ASEAN Member States on investigation and prosecution of trafficking in persons cases as well as on providing assistance to the victims for their safe return, rehabilitation and reintegration into their respective societies, among others.

Myanmar hosts the 6th Meeting of the Expert Working Group during its Chairmanship as a commitment to the sharing of the regional responsibility. Previous Expert Working Group Meetings were hosted by the Philippines as the Voluntary Lead Shepherd for Trafficking in Persons.

The drafting of the ACTIP and the Regional Plan of Action (RPA) is expected to conclude by the end of 2014. Once adopted, the ACTIP will be the landmark achievement for ASEAN and its 10 Member States as it reflects regional unity and solidarity in combating trafficking of human beings. (end) mam.gta