Friday, October 29, 2010

Measures urged against child, youth trafficking in Mekong region

Of about 200,000 people trafficked annually in the Mekong region, 24,700 are children and young people, and Thailand has the highest number of young victims at up to 6,000, the third Mekong Youth Forum on Human Trafficking and Migration was told yesterday.

Youth leaders from all six countries in the mekong region joined the forum to brainstorm and propose recommendations to address human trafficking and unsafe migration to the governments of those countries and relevant organisations.

They proposed integrating human trafficking and migration in school curricula, making youngsters aware of traffickers' tricks. They also urged authorities to investigate factories and make sure factories are safe for young workers.

The youth leaders said setting up regional hotlines would help coordinate authorities' efforts. Literature on human trafficking and migration should be available at border checkpoints, and bribery at the checkpoints should be stopped. Authorities should arrest corrupt border officials who take advantage of migrants.

Staff at reintegration centres should be trained, and they should check the conditions of victims after reintegration, they said.

They also wanted to have a greater role in planning how to tackle human trafficking and unsafe migration and implementing the plan.

The youth representatives from Thailand, Laos, China, Cambodia, Burma, and Vietnam yesterday highlighted their recommendations to government representatives with their "Let's Talk. Let's Act" performance.

"We hope that the government officials who listened to our recommendations today will put them in their plan and implement the plan against trafficking," said Prae, a Thai youth representative.

Saowanee Khomepatr, director of the AntiTrafficking in Women and Children Bureau, said one of the youth leaders would be chosen to present the recommendations to the Coordinated mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT) meeting scheduled for early next year. The Nation, Bangkok

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