Trafficking Project
Summary of Needs Assessment

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Trafficking in persons has become a well-known and increasingly complex reality which has expanded with the economic and political developments taking place throughout the Mekong sub-region. Though there is lacking a consensus on the definition of a trafficked person and the numbers involved, conservative figures based on universally upheld slavery laws point to several hundred thousand women and children who have been or are at risk of being trafficked from the Mekong sub-region.

The current economic crisis in the region will most likely further exacerbate the trafficking phenomena. Though it is still too early to see actual trends, the current realities point to:

These factors are more likely to increase trafficking of persons within and beyond the Mekong sub-region into more exploitative environments.
Given the cross-border nature of many forms of trafficking, national governments have called for bi-lateral and sub-regional coordinated responses as they are unable to adequately address the issues in isolation. Therefore, following discussions with an UN Inter-Agency Working Group on Trafficking, employed a consultant to undertake two tasks:

The six countries in the Mekong sub-region (including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Yunnan and Quangxi Provinces of China) are often described as source, transiting and/or receiving countries. These terms are used to describe how individuals are trafficked from, to and through countries in the sub-region. The focus of the study is on two critical aspects of the trade:

However, the emphasis on these two aspects of trafficking does not mean to exclude the vulnerability of others seen as related to or indistinguishable from those identified in this report.

There have been a wide range of governmental, non- governmental, international, academic, private and independent initiatives and interventions to address trafficking in women and/or children in the Mekong sub- region. The key issues and a cross section of some of the interventions undertaken are divided in this report into the following categories:

In discussing and studying these issues a number of key areas were identified as most relevant for UN intervention. These are noted in the full report and incorporated into the recommendations.

The recommendations to the UN on Trafficking in the Mekong sub-region are presented in two parts. First, the overall recommendations to the UN, which are proposed for an extended, three to five year programme. Secondly, recommendations for a Preparatory Assistance (PA) Phase are provided which outline the steps necessary for developing a UN programme on trafficking. The PA Phase is to be undertaken during the first year following completion of this report and includes initial activities for distribution and input to this report.

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Dated: 30 Aug 2000