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Asean convention against trafficking in persons enters into force in March

The Asean Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Actip) will enter into force next month, or 30 days after the Philippines deposited its instrument of ratification on the convention.

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday said the Philippines becomes the sixth Asean member-state to ratify the convention after Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.

The Philippines submitted the instrument of ratification on the Convention during a call by Permanent Representative of the Philippines on Asean Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso on Asean Secretary-General Le Luong Minh on February 7.

In accordance with the terms of the Actip, the Convention will enter into force on the 30th day upon the submission of the instrument of ratification of the sixth Asean member-state.

Actip, which was signed by the Asean leaders at the 27th Asean Summit in November 2015, showcases the bloc’s commitment in addressing human trafficking as a regional problem and its resolve to find the most effective regional solution to combat it.

Actip, which is the first regionally binding instrument on trafficking in persons, aims to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and ensures just and effective punishment of traffickers; protects and assists victims of trafficking in persons with full respect for their human rights; and promotes cooperation in the fight against trafficking in persons among the Asean member-states.

The Asean groups together Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Minh said the implementation of Actip would serve as the legal basis for Asean member-states when facing security challenges related to human trafficking.

During her call, Buensuceso emphasized that President Duterte places high importance to the fight against trafficking in persons, which he reiterated during the launch of the Philippine Chairmanship in Davao City on January 15.

Buensuceso stressed that the ratification of the Actip is included in the “dream list” of deliverables during the Philippine chairmanship of Asean this year. Once the Actip enters into force, it will be implemented together with the Asean Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

As trafficking in persons requires multisectoral collaboration, the relevant Asean Sectoral Bodies and Organs are currently discussing measures to coordinate cross-cutting efforts in implementing the Actip and APA on both national and regional levels.

The Philippines, as the lead shepherd for Trafficking in Persons within the Asean Senior Officials/Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime process, played a leading role in the development, signing and implementation of the Actip.


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