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A Rights-Based Approach to Anti-Trafficking: Lessons from Asia and Europe

Policy briefings for the 15th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights "Human Rights and Trafficking in Persons"

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
Governance & Economy Department Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights Series (ASEMHRS) Governance & Human Rights


Bangkok, Thailand

Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Trafficking in persons is considered to be the fastest growing, global illegal enterprise in the 21st century, second to drug trafficking. The Palermo Protocol promotes international cooperation on counter-trafficking, criminalising trafficking and punishing the traffickers, and to protect and assist the victims of trafficking ‘with full respect for their human rights’. Since the majority of trafficking victims are trafficked intra- regionally, regional efforts to combat human trafficking have only intensified. In March 2011, the European Union (EU) adopted a new Directive on preventing and combating trafficking (Directive 2011/36/EU) which was the first act at the EU level to address human trafficking in a comprehensive manner. More recently, in November 2015, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP); Singapore ratified ACTIP in January 2016.
Based on the outcomes of the 15th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights "Human Rights and Trafficking, ASEF has organisied policy briefings in Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia to

  • Exchange best practices and lessons learnt from across Asia and Europe for taking a rights-based approach to counter human trafficking
  • Identify emerging trends and challenges for inter-regional and intra-regional anti-trafficking efforts
  • Provide the current state-of-play on the advances made across ASEAN in the implementation of ACTIP & identify opportunities for a multi-stakeholder approach to counter-trafficking
  • Launch the publication of the 15th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights and share findings with ASEM policy makers

The schedule for the policy briefings was as follows:

Singapore (21 October 2016, 15:00 - 17:00)

Bangkok, Thailand (25 October 2016, 10:00 - 12:45 pm)

Phnom Penh, Cambodia (26 October 2016, 10:00 - 12:00 pm)

Ambassador Pers-Anders SUNESSON who is Sweden’s first Ambassador at Large for Combatting Trafficking in Persons was present at the policy briefings. Dr. Anne GALLAGHER (Independent Expert) and Ms. Klara SKRIVANKOVA (Anti-Slavery International) who were the main rapporteurs of the 15th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights, have presented the Seminar findings and the recommendations from the seminar report and background paper.

You can download the publication "Human Rights and Trafficking in Persons" here.

If you wish to learn more about the 15th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights, click here.



  • Raoul Wallenberg Institute
Funded by the European Union
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