Strong partnership needed to tackle modern slavery, trafficking

Published: March 30, 2017

Strong partnership and multi-agency efforts were vital for success in the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking, a conference that opened in Da Nang heard on Wednesday.

Ideas were discussed at the 2-day event for increased collaborative working across borders.

Modern slavery and human trafficking have serious transnational repercussions. They are crimes not restricted by borders, with perpetrators preying on those most vulnerable in societies, experts said at the workshop. Therefore, it required both a domestic and international response.

The conference, jointly organised by the British Embassy and the United Nations Action for Cooperation against Trafficking in Persons (UN-ACT), explored opportunities to enhance cooperation between the UK and Viet Nam in the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking.

It was attended by nearly 100 delegates from relevant UK and Vietnamese ministries and governmental agencies, intergovernmental organisations, foreign diplomatic missions and non-governmental organisations.

David Pennant, UK Home Office senior responsible officer for Viet Nam, said the conference brought together modern slavery and human trafficking experts from the UK to promote the definition of modern slavery, introduce the UK’s world-leading Modern Slavery Act 2015 and share the UK’s expertise and best practices in identifying, investigating and disrupting acts of modern slavery.

Modern slavery is a crime that ranks among the worst forms of human rights abuse, depriving victims of the most basic fundamental rights and freedoms to which everyone is entitled. Victims could be trafficked for spare parts – organs extracted for their purchaser. Furthermore, children were abducted from their families, made to suffer sexual abuse and robbed of any chance of a normal childhood, he said.

Pennant said modern slavery was a global phenomenon that knew no geographical boundaries, crossing not just borders but also spread through the internet. Therefore, a radical domestic and international approach was needed to target every aspect of this despicable trade and strip slave drivers of the profit they made out of human suffering by putting them behind bars, he said.

“We are already working closely with the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of Viet Nam. I highly appreciate the efforts of our counterparts, over the years, to battle the crime, prosecute offenders and support human trafficking victims, helping them reintegrate into the community,” he said.

The UK government welcomed the opportunity to work with the Vietnamese side, international organisations and NGOs to eradicate this most despicable crime in all its forms, Pennan said.
The five countries believed to have the highest number of victims of modern slavery are Albania, Nigeria, Romania, Viet Nam and the UK.

Human trafficking was conducted in various ways, such as illegal labour export, tourism or on the pretext of visiting relatives abroad when the victims were then sold in the third country, he said.

Key reasons for human trafficking include gender imbalance, lack of low-skill labour forces in countries sharing borders and lack of information, knowledge and skills in victims.

To prevent human trafficking, Viet Nam has issued many related regulations and taken part in an international treaty and other co-operation agreements on the issue.

(Source: VNS)