AICHR Consults on Referral Systems for Gender-based Violence, Trafficking in Persons

YOGYAKARTA, 10 July 2023 – The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) conducted the second Consultation on Human Rights and Countering Trafficking in Persons focusing on referral systems for gender-based violence (GBV) and trafficking in persons (TIP) in ASEAN on 26-28 June.


The consultation was co-organised with Indonesia’s National Commission on the Elimination of Violence against Women, Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and International Organization for Migration (IOM).


More than 56 participants representing AICHR, ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, Task Forces or similar units responsible to counter TIP in ASEAN Member States (AMS), National Human Rights Institutions, civil society organisations, and universities attended the meeting.

In her opening remarks, AICHR Chair and Representative of Indonesia Wahyuningrum emphasised the importance of national referral mechanisms to ensure that services provided for all presumed or identified victims of trafficking within the jurisdiction of a state are entitled to human rights regardless of their background, nationality, activities they may be involved in, or their willingness to co-operate with law enforcement authorities.


IOM Regional Director for Asia Pacific Sarah Lou Arriola emphasised a survivor-centred approach in referral systems which respects survivors’ voices, choices, and consent throughout the process. This will ultimately ensure better results for both law enforcement investigations and for the long-term well-being of the survivors and their ability to re-establish life and livelihoods in their communities.


At the consultation, participants shared lessons learnt, challenges and innovations on their experiences in providing referral systems as a response to address GBV and TIP; ways to enhance referral mechanisms to rescue, screen, and protect victims of trafficking and forced labour in the fishing sectors and victims of trafficking out of misuse of technology; and the good practices related to rescue operation and reintegration leveraged on regional initiatives.

Participants also came up with recommendations on the effective referral mechanisms for GBV and TIP which include adopting community-based strategies along with partnerships with the government and civil society actors on the issue of GBV and TIP, intensifying trainings for victim assistance specialists, developing one-stop-shop TIP centres for women and children, and strengthening regional cooperation and collaborative platforms on TIP and forced labour on fishing vessels.


The consultation is part of the implementation of the AICHR’s Five-Year Work Plan 2021-2025 and the Bohol Work Plan to Counter TIP 2022-2027.

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