Southeast Asia: Growing demand for labour in fishing & oil palm industries fuels vulnerability to human trafficking

Author: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Published on: 26 July 2017

"Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor: Southeast Asian Scenario - Analysis," 24 July 2017

Southeast Asia is currently the seventh largest global economy...[is] home to around 615 million people, [which makes] it the third-largest labour force in the world behind China and India...The 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes reinforced their previous findings that a person’s socio-economic profile can be a determining factor in their level of vulnerability. Individuals living in poor or displaced and marginalised societies have a higher tendency to be targeted and offered false work prospects in other countries by traffickers or middlemen recruiters...[M]any of the TIP [Trafficking in Persons] victims identified in the Southeast Asian region are found in labour intensive industries, including in the fishing and seafood industries and in oil palm production...In its effort to reduce human trafficking in the region, the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) was introduced and entered into force on 8 March 2017. As the only regional instrument associated with TIP, the ACTIP paves the way and provides guidelines for ASEAN Member States (AMS)...[Furthermore, it is] important for ASEAN to persist in its engagement with civil society organisations and enforcement agencies to counter the trans-boundary nature of TIP. More international organisations and their networks must be utilised to provide education and support throughout the region...

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