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PIA Press Release

ASEAN to introduce region-wide blueprint for trafficking in persons cases

Jakarta (3 December) -- A blueprint for mutual legal assistance and extradition in trafficking in persons (TIP) cases applicable in all ASEAN countries is now in its final stages of development. The draft "ASEAN Handbook on International Legal Cooperation in Trafficking in Persons Cases" was presented at a recent workshop participated by senior prosecutors, lawyers and police officers from ASEAN Member States.

The workshop, held in Bangkok from 23 to 25 November 2009, was organised with the support of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Aus-AID-supported Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons project (ARTIP) and with funding provided by the European Union.

In delivering the keynote address, the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Political-Security Cooperation, Mr Sayakane Sisouvong, said, "Perpetrators work and thrive on gaps and loopholes in operational procedures. Therefore, we must not be complacent." He further urged all sectoral bodies of ASEAN to work together and synergise their respective preventive measures.

The Handbook will present the practical and political factors that can impede cooperation across borders in criminal investigations and prosecutions. These challenges include language barriers; differences in legal, political and cultural traditions; political sensitivity; and human rights concerns. It is tailored for legal practitioners involved in investigating and prosecuting TIP cases or in processing or considering requests for assistance across borders.

The Handbook demonstrates the growing awareness within ASEAN of the importance of stronger and more effective regional and international cooperation in achieving successful domestic prosecutions and elimination of safe havens for traffickers and their accomplices. A global version of the Handbook will also be developed. (ASEANSec) [top]

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