By The Nation, January 11, 2017
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Thursday launched a US$21.5-million-worth programme to counter human trafficking in Asia by awarding a contract a US development organisation.
USAID said in a press statement that its Regional Development Mission for Asia awarded the five-year USAID Asia Counter Trafficking in Persons (USAID Asia CTIP) programme to Winrock International, a U.S.-based development organization.
“This new programme is part of a long-term and comprehensive effort by the U.S. Government towards ending human trafficking in the region by 2030,” said USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia Director Beth S. Paige.
According to the press statement, USAID and Winrock will work together with Asian governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholders in the region to reduce human trafficking in Asia. The statement said activities will improve cooperation between government social services, law enforcement, healthcare providers and anti-trafficking advocacy organizations to help improve the lives of trafficking survivors throughout Asia.
The announcement was made on the occasion of the US National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
The USAID expressed confidence that the new programme will support Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states as they implement the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children and take steps to stem the demand and supply for trafficked persons.
It said the programme will initially focus on human trafficking in the Lower Mekong countries of Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam as well as Bangladesh. Over time, the project will expand to include other ASEAN member states, South Asia, and destination countries in East Asia and the Gulf States.
USAID will partner with the private sector to develop action plans to reduce trafficking in targeted industries. This includes working with governments and the private sector to improve systems for safer and legal labor migration, the statement added.
With a broad range of partners, USAID has actively promoted counter trafficking in persons programmes in Asia for a decade. Current USAID activities to combat human trafficking in Asia include three comprehensive programmes in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal as well as “IOM X,” USAID’s regional partnership with IOM to increase awareness of trafficking in persons in Southeast Asia.