Myanmar and Thailand Sign Landmark Standard Operating Procedures on Assisting Trafficking Victims
Two countries signed the first ever Standard Operating Procedures on Management of Cases and the Repatriation and Re/integration of Victims of Trafficking
Yangon, 29 April 2013: UNICEF welcomes newly signed Bilateral Standard Operating Procedures on assisting victims of trafficking between the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Thailand.
The SOP on Management of Cases and the Repatriation and Re/Integration of Victims of Trafficking was signed last month in Nay Pyi Taw.
The signing came as a result of more than a decade long effort between the Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar and the Department of Social Development and Welfare, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand.
The continuous years of collaboration has been supported technically and financially from International Organization for Migration, UNICEF, World Vision, Save the Children and other anti-human trafficking actors in Myanmar.
The two countries have been cooperating on providing assistance to victims of trafficking, which has included, organizing bi-annual cross-border collaboration meetings, , regular data exchange, and quarterly Case Worker Visits by Myanmar Social Workers to Thai trafficking shelters to meet and support victims prior to their return to Myanmar.
As a result more than 500 victims of trafficking have been successfully repatriated to their communities of origin in Myanmar by means of a bilateral Government-to- Government channel that facilitates victims return to home quickly and with increased assistance options.
Building on this, the Bilateral Standard Operating Procedures set out a comprehensive set of procedures and guidelines covering the responsibilities of Myanmar and Thai focal authorities in the area of victim assistance and outlining the options available to victims of trafficking in both countries. The procedures also give unprecedented attention to trafficked persons with special needs..
The Bilateral Standard Operating Procedures recognise that victims in the care of the two Parties have identical needs, and that some victims have endured severe threats, harm and exploitation to the extent that they may have extraordinary and special needs in a spirit of sincere humanitarian purpose, and under both countries’ respective legal systems.
Furthermore the Bilateral Standard Operating Procedures seek to ensure that both the Governments:
• Cooperate to determine victims’ best interests;
Combating trafficking in persons and assisting the victims of crime remains an issue of the highest concern for both the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Thailand.
Myanmar and Thailand, while signing the SOP, restated their firm commitment to continued strong collaboration on all aspects of assistance to victims of human trafficking across their shared border, in line with the principles, guidelines and procedures outlined in the joint document.