GLO.ACT Partners Meet with the European Union

Vientiane, Lao PDR - 13 February 2019 - On 6 February, partner agencies of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT), held their first quarterly meeting of 2019 with the European Union (EU). Meeting with the EU Delegation to Lao PDR, GLO.ACT implementing agencies including, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), shared updates on recently completed and upcoming project activities.

UNICEF National Project Officer, Ms. Souphavone Dalavong began with updates on UNICEF's recent activities, including training for local child protection networks, supporting the Lao Women's Union (LWU) with returned victims of trafficking from Thailand and China, including 14 victims (12 female, 2 male) in the final quarter of 2018, and holding two workshops for the continued development of the National Protection Guidelines for Victims of Trafficking. Ms. Dalavong highlighted the forthcoming TIP prevention campaign targeting local communities, launching in Bolikhamxay Province from 6-14 February, and again in Xiengkuang Province in early March.

Ms. Sourivonexay Phrommala, IOM National Project Officer, updated the partners on the development of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and victim identification training for the LWU Shelter, which has tentatively been scheduled for the end of February. Ms. Phrommala indicated progress is ongoing with the development of the NRM by the LWU, and that a draft version will be ready for review mid-March.

Providing progress updates from UNODC, GLO.ACT National Project Officer Ms. Siliphaithoun Xayamoungkhoun reiterated UNODC's focus remains on strengthening criminal justice responses for Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM). She highlighted two GLO.ACT activities launched in November, a data consultation meeting with government counterparts and a legal information exchange between Lao and Thai government and development partners, and discussed upcoming plans for the continued implementation of these outcomes. In particular, next steps include a series of technical trainings on database maintenance for the Ministry of Public Security's Anti-Trafficking Department, and a legal exchange for two Lao lawyers to intern with a Thai NGO to learn more about the legal assistance available for Lao victims of trafficking in Thailand. Additional planned activities include working with existing media capacities to implement awareness raising campaigns and improving the coordination of responses on the country's existing TIP hotlines.

The meeting concluded with several announcements including the recent opening of the LWU shelter in Luang Namtha Province - the first shelter for victims of trafficking North of Vientiane - the upcoming quarterly Human Trafficking Working Group hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNODC, on 28 February, and the EU-Laos Human Rights Dialogue on 7 March.

The next interagency partners meeting will be held in early May.

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter-smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

More information about GLO.ACT is available here.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Siliphaithoun Xayamoungkhoun

GLO.ACT National Project Officer

Email: siliphaithoun.xayamoungkhoun@un.org

Website: www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/glo-act/

Email: glo.act@un.org

Twitter: @glo_act