VietNamNet Bridge – The eighth Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM-8) on fighting human trafficking in the Mekong sub-regional countries opened in Hanoi on February 14, drawing the participation of 150 delegates from China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta and representatives from diplomatic agencies and international also attended the meeting along with international observers.
The Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT) was adopted by the six countries in 2003 with a focus on building a regional agreement to combat human trafficking.
The two-day meeting focused on reviewing the Mekong sub-region action plan on preventing human trafficking in 2008- 2010 and discussing the plan for 2012- 2013.
Delegates discussed issues related to dialogues with other forums and the stability of COMMIT after 2013. They also proposed that the six Mekong sub-region governments sign a join statement to reaffirm their cooperation in fighting human trafficking.
In his speech, Deputy Minister of Public Security Lieutenant-General Pham Quy Ngo said that after seven years of implementation, COMMIT has helped all member countries build, issue and implement their national programmes and enforce their laws to fight human trafficking.
The countries signed a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding on bilateral cooperation related to the issue and launched preventive measures and joint communication campaigns that will provide practical benefits for each country as well as the entire region, Mr Ngo said.
Ngo, who is also Deputy Head of the National Steering Committee on Fighting Human Trafficking, said Vietnam has carried out a number of actions, particularly the National Assembly’s adoption of the law to fight human trafficking and the Government’s national programmes on combating human trafficking in 2004-2010 and 2011-2015.
Vietnam has also closely worked with Cambodia, China, Laos, and Thailand as well as non-COMMIT countries in a variety of related activities in order to curb the increase of the crime, he added.
The third Inter-Ministerial Meeting (IMM-3) of the Mekong sub-regional countries on fighting human trafficking is due to take place in Hanoi on February 16 following SOM8.