MSA Signing Ceremony
Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (AAPTIP)
18 September 2014
• Your Excellency Brigadier General Somkeo Silavong, Acting Minister of Public Security, distinguished guests, partners and colleagues in the fight against Trafficking In Persons
• On behalf of the Australian Government, I am extremely pleased to be here today to finalise the this arrangement between the Governments of Australia and the Lao PDR to commence the Australia Asia Program to Combat Trafficking In Persons, known as AAPTIP.
• The Government of Australia views trafficking in persons as a grievous breach of human rights, and as a crime that stifles economic development.
• Australia is now the largest national anti-trafficking donor in the region, and we are proud of our leadership role on the issue.
• Australia undertakes a wide range of cooperation with regional partners across the Indo Pacific region to fight trafficking:
• Such as the Australian Federal Police’s transnational crime operations;
• Australia’s support for the Bali Process; and
• Australia’s extensive suite of regional anti-trafficking programs, like AAPTIP.
• We’re committed to supporting practical measures to combat trafficking in the region, and proud to renew our collaboration with the Government of the Lao PDR through the AAPTIP program.
• AAPTIP is a five year program that aims to reduce the incentives and opportunities for human trafficking in the Lao PDR and across ASEAN more broadly.
• The program is a AUD 50 million investment that builds on 10 years of Australia’s regional experience in supporting anti-trafficking efforts. This includes recent programs to develop innovative responses to investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating trafficking crimes.
• AAPTIP is another example of Australia’s long-standing and extensive support for a prosperous, peaceful and increasingly integrated South-East Asia in this, the year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Australia-ASEAN relations.
• AAPTIP is a truly regional program, operating in 7 countries and working with all the members of ASEAN to reduce the incentives and opportunities for human trafficking in the region.
• The signing of today’s arrangement allows Australia and the Lao PDR is a significant step forward in the fight against trafficking crimes. It will pave the way for our two countries to together develop new, innovative approaches to ensure we make a meaningful impact on the scourge of human trafficking.
• I look forward to seeing the results of this new phase of Lao-Australian collaboration. Thank you.