Com­mit­ted to fight­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

The se­ri­ous­ness of transna­tional hu­man traf­fick­ing, es­pe­cially the traf­fick­ing of women and chil­dren, makes close in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary to ad­dress this heinous crime. As a sig­na­tory to in­ter­na­tional treaties on hu­man traf­fick­ing, China has al­ways at­tached im­por­tance to in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion in the fight against such transna­tional crimes. China signed the sup­ple­men­tary pro­to­col of the UN Con­ven­tion against Or­ga­nized Transna­tional Crime aimed at prevent­ing and pro­hibit­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing, and pun­ish­ing the per­pe­tra­tors on Dec 26, 2009, and rat­i­fied it in Fe­bru­ary 2010.

As a UN con­ven­tion, the pro­to­col pro­vides the le­gal ba­sis for global co­op­er­a­tion in com­bat­ing and prevent­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing. Till May 5 last year, China had signed 121 crim­i­nal, civil ju­di­cial as­sis­tance and ex­tra­di­tion treaties with 67 coun­tries. By Septem­ber 2014, the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity had es­tab­lished bi­lat­eral po­lice co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms with 83 coun­tries and re­gions to in­ves­ti­gate and col­lect ev­i­dence in hu­man traf­fick­ing cases, as well as ex­tra­dite crim­i­nal sus­pects.

China has also for­mu­lated ac­tion plans for in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion to com­bat hu­man traf­fick­ing. Its 2013-20 ac­tion plan, re­leased in March 2013, sets con­crete tar­gets and mea­sures for the global fight against transna­tional hu­man traf­fick­ing and as­signs dif­fer­ent re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to dif­fer­ent de­part­ments.

On the mul­ti­lat­eral level, the Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Min­istry and the All-China Women’s Fed­er­a­tion started co­op­er­at­ing with in­ter­na­tional agen­cies, such as UN Chil­dren’s Fund (UNICEF) and the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­ga­ni­za­tion, to com­bat hu­man traf­fick­ing. Since 1999, the min­istry and fed­er­a­tion have also been closely co­op­er­at­ing with UNICEF to es­pe­cially com­bat traf­fick­ing of and vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren.

In June 2000, China joined the UN In­ter-Agency Project on Hu­man Traf­fick­ing in the Mekong River Sub-re­gion, which also in­cludes Cam­bo­dia, Laos, Myan­mar, Thai­land and Viet­nam. With fund­ing from Save The Chil­dren UK, the Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee on Chil­dren and Women un­der the State Coun­cil, the ILO and other agen­cies or­ga­nized a sym­po­sium in Kun­ming, Yun­nan prov­ince, in July 2004, to dis­cuss how to in­ten­sify the crack­down on and pre­vent the traf­fick­ing of women and chil­dren in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous re­gion, and Yun­nan, Sichuan, Guizhou and An­hui prov­inces. In Oc­to­ber 2004, a Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion com­pris­ing of­fi­cials from mul­ti­ple de­part­ments at­tended a min­is­te­rial-level meet­ing in Myan­mar to com­bat hu­man traf­fick­ing in the Mekong River Sub-re­gion, dur­ing which China signed mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing with the other five coun­tries on fight­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing in the re­gion.

Be­sides, China has also joined the Co­or­di­nated Mekong Min­is­te­rial Ini­tia­tive against Traf­fick­ing which started in 2004, and ap­proved a sub-re­gional ac­tion plan (2005-07) cov­er­ing pol­icy pro­pos­als for 11 projects. In De­cem­ber 2007, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment spon­sored the sec­ond min­is­te­rial-level meet­ing on co­op­er­a­tion to com­bat hu­man traf­fick­ing in the Mekong River Sub-re­gion and signed a joint dec­la­ra­tion with the other five coun­tries.

Aside from mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion, China has also ef­fec­tively co­op­er­ated with neigh­bor­ing coun­tries on the bi­lat­eral level. For ex­am­ple, it has signed po­lice co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments with Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia, Thai­land, the Philip­pines, Myan­mar and In­done­sia to com­bat traf­fick­ing of women and chil­dren.

Since April 2004, the Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Min­istry has held high-level con­sul­ta­tions with po­lice au­thor­i­ties from Viet­nam, Myan­mar and other neigh­bor­ing coun­tries on how to in­ten­sify the crack­down on transna­tional hu­man traf­fick­ing and strengthen bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion. And reg­u­lar meet­ing mech­a­nisms have been es­tab­lished and li­ai­son of­fices set up in the bor­der re­gions with other coun­tries to fa­cil­i­tate co­op­er­a­tion in this area.

More­over, China has signed an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal ac­cord on anti-hu­man traf­fick­ing with Myan­mar, Viet­nam, Laos, Cam­bo­dia, and main­tained po­lice co­op­er­a­tion with An­gola, Congo, In­done­sia, Spain, Aus­tria and other coun­tries, which have helped smash sev­eral transna­tional gangs in­volved in traf­fick­ing women and run­ning pros­ti­tu­tion rack­ets.

China’s co­op­er­a­tion with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity in the fight against hu­man traf­fick­ing is re­flected not only in its ef­forts to un­der­take global treaty obli­ga­tions, but also in a se­ries of bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion pro­grams and con­crete ac­tions it has car­ried out.

The au­thor is a pro­fes­sor at the School of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, Pek­ing Univer­sity, and a coun­cil mem­ber of China So­ci­ety for Hu­man Rights Stud­ies. The ar­ti­cle was first pub­lished in the Over­seas Edi­tion of Peo­ple’s Daily.

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