Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 18, 2012


The Governments of the Union of Myanmar and the United States; affirming their commitment to the global effort to combat human trafficking, a modern form of slavery that afflicts both of our nations; recognizing the requirements and provisions of the UN Protocol to Suppress, Punish, and Prevent Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the 2000 UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime; acknowledging the progress made by the Government of Myanmar in addressing sex trafficking and forced labor over the last two years, particularly:

  • The repealing of the 1907 Towns and Villages Acts, which provided legal condoning of the government officials’ use forced labor;
  • The enactment of the 2012 Wards and Village Tracts Administration Act, which explicitly criminalizes all forms of forced labor;
  • The forging with the International Labor Organization (ILO) of a time-bound, comprehensive action plan to tackle forced labor in Myanmar;
  • The opening of two additional border liaison offices on the Thai border to prevent cross-border trafficking;
  • The signing of a child soldiers action plan with the United Nations that calls for the release of child soldiers from the Burmese armed forces and access to military sites and prisons to inspect for the presence of child soldiers;
  • The opening, in collaboration with the Thai government, of five Myanmar Ministry of Labor-staff migrant help centers inside Thailand; and the more robust anti-trafficking efforts undertaken by the Ministry of Home Affairs-chaired Central Body on Trafficking in Persons (CBTIP), such as the abolishment of the mandatory detention time in government shelters for trafficking victims;

And recognizing that the Union of Myanmar’s anti-trafficking efforts will be enhanced through the sharing of technical knowledge and best practices from the United States and its partners in this global effort against trafficking in persons;

Declare as follows:

Objectives

1. The governments affirm that this joint plan provides a framework for joint action against all forms of trafficking in persons, including both sex and labor trafficking, whether committed across international borders or wholly within a country’s borders – through efforts to boost the capacity of Myanmar government officials and civil society partners in jointly identifying cases of forced labor, the illegal recruitment of child soldiers, and sex trafficking, including the sharing of best practices, and technical assistance and training provided by the United States government and partner entities.

2. The governments emphasize that this joint plan heralds a new era of Myanmar-United States cooperation in addressing this serious crime and human rights issue.

Areas of Cooperation

The Governments of the Union of Myanmar and the United States commit to areas of cooperation and measurable progress in increasing the capacity of Myanmar efforts to: identify trafficking offenses; investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders; provide victims with access to services in line with existing international guidelines; and to prevent Myanmar citizens from being subjected to sex trafficking or forced labor either within the country’s border or abroad.

Specifically, the governments commit to:

A. Implement the ILO Action Plan on Forced Labor and the provisions of the new Wards and Village Tracts Administration Act by registering with Myanmar government authorities an increased number of alleged cases of forced labor, both through the ILO complaint mechanism and the government’s own enforcement authorities;

B. Expand CBTIP’s official responsibilities over human trafficking issues. Demonstrate progress in this regard by increasing the number of criminal investigations and prosecutions of those who are alleged to have committed forms of human trafficking to include forced labor and the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers;

C. Encourage greater civil society participation in anti-trafficking efforts throughout the country, including through more robust and structured partnerships – both at the policy and operational levels – between Myanmar authorities (law enforcement and social services) and a wide range of civil society organizations and faith institutions; and

D. Provide technical assistance, training, and the regular sharing of best practices in the areas of law enforcement investigations, victim/witness interviewing, victim assistance, and trafficking prevention, through U.S. government-funded programs to be closely coordinated with Myanmar government partners to ensure the most effective collaboration possible.

Bilateral Anti-Trafficking Dialogue and Participation

With the announcement of this joint plan, the Governments of the Union of Myanmar and the United States are opening a regular anti-TIP dialogue that will be structured to have at least annual meetings in either Myanmar or the United States, supplemented by regular ad hoc meetings at both senior and working levels throughout the year.



PRN: 2012/1814