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First Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT) Senior Officials Meeting

August 2004

The Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT) meeting was held in Bangkok, 28-30 July 2004. It has been hailed a success.1 The Second Senior Officials Meeting will be held in Yangon, Burma in October 2004.

Senior officials from China and five Southeast Asia nations held their first-ever talks to work out a new framework for fighting human trafficking in the region. United Nations officials cited substantial progress in the closed-door discussion aimed at defining the basics of an agreement expected to be signed between Cambodia, China, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam when ministers meet in Yangon in October.

A number of tentative agreements have been reached. It was the first time the countries came together to combat 'modern-day slavery.' Should the memorandum of understanding be signed in Yangon, it will be the first of its kind in the world.

However, it is still unclear whether any cross-border framework among the six countries will be legally binding. Socio-economic development hampers efforts to combat trafficking.

COMMIT process idea was raised by Royal Thai Government with its neighbours at the first Thai Government Workshop on Human Trafficking.

1 Source: July 30, 2004. Agence France Presse. "Six Asian Nations Progress Towards Human Trafficking Pact."

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