Participants agreed to improve regional cooperation. .
50 participants of the 4th Session of the Sub-regional Advisory Committee of the ILO - Mekong Project to Combat Trafficking in Children and Women (SURAC) have unanimously agreed to improve regional cooperation to prevent and suppress exploitative brokerage practices in the effort to contribute to the COMMIT process in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and to coordinate their efforts among Governments, Workers’ and Employers’ Organizations to maximize their impact.
The meeting from 8-9 May 2006 in Phnom Penh, hosted by the Royal Cambodia Government’s The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, followed a theme of “Collaborative Action against Human Trafficking: Promoting Safe Migration and Addressing Exploitative Recruitment Practices” and was opened with a strong commitment by Cambodia’s Secretary of State for the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, H.E. Vong Saut. After two – day meetings, the participants reached to mutual recommendations on the following issues:
The Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT) process will pursue activities aimed at investigating and addressing exploitative migrant recruitment practices within the sub-region. Preliminary research conducted through the ILO-TICW project indicates that most recruitment of migrant children and young women into unskilled areas of work within the sub-region takes place through informal recruitment channels. Formal recruitment services are not yet fully developed to recruit unskilled workers, particularly women and young people who are more vulnerable to trafficking, forced labour and other forms of labour exploitation. Since the Memorandums of Employment Cooperation between and among Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR are now providing opportunities for legal movement for employment, it has become evident that formal recruitment channels need to be safe, cost effective, fast, easily accessible and clearly understood by migrants. With this in mind, the following ten recommendations were developed at the fourth session of SURAC to guide the Mekong Project to Combat Trafficking in Children and Women:
Law and Policy
1. Share individual country experiences of recruitment practices, to assist countries who are in the process of drafting recruitment related laws
2. Commission a comparative study to document the ways in which countries recruit migrant workers and monitor conditions for their workers in destination countries
3. Develop consistency in the migrant recruitment regulations between and among the five Mekong countries
4. Government, employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations to provide information to prospective migrant workers and employers on the Memorandums of Understanding on Employment Cooperation so that they understand how the provisions apply to them
Involvement of workers, employers and other concerned organizations
5. Workers and employers organizations have a role to play in gathering information through their informal networks on recruitment practices and reporting to the government and the media
6. Develop training programs for employers’, workers’ and other organizations to identify, monitor and report on recruitment practices
7. Employers’ and workers’ organizations to develop specific plans of action for implementing the Memorandums of Understanding on Employment Cooperation with Thailand and other bilateral agreements where appropriate
8.Information services to migrants should be holistic, providing not only information on safe migration practices but also including components on better and sustainable employment opportunities at home.
9. The meeting highlighted the value of existing country specific awareness raising activities, particularly those involving government, workers’, employers’ and other concerned organizations. There were several proposals for immediate concrete measures on awareness raising targeting in-migrants, out-migrants and their agents
10. In addition, participants recognized the value of developing a sub-regional campaign with clear and consistent messages. The campaign requires increased cooperation among the different groups, governments, workers and employers.
By Nguyen Van Dao
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