Australia has announced it will give support to Indonesia's fight against human trafficking, aid which will add to programs already being helped by the UN and the US.
Australia launched Monday August 27, 2007 a partnership with the Indonesian government to focus on advisory and training activities to fight the human trade.
"The project provides training for front-line law enforcement officers like police, judges and prosecutors to make them aware how to handle people trafficking," Phillippe Allen, AusAid representative in Bangkok, told reporters.
Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Bill Farmer said that the five-year A$21 million (more than Rp 160 billion) regional initiative would work through Indonesia's criminal justice system to enhance efforts to prevent human trafficking in the region. Indonesian National Police chief of detectives Com. Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri said that as trafficking was a multinational problem it would need multilateral cooperation to prevent it.
"If we don't cooperate with other countries, it will be difficult to solve human trafficking cases in our country," he said. Deputy senior representative of AusAid Andrew Collins agreed that the project opened an opportunity to build stronger cooperation among countries in ASEAN to deal with the problem.
He said that more than 800,000 people were victims of trafficking every year in the region. The Australian initiative is part of the Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons (ARTIP) launched in August 2006 initially as a partnership with Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
The project seeks to strengthen cooperation between countries on trafficking cases across national borders, and promotes the development of common standards between countries by working closely with regional bodies dealing with trafficking.
"Without committed police, prosecutors and judiciary it will never be possible to combat the traffickers or to seek justice for the victims of this terrible crime," Farmer said. Earlier, Indonesia, through its Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC), working together with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), launched a training program worth US$8 million for the enhancing skills and knowledge of Indonesian legal officials.
The U.S. government has also announced that it will continue to support Indonesia by funding programs to help the country combat trafficking, rescue victims and improve law enforcement efforts. It said that it has provided more than $20 million to assist Indonesia in the fight against human trafficking.
Although the U.S. praised Indonesia in its latest global report on human trafficking for passing strong anti-trafficking laws, it underlined the great magnitude of the trafficking problem in the country and some difficult issues that still need to be overcome, including trafficking-related complicity by public officials and the need to provide greater protection to migrant workers at risk of trafficking.
Adapted from: Abdul Khalik. "Australia gives aid to slave trade fight." The Jakarta Post. 28 August 2007.
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