Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking In Persons
Signing of Memorandum of Subsidiary Arrangement (MSA) - Indonesia
Mr Simon Merrifield
Australian Ambassador to ASEAN
Indonesian National Police Headquarters, South Jakarta, 13 November 2015
Your Excellency, Police Commissioner General Anang Iskandar, Irjen Ketut Untung Yoga Ana; Brigjen Carlo Brix Tewu; Kombes Mohammad Safei; distinguished guests, and colleagues in the fight against trafficking in persons.
On behalf of the Australian Government, I am extremely pleased to be here today to finalise this arrangement between the Governments of Australia and Indonesia to commence the Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking In Persons – known as AAPTIP.
The Australian Government views trafficking in persons as a grievous breach of human rights and as a crime that stifles development. It’s for this reason that Australia undertakes a wide range of collaborations with partners to fight trafficking including through the work of our Australian Federal Police and immigration officials, through to our support for the Bali Process on Smuggling, Trafficking and Related Transnational Crime, as well as our extensive suite of development cooperation programs.
Australia is now the largest national anti-TIP donor in the region, and we are proud of the recognition of our leadership role in the sector. I am pleased to acknowledge the central role our partnership with Indonesia plays in many of these initiatives, including through JCLEC’s work on transnational crime and our co-chairing of the Bali Process.
Today’s signing marks the beginning of another important element of this partnership, as it will allow us to commence a wide range of activities in support of the Government of Indonesia’s anti-trafficking priorities, including those expressed in the National Plan of Action.
AAPTIP is a five year program that aims to reduce the incentives and opportunities for human trafficking in Indonesia and ASEAN more broadly. It is focused on the criminal justice sector, particularly investigation and prosecution.
AAPTIP builds on more than ten years of Australia’s experience in supporting innovative responses to trafficking in the region.
To address complex issues like trafficking in persons, a sustained effort is needed – hence Australia’s long-standing commitment to these initiatives. We recognize that sustained, continued partnerships make the difference.
Indonesia and Australia have partnered on this issue for many years, but we first elevated their cooperation on combating trafficking in persons in 2007, when the predecessor program to AAPTIP commenced here. 2007 also saw the passage of Indonesia’s first comprehensive TIP law, a landmark in our shared fight against human trafficking.
Since that time, Australia has worked extensively with the Indonesian National Police and other law enforcement, prosecutors and judges throughout Indonesia, to build capacity for national and regional responses to trafficking.
AAPTIP is an extension of this partnership, and we have already begun to respond to Indonesia’s identified anti-trafficking priorities, including by facilitating collaboration between Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia on investigations into the trafficking of fishers in Benjina and Ambon.
This work supporting Indonesia’s response to trafficking in the fishing industry highlights one of the program’s strengths: AAPTIP is a truly regional program, operating in seven countries and working with all the members of ASEAN.
Trafficking is commonly a transnational challenge, and addressing it effectively requires a collaborative approach to cross-border cooperation. Australia commends ASEAN Member States’ continued efforts in developing an ASEAN Convention on Trafficking In Persons. Australia trusts that the Convention will complement international existing frameworks, such as the Palermo Protocol, and enhance the implementation of existing instruments.
Here in Indonesia, the signing of today’s arrangement allows Australia and Indonesia to work toward new, innovative collaborations. I look forward to monitoring the progress of these collaborations over the coming years, and trust that our shared efforts will reduce the opportunities and incentives for traffickers everywhere to engage in their degrading trade.