In 2000, global recognition of the importance of trafficking in persons led the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to adopt a protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons. Since this time, trafficking in persons has gained increasing international recognition, which has led to strong preventative responses in numerous countries, including Australia.
This report refers to factors that both contribute to the risk of people trafficking and hamper efforts to identify and prevent it. These include the limited capacity and effectiveness of fragile or developing states to combat any form of exploitation and transnational crime and the push and pull sociopolitical and economic factors that underpin the movement of people from one place to another.
Reliable official statistics are rare, but based on a literature review and over 80 face-to-face interviews with 140 government and non-government stakeholders in the region and two regional forums, it is concluded in this report that trafficking in persons is being increasingly recognised as a distinct crime in the Asia-Pacific region, with for example, an increase of 30 percent in one year in Indonesia of trafficking cases and legislation now in place in just over half of the Pacific Island nations. The impetus for reform and the collection of information has principally occurred at the regional level, with various policy frameworks and technical assistance programs produced or managed by regional bodies. In the short-term, there is unlikely to be much change to the economic drivers of people movement and migration but improved understanding and monitoring of key areas of trafficking vulnerability - including places, sectors and 'facilitating' small businesses - will help inform Australia's effort to prevent and reduce trafficking in persons within the country and the wider region.