“We must work together to ensure that migration is a choice and not a desperate necessity” this is how Kristin Parco, Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration, ended her intervention during the opening of the Second Technical Consultative Meeting.

The meeting, organized by the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT) and presided by Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior and Permanent Vice Chairperson of the NCCT, took place in Siem Reap on 30 and 31 October. The scope of the meeting was that of discussing about the roles of sending countries – Cambodia, Lao and Myanmar – in the strengthening of the protection of migrant workers.

Participants to the meeting included delegates from the three countries headed by Her Excellency Chou Bun Eng for Cambodia, Pol. Col. Dr. Phengsavanh Thipphavongsay, Deputy Director General of the General Police Department and Head of Secretarial to the Nation Committee on Anti Trafficking in Persons for Lao and Major General Aung Thu, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs for Myanmar.

The main objectives of the meeting were to:

  1. Share information on migratory trends for the elimination of irregular migration, trafficking and exploitation and for the promotion of safe, regular and orderly migration.
  2. Identify common issues, exchange experiences and strengthen collaboration to face problems in the fields of prevention, law enforcement and victim protection in the three countries and in Thailand.

The aim of the event is that of producing a concrete plan of action for the three countries on the management and protection of migrant workers’ safety, rights and interests in order to avoid the risks of human trafficking as well as any and all forms of exploitation. Once the plan of action is finalized and approved, it will be presented to Thailand for a potential collaboration aimed at resolving migratory issues effectively.

Among the themes that were discussed, participants focused on the expiration of work permits, which is one of the main problem faced by migrant workers in Thailand. It resulted that in all three countries potential migrants lack knowledge on regular migration bringing countries to conclude that there is a need to strengthen collaboration. In addition the delegations recognized that migration contribute to the economic development of the sending and receiving countries, but acknowledge that some common challenges remain to address and to enhance the protection of the rights of migrant workers. These key challenges, also include a better coordination to investigate and suppress offenders and to assist victims are still challenging.

On the second day, a signing ceremony was held: the delegations agreed that the two objectives of the meeting are achieved. However, the common solutions need to be explored comprehensively further and will be exchanged via diplomatic channel afterward.

Besides WeWorld-GVC, have taken part to the meeting representatives of International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Women, International Justice Mission (IJM), Ratanak International, Chabdai, Winrock International, ASEAN-Australia Counter Trafficking (ASEAN-ACT), Agape International Mission (AIM) and the Association of Cambodia Recruitment Agencies (ACRA).