Bali Process Disruption Working Group’s Joint Period of Action furthers international cooperation on countering human trafficking and smuggling
The RSO was delighted to host the Bali Process Disruption Working Group’s Joint Period of Action (JPoA) meeting, held on 18 October in Bangkok and online, to progress the development of cross-border Investigation Plans following an initial planning meeting held in July.
Representatives from New Zealand and Viet Nam discussed their plan to work together to tackle the exploitation and trafficking of Vietnamese nationals into New Zealand by looking at related visa fraud and criminality in both countries. While Sri Lanka Immigration representatives were eager to progress an Investigation Plan with Thai counterparts to identify and prevent Sri Lankan citizens travelling into Thailand and then crossing borders illegally into neighbouring countries.
The meeting provided a great opportunity to build on the relationships established at July’s JPoA, and there was further commitment by all parties to find ways to work together and share information to disrupt these serious organised crime activities.
Viet Nam and New Zealand expressed their intention to identify opportunities to share information about organised crime groups more efficiently, highlighting the establishment of a memorandum of understanding between New Zealand and Viet Nam as a longer-term goal for formalising information sharing arrangements.
Sri Lankan representatives outlined some of the anti-human trafficking measures they have been implementing. These include targeted community awareness campaigns on the risks of being trafficked, as well as training for frontline officers in how to identify citizens at risk of being trafficked. Discussions between Sri Lanka and Thailand focused on information sharing and a possible joint operation between their respective immigration agencies. While official approval would be required, a range of operational responses to counter trafficking in persons were discussed during the meeting.
Finally, Jessica Dewangga, Regional Border and Identity Solutions Officer from the International Organization for Migration delivered a fantastic presentation on the Document Examination Support Centre (DESC) Initiative, which includes the Verifier TD&B—a passport authentication tool—and ANDEX Fraudulent Documents Reporting System (AFDRS)—a web-based information-sharing platform on the use of fraudulent travel documents. Jessica demonstrated the systems’ capabilities, which included the ability to rapidly share trends about fraudulent travel document usage, passport country and locations of fraudulent document detections, and case studies on the successful identification of counterfeit passports and visa labels.