Home Minister: Human Traffickers Under Pressure

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FRIDAY, 22 JANUARY 2010

(The Irrawaddy) RANGOON — Cooperation among the countries of the Mekong River region is putting pressure on human traffickers, a top Burmese official said.

The Myanma Ahlin daily reported Thursday that Home Minister Maj-Gen Maung Oo told a regional meeting that the area is no longer a “safe haven” for the traffickers due to effective measures taken by its six countries.

He spoke Wednesday at the 7th Senior Officials Meeting for the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking — COMMIT — in Bagan in central Burma.

But the top UN official in Burma, Bishow Parajuli, warned the meeting that people in Burma continue to be trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation, and the country is also a transit point for trafficking Bangladeshis to Malaysia and Chinese to Thailand.

A press release from the UN office in Burma said there are no reliable estimates on the number of people trafficked annually from Burma, although 155 trafficking cases involving 302 victims were investigated in 2009, with 429 perpetrators convicted, up from 134 cases in 2008.

The three-day meeting was attended by 135 participants from the six Mekong countries: Burma, Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

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