The Trouble with Trafficking

Southeast Asia’s Human Trafficking Conundrum

International Organization of Migration (IOM) Indonesia chief of mission Denis Nihill said the changing nature of human trafficking made it more difficult to tackle. “There’s been a lot of work done on the Greater Mekong Region for many years on trafficking, but it’s become more complex, as it’s now inextricably woven with labour migration, which is a much more difficult nut to crack because it is less easy to detect than trafficking linked to the sex industry.”  Nihill also pointed to the difficulties of tackling internal trafficking.

A 2012 UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report on human trafficking recorded more than 10,000 cases of trafficking in persons in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific between 2007-2010, but it is unclear what the situation is today.

“Nobody has been able to convincingly demonstrate the scale of the problem, let alone come up with clear ways of how to address it,” Sverre Molland, a lecturer at the Australian National University in Canberra who specializes in human trafficking, told IRIN, humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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