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Prime Minister announces new program to combat human trafficking

21 October, 2013

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Woman trainer wearing a uniform stands next to a white board covered with hand-drawn trafficking-related text and images

Following ARTIP training sessions to front line law enforcement officials, the rate of prosecution and conviction of trafficking offenders in the Philippines increased seven-fold in 2011.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a new program to reduce human trafficking in East Asia by strengthening criminal justice systems in the region.

The Prime Minister announced the $50 million Australia–Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (AAPTIP) program at the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh.

The five-year program will reduce opportunities for human trafficking by strengthening the capacities of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to investigate and successfully convict traffickers.

Men, women and children in East Asia are vulnerable to traffickers for many reasons including poverty, lack of employment opportunities, inadequate or unenforced labour laws and regulations, poor education or gender inequality.

The International Labour Organization believes more than 20 million people are trapped in situations of forced labour [external website] across the globe. Women and young people are particularly vulnerable, with school-age girls often forced into conditions of exploitative labour, domestic work or prostitution.

Australia is the largest donor to anti-human trafficking in South East Asia. The new program will:

  • support prosecutors and investigators to increase convictions
  • establish a research fund to bolster the collection of statistics
  • boost regional coordination and the exchange of information by senior officials working on issues of transnational crime
  • train more than 1900 judges and prosecutors
  • provide the ASEAN Secretariat with a dedicated adviser to support ASEAN members to coordinate regional trafficking responses
  • support the study of human trafficking and its drivers to better understand the horrifying nature and global scope of this crime.

The program will build on Australia’s previous work to strengthen the criminal justice response to human trafficking in East Asia and end the conditions that allow these practices to flourish.

It follows Australia’s successful Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project (ARTIP) and Asia Regional Cooperation to Prevent People Trafficking (ARCPPT) project, which were among the most comprehensive criminal-justice-sector human trafficking interventions in the world.

Through these projects, Australia helped train more than 8,100 police, prosecutors and judges in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes.

An independent evaluation of the ARTIP found it contributed to genuinely transformational development in the criminal justice systems of ASEAN countries.

Australia’s new program will be delivered by an international service provider selected through a competitive tender process.

More information


Last Reviewed: 20 November, 2012