The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA77 -  8 June 2004

Boost For Battle Against People Smuggling, People Trafficking And Transnational Crime

Experts from more than 40 countries met today in Brisbane to refine their strategies in the battle againstpeople smuggling, people trafficking and transnational crime in our region.

The meeting on 7- 8 June builds on the ‘Bali process’, developed at two regional ministerial conferences co-chaired by the Indonesian Foreign Minister and myself in February 2002 and April 2003.

Over the past two years, the Bali process has been crucial in strengthening regional cooperation at both political and operational levels to fight these insidious criminal activities.

New measures include the introduction in 19 countries of legislation to criminalise people smuggling and trafficking; increased extradition and prosecution efforts; increased information and intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies; enhanced cooperation on border and visa systems; and the streamlining of return arrangements for smuggled persons found not to be refugees.

The sheer scale of these crimes – an estimated four million people are smuggled or trafficked across international borders each year – demands a serious response.

Australia has implemented tough national measures to deter people smugglers, including increasing the maximum penalties for people smuggling offences.  In October 2003, the Government also announced a $20 million package to help target, arrest and prosecute people traffickers and provide support to their victims.

Today I am pleased to announce an additional $665,000 contribution to the International Organization for Migration project for the return and reintegration of trafficked and other vulnerable women and children in the region.  I am also pleased to announce a new $580,000 three-year project to combat child sex tourism in ASEAN countries.

The co-hosting of the meeting by Australia’s Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues and her Indonesian counterpart is another example of the excellent cooperation between Australia and Indonesia and reaffirms the value of regional countries working together on issues affecting us all.

Representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and several observer organisations also attended the meeting.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 - Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

Copyright © Commonwealth of Australia | Disclaimer | Privacy