Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Human Trafficking: New grant tackles trafficking in Vietnam's Mekong Delta

The Asia Foundation announced a new grant of $500,000 from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for a two-year project to strengthen the Government of Vietnam's ongoing anti-trafficking efforts in the Mekong Delta.

Through an integrated, multi-sectoral, victim-centered approach, the USAID-supported project seeks to reduce the vulnerability of communities in the Mekong Delta to human trafficking by increasing awareness of safe migration strategies and increasing the quality of care and support available to victims of trafficking, drawing on best practices from other countries in the region.

To help prevent trafficking, The Asia Foundation and its partner, the Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences under the Ministry of Education and Training, will build upon and further refine an earlier school-based safe migration program in An Giang and Can Tho provinces - major trafficking hotspots near the Cambodia-Vietnam border - to reach 40,000 students from at-risk communities. Trainings for teachers and school officials will focus on messages and techniques that can be replicated in other schools and communities. Outreach efforts will incorporate successful materials developed under recent pilot projects such as the Safe Migration for a Better Life handbook and guidelines on how to find a job in major urban centers.

"The Asia Foundation-led safe migration pilot program was practical and useful for students, and information provided through the activities has helped to guide them to safe migration and safe employment," said Mr. Nguyen Thanh Binh, director of the An Giang Provincial Education and Training Department.

To assist victims of trafficking, another program priority will focus on improving the rehabilitation process. Given that many victims are in a vulnerable psychological state, there is significant potential for re-traumatization after they are rescued. The Asia Foundation will work with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and service providers - including police, legal professionals, social workers, and health care workers - to draft a policy document that defines a victim's basic rights as well as outlines best practices for ensuring a minimum standard of care. The Foundation will draw on its experience working with the Cambodian government to develop the recently-released Policy and Minimum Standard for the Protection of the Rights of Victims of Human Trafficking. To draft a victim assistance manual that is appropriate in the context of Vietnam, The Asia Foundation will facilitate consultations among key stakeholders and practitioners. Once the draft is approved by MOLISA, the Foundation will conduct training workshops to implement the new policy.

Trafficking in persons is a high priority issue for the Foundation. In Vietnam, the Foundation has supported a comprehensive counter-trafficking program since 2002 to address both the underlying causes and consequences of trafficking. Programs are implemented to empower young people to better protect themselves from sexual and labor exploitation as they look for ways out of poverty by providing safe migration and legal rights information as well as with interventions to improve their economic position.

Source: The Asia Foundation

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