Fri 29 Oct 2004
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Myanmar’s new prime minister, Lt. Gen. Soe Win, made his official debut Friday at a regional meeting where he vowed to break the “vicious cycle” of human trafficking.
The meeting in Myanmar’s capital, Yangon, is the first-ever
ministerial-level effort by the six countries along the Mekong river — China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam — to tackle human trafficking.
“We can and will show the world and the traffickers that we mean business. With our resolve, we will break the vicious cycle of trafficking in the region,” said Soe Win in the opening address at the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking.
The Mekong region, home to about 240 million people, is plagued by porous borders and areas of dire poverty which breed trafficking of laborers and women for the sex industry.
“I would like to reaffirm our sincere commitment to translate our words of commitment into actions that would make a dent in the ever-increasing crime of human trafficking in the region and the world,” said Soe Win, who became prime minister in a surprise Cabinet shake-up last week.
He praised Thailand’s measures to register illegal migrant workers, many of whom come from neighboring Myanmar.
“This effort created a win-win situation for all — workers, employers and the overall economy,” Soe Win said. “This bold step sets a good example to many other countries of destination.”
Delegates at the regional meeting were expected on Friday to sign a memorandum of understanding to improve regional cooperation in operations against human trafficking.