Bali Process to Kickstart Gov't-Business Collaboration to Fight Human Trafficking

The Bali Process Government and Business Forum will produce co-chair statements from Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, right, and her Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop. (Antara Photo/Nyoman Budhiana)

By : Sheany | on 6:31 PM August 21, 2017
Category : News, Human Rights, Foreign Affairs

Jakarta. Government officials and business leaders will convene in Perth, Australia, on Friday (25/08) to discuss initiatives and collaborations to combat human trafficking, forced labor and modern slavery at the inaugural meeting of the Bali Process Government and Business Forum.

"We have a simple goal: we want to collaborate with the private sector so we can evaluate how they can contribute to combat people smuggling and human trafficking," Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told reporters during a press briefing on Monday.

Established in 2002, the Bali Process is an international forum for policy dialogue on people smuggling, human trafficking and related transnational crime.

The Bali Process Government and Business Forum was launched during the sixth Bali Process Ministerial Conference in March last year to expand the forum’s engagement and include the private sector as part of a collective effort to eradicate these crimes.

The forum has more than 40 members, made up of governments and international organizations, such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

According to Grata Endah Werdaningtyas, newly appointed director of international security and disarmament at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the forum serves as a platform for business leaders to "develop independent and voluntary work programs" that will address aforementioned crimes, encourage ethical business practices among supply chains, expand safe and legal channels for employment opportunities and create synergy with governments on preventive and mitigation efforts.

The forum is expected to produce the Perth Work Plan, which will cover initiatives by the private sector and moral commitments toward ethical recruitment, supply chain transparency and the development of incentives for ethical business behavior and safeguard and redress mechanisms.

Grata said those initiatives will then be implemented in different sectors – education, incentivization, regulation and innovation. This will involve programs to raise awareness among different groups, utilizing current technology and social media to promote the cause and creating incentives to "stimulate ethical behavior among businesses."

"The most important thing is that business leaders are committed to work with governments to promote what we call a safe and legal labor opportunity for migrant workers," Grata said.

The forum will also produce co-chair statements from Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and her Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop. Furthermore, Walk Free Foundation founder Andrew Forrest and Emtek Group chairman Eddy Sariaatmadja, who will co-chair the forum as private sector representatives, will also produce a statement.

"In the future, we hope to link the efforts that we have made within the context of the Bali Process with other efforts, such as those with the Sustainable Development Goals and similar initiatives under the Group of 20," Grata said.

Following the Perth forum, governments will follow up on agreed proposals under the working plan and create cooperation programs with business leaders – from within their own countries and abroad – to identify specific sectors in which they can tackle forced labor and trafficking, such as the fisheries sector.

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