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)

New Bali Process Forum to Combat Modern Slavery: Australian FM


MARCH 16, 2017

Jakarta. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop welcomed the launch of the new Bali Process Government and Business Forum, an Australian and Indonesian partnership to combat human trafficking and modern slavery, on Thursday (16/03).

"These abusive practices are contrary to human dignity and a violation of fundamental human rights," Bishop said in a press release.

The new partnership was announced by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo during the latter's state visit to Australia earlier in February.

The first meeting for the forum is scheduled to take place in Perth, Australia, on Aug. 24-25.

Ministers and business leaders from the 45 Bali Process countries will meet to determine policies to tackle forced labor and trafficking.

"We are launching the forum because we recognize the private sector's critical role in combating these crimes in our region and beyond," Bishop said, adding that the partnership between the two governments will give business leaders a role in preventing these crimes.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Bishop met in Jakarta recently to discuss the partnership under the Bali Process. The ministers will lead the meeting in August.

Walk Free Foundation founder Andrew Forrest and Emtek Group chairman Eddy Sariaatmadja will co-chair the forum, representing Australian and Indonesian business interests.

The 2016 Global Slavery Index, published by the Walk Free Foundation, showed that 45.8 million people worldwide are trapped in slavery, more than two-thirds of them in the Asia-Pacific region.

More than 700,000 people are enslaved in Indonesia.

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