The Government of Laos utilizes government-controlled party organizations to alert Lao citizens to the dangers of potential trafficking abuses.1
Most anti-trafficking projects are carried out by international organizations and NGOs, and include consciousness-raising and skills development for at-risk groups. The government cooperates with UN agencies, specifically the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) to monitor, document and suggest remedies for trafficking-related problems, and has provided salaried employees to work on IOM and ILO Projects to gather data on prevention and protection statistics.2
UNIAP had supported radio shows about the dangers of trafficking in minority languages. The Main response of the MLSW concerning migration has been its leading role within the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The component of this initiative called the National Project on Trafficking, involves a National Steering Committee NSC) chaired by the Needy Children Assistance Section of the Department of Social Welfare (DSW).
There is no specific anti-trafficking law in Laos , but there are laws against kidnapping and prostitution. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare addresses trafficking in Laos. The ministry has provided some limited training to law enforcement officials.3
An inter-ministerial committee is drafting an anti-TIP law, which it plans to present to the National Assembly in September 2004. Law enforcement is decentralized and the central government does not keep data on efforts of local officials to prosecute traffickers. The government does not normally make public information on trials or their results, but three prosecutions were reported in 2003, two of which resulted in convictions with sentences of one to three years imprisonment.4
The Government of Laos signed a border control and labor memorandum with Thailand that addresses the repatriation of Lao trafficking victims, which is the first of its kind in the Mekong sub-region.5
The Asia Foundation is assisting the Lao Women's Union in a project to reconcile domestic laws with the Convention on the rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Programs raise the awareness of government officials on the nature and scope of the problem. This sets the stage for using the country's ongoing legal reform process to establish a legal framework to protect victims of trafficking and prosecute traffickers.
The Asia Foundation has also supported the first-ever counseling services for victims of trafficking and violence in Laos . In the first five months, more than 80 women received counseling. The Foundation also continues to support the Lao Youth Union to videotape and broadcast their street drama series in four provinces with high rates of migration. The videos educate the general public and youth in particular on safe migration and prevention of human trafficking.6
Laos signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Thailand regarding border control and a decree allowing citizens to work abroad.7
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