Friday, April 24, 2009

Thailand, Burma sign pact against human trafficking

Published: 24/04/2009 at 05:50 PM

Thailand and Burma signed an agreement on Friday to combat human trafficking, especially of women and children -- the first such pact between two countries, the official statement said.

The agreement is aimed at improving cooperation along their 2,108 kilometre border.

Tens of thousands of migrant workers from impoverished Burma are working in Thailand, both legally and illegally.

Burma's Home Affairs Minister Maj-Gen Maung Oo and Thai Social Development and Human Security Minister Issara Somchai signed the pact in Burma's administrative capital, Naypyidaw.

The official statement said the pact was "an important step and provided a strong foundation for future joint efforts between the two countries in tackling cross-border trafficking''.

The deal covers areas such as prevention, protection, recovery and reintegration of victims, law enforcement and criminal justice, "as well as developing and implementing joint actions between the two countries", it said.

"We two countries tried to sign this (agreement) two years ago,'' a senior Burma police official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"It's a big achievement for us to cooperate with neighbouring countries. We can discuss more effectively in the future,'' the official said.

Burma has been ruled by the military since 1962 and is under sanctions by the United States and European countries because of its human rights records and continued detention of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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