Press Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs/ Nay Pyi Taw / July 08, 2020

The 2020 US TIP Report does not reflect significant steps taken by Myanmar to combat human trafficking

It is discouraging that the 2020 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report recently released by the US Department of State continues to place Myanmar on Tier 3 List, i.e. countries whose governments are not making significant efforts to comply with the minimum standards. This designation fails to reflect significant steps taken by the Government of Myanmar last year to combat human trafficking.

The most vulnerable segment of the people of Myanmar falls prey to human traffickers due to poverty. In view of this, a Presidential directive was issued in 2019 to all line Ministries to step up effective measures for prevention, protection and prosecution, including stronger legal actions against traffickers, raising public awareness, and learning best practices from other countries.

Myanmar has made much progress in its efforts to prevent human trafficking crimes, prosecuting perpetrators and protecting victims over the past few years. The enactment of the Child Rights Law in July 2019 sets a sound legal framework for criminalizing grave violations against children. Myanmar’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (CRC-OPAC), and the ILO Minimum Age Convention No. 138 demonstrate Myanmar’s strong determination to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers, and to address the issue of child labour.

The National Committee led by a Vice-President was assigned to address the issue of child labour. With a view to eliminating forced labour, a National Complaints Mechanism has been put in place in cooperation with the ILO. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law 2005 is also being revised to be in line with international conventions applicable to Myanmar.

The Government has been providing assistance to survivors of trafficking for their rehabilitation and reintegration into society, while imposing stringent penalties on human traffickers. In addition, Myanmar is working with its neighbours to protect its migrant workers and reduce vulnerability to human trafficking through bilateral cooperation mechanisms. During the reporting period, the number of reported human trafficking cases passing through Myanmar as a transit country showed a significant decrease compared to previous years. Despite the rise in the number of IDPs due to conflicts, we have been able to prevent human trafficking of IDPs. Most of the recent cases of trafficked boat people do not originate from Myanmar.

Recently, the Myanmar Armed Forces has been delisted by the United Nations from its Listed Parties that recruit and use children, in recognition of the progress made in addressing the issue of underage soldiers.

Notwithstanding such progress, it is disappointing that the 2020 TIP Report fails to reflect Myanmar’s enhanced efforts in combating human trafficking adequately. Myanmar hopes that future TIP rankings will be based more on objectivity, impartiality and independence. Myanmar remains committed to preventing its vulnerable groups from this inhumane crime, and will continue to work together with all partners, including the United States, to boost national efforts in addressing this heinous crime that is a global concern.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Nay Pyi Taw

8th July 2020