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Stopping the Modern Slave Trade

60 Nations Meet in Bali to Discuss How to End International Smuggling and Trafficking of Human Beings.

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Representatives from more than 60 countries participated in a meeting with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration at Bali's Nusa Dua.

The two-day ministerial conference, held on April 14-15, 2009, is part of a continuing "Bali Process" first commenced in 2002 to curb people smuggling, people trafficking and other forms of transnational crime.

Co-chaired by the Governments of Indonesia and Australia, the Bali meeting was financed by Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States.

Among the topics discussed at the Bali meeting were the development of cross-national information and intelligence systems; cooperation between law enforcement agencies in order to combat people smuggling; cooperation on border and visa systems; heightened public awareness of people trafficking crimes; creation of legislation to empower those trying to stop these forms of trans-national crime; and facilitating the legal migration of people between participating countries.

Also discussed at the Bali conference, if perhaps only on the sidelines, was the growing problem of Rohingya migrants from Myanmar. The Rohingya are a Bengali-speaking Muslim minority from Myanmar who have landed illegally in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in their attempts to escape alleged repression in their homeland.

Also discussed was the increasing use of Bali and eastern parts of Indonesia as a staging point for smuggling Afghani and Iraqi nationals into Australia.

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