USAID supports ASEAN’s work in combatting trafficking in persons and trafficking in wildlife, building disaster-resilient communities, strengthening food security and trade and investment.
Combatting Human Trafficking
Southeast Asia is both a source and a destination for people who are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, the prostitution of minors, debt bondage, and forced labor. One example of USAID efforts to combat trafficking in persons in Asia is support for the MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) Campaign, a multimedia initiative to raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking. Since 2006, MTV EXIT has produced 30 major concert events, 76 television and online programs, and dozens of outreach activities and has engaged over 700,000 of the region’s youth. The campaign in Southeast Asia has focused on Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, and will open in Burma in December. Under MTV EXIT, public awareness activities are carried out with partner governments, local non-governmental organizations, and civil society. This initiative operates throughout Asia with the support of USAID, AusAID, and the international NGO WalkFree. Secretary Clinton announced Phase IV during her visit to Australia in November 2012 for the annual Australia-U.S. Ministerial. Beginning in late November, ASEAN and MTV EXIT will host a Youth Session to tackle human trafficking issues and provide training in social media to combat trafficking in persons and to build regional networks to enhance awareness.
Combatting Wildlife Trafficking
USAID supports the fight against wildlife trafficking through the Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) Program. This program builds on the successes of the previous ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) Support program to combat wildlife trafficking and strengthen the sustainability of the Wildlife Enforcement Network. ARREST addresses the illegal wildlife trade in Asia by reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife and other natural resources; strengthening law enforcement capacity to deter the illegal trade; and reinforcing and sustaining regional learning networks and partnerships. ARREST has widened the Wildlife Enforcement Network’s links to China, South Asia, the United States, and other parts of the world to replicate best practices for wildlife law enforcement and conservation. Read more here.
Since 2010, the United States has supported ASEAN to promote dialogue with private sector and civil society on food security policy and regional food solutions. For example, USAID supports the Maximizing Agricultural Revenue through Knowledge, Enterprise Development and Trade (MARKET) project, which is a key component of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative. MARKET focuses on strengthening the ASEAN institutional platform for increasing regional food security. MARKET will also improve the enabling environment for expanded food and agriculture trade in the ASEAN region and increase private sector and civil society engagement in the regional agriculture policy dialogue.
Trade and Investment
To create a supportive environment for regional growth in Asia, it is essential to foster economic integration and improved governance among economies that are at significantly different stages of development. One example of how USAID is assisting in this area is through support for the ASEAN Technical Assistance and Training Facility (TATF), which works with U.S. Government entities to support the ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement and cooperation on standards. One planned activity through the TATF is a seminar in Burma that will support the country’s full integration into the ASEAN Economic Community and the capacity building the Government of Burma must undertake to be ready to join the AEC in 2015.
Disaster Risk Reduction
The Asia-Pacific region is the world’s most natural disaster-prone region. To help Asian countries mitigate that risk, USAID supports regional programs that assist with disaster preparedness and response. USAID and the U.S. Department of State partner through the ASEAN Development Vision to Advance National Cooperation and Economic Integration (ADVANCE) program to provide support for the development of the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management. In addition, through TATF, USAID will support the installation of the ASEAN Disaster Monitoring and Response System in the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Center in Jakarta. The system will provide the emergency operations center with streams of hazard data on events such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, forest fires, and other natural disasters from throughout the ASEAN region, to enhance disaster monitoring and decision making.
Last updated: October 25, 2013