GAATW Logo

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

Human Rights
at home, abroad and on the way...

GAATW Logo

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

Human Rights
at home, abroad and on the way...

Events and News

Advocacy

From GAATW’s beginnings in the early 1990s, advocacy has been a core part of our work. GAATW-IS supports Member’s advocacy by developing advocacy tools for Member Organisations; ensuring evidence-based policy making; identifying opportunities for advocacy in international human rights treaty bodies and mechanisms; advocating for human rights principles in criminal justice frameworks; shifting public narratives around trafficked persons by working with media; and calling for the accountability of anti-trafficking stakeholders in all responses to trafficking.

GAATW identifies opportunities for advocacy at the international level, both to advocate to the governments of the countries we research and to share our analysis with other states and the broader NGO community.

Achievements to date include: joining a coalition of groups to call for an internationally recognised definition of trafficking, now enshrined in the Human Trafficking Protocol; demanding and ensuring greater human rights protections for migrant women through the United Nations process; raising awareness of the dangers of anti-trafficking approaches that are not grounded in the lived experiences of trafficked persons; and building a strong network of advocates for trafficked persons’ rights worldwide.

GAATW’s international advocacy work has been facilitated by the Alliance successfully obtaining consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations in 2006.


 

ACTIVITIES IN 2017

In 2017, our main international advocacy work is focused on the Global Compact on Migration. In addition, we will participate in the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, People's Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights in Berlin, the 26th session of the Commission of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna and other international and regional forums. 

Strategic Thematic Directions

 

GAATW’s thematic strategic direction documents the Alliance’s two-pronged approach involving (1) critical engagement with the anti-trafficking framework and (2) linking trafficking with gender, migration, and labour frameworks. This approach is not new for GAATW, which has embraced this two-pronged approach inception. However, by separating gender, labour, and migration and analysing their intersections with trafficking, we have been able to better engage with related movements and understand lines of overlap and tension.

During 2011-13, through our Power in Migration and Work thematic programme, we engaged more directly with the migrant rights and labour rights movements. During 2014-2016 our work will build on the work of previous years: we will continue to push for a human rights based approach in anti-trafficking policies and practices.  We will also deepen our engagement with the issue of migration and labour.

The three thematic strategic issues outlined below are continuations of our work during 2011-13.

1.   ACCOUNTABILITY

Increasing the accountability of all anti-trafficking stakeholders involved in the design or implementation of anti-trafficking responses, towards the persons whose human rights they purport to protect.

GAATW members have long shared a concern over the inability of anti-trafficking initiatives to protect and promote the rights of trafficked persons.  Indeed, the key finding of GAATW’s 2007 report Collateral Damage was that initiatives to prevent trafficking have had numerous negative rather than positive impacts on trafficked persons, as well as other groups. Furthermore, GAATW’s 2010 review of anti-trafficking reports found that measures routinely failed to incorporate an assessment by the person who had been trafficked. Cumulatively, these findings revealed the need for monitoring and evaluation of anti-trafficking initiatives to include the participation of key stakeholders to ensure mutual accountability.

This programme seeks to reaffirm the right of the community to express their voices in monitoring initiatives intended to benefit them, recognising that victims are not a monolithic category, but speak with a plurality of voices that require space to be heard.

Projects under this programme in 2017.

2.   ACCESS TO JUSTICE

Broadening spaces for trafficked persons and migrant workers to practice their human rights by improving access to justice and combating all forms of discrimination that impact women’s ability to exercise their human rights as they relate to trafficking.

Access to Justice has been an on-going priority for the GAATW International Secretariat (IS) and its members for many years. While members engage directly with the legal system in their countries, the GAATW-IS focuses on international spaces and tries to highlight gaps. The IS Team also carries out consultations and research and facilitates learning workshops. By introducing a stronger non-discrimination framework into our efforts, we have tried to: address anti-migration, anti-prostitution, and xenophobic sentiments; better understand the link between discrimination and exploitation; facilitate members’ involvement with regional and international individual complaints mechanisms; and explore how discrimination intersects with women’s and practitioners’ attempts to access justice and enjoy their rights.

Projects under this programme in 2017.

3.   POWER IN MIGRATION AND WORK

Centring an analysis of women’s power in their labour and migration to better assess migration and labour policies’ impact on women, and to work towards labour and migration processes that reflect migrants’ needs, aspirations and capabilities.

Governments and other anti-trafficking stakeholders, including some of our members, continue to frame trafficking primarily as a migration and border issue, using concepts such as ‘safe migration’ or ‘circular migration’. However, we don’t seek to prevent migration as a means of preventing exploitation. Rather, we work to ensure that: women are able to access the most appropriate means of migration and work and retain independence, are empowered, and at no times suffer due to protectionism.

Centring an analysis on women’s power in their labour and migration could assist in guarding against protectionism in labour migration policies (e.g. restricting women’s migration for their safety) and allow a more thorough analysis of how labour migration policies reflect migrant’s needs, aspirations, and capabilities. Centring ‘power in migration and work’ can also assist our understanding of, and efforts towards, economic justice for migrants, workers’ power in recruitment processes, trafficked persons’ power in assistance processes, smuggling, migrant workers’ rights in the Middle East, and other under-researched areas, to name a few examples.

Projects under this programme in 2017. 

Realising Rights

Groups of marginalized and vulnerable women are organising to address their own problems and promote their own rights and needs. The Realising Rights Programme is one way GAATW supports the work of self-organised groups (SOGs) and their allies in the Alliance.

‘Self-organised group’ describes women with direct experience of the issue they’re working on. For example, sex workers organisation comprised of sex workers and survivors of trafficking organisations directed by survivors of trafficking. These groups and their ‘members’ are diverse – migrants, sex workers, domestic workers, trafficked women, racialised women, poor women. Space and opportunity are created through coming together. Women can share experiences, struggles, ideas for change, and create meaningful and supportive relationships.

GAATW-IS believes the knowledge, experiences, voices, and hopes of these women must be central to any work that we do on trafficking, migration, and women’s rights. We hope through this programme to have strong self-organized members working for social change and contributing to GAATW’s understanding of the issues.

The vision of the Realising Rights Programme is to have strong self-organized members that are able to work for social change and to contribute to civil society discourses on women's rights and empowerment.

ABOUT THE PROGRAMME

Objective

The objective of the Realising Rights programme is to build the capacity and empower groups through trainings, mutual learning opportunities, and incorporating their voices and experiences into international debate.

History of the Programme

ACTIVITIES

Self-help Health Training

Video Advocacy, “Documenting our Lives” project
“Documenting our Lives” (2001-2004) was a continuation of GAATW’s commitment and solidarity with the struggle of women within the informal economy for social, political and legal rights.
The project aimed to strengthen the self-representation efforts of the participants and recognised the advocacy work of the self-organised groups. Training in the use of handheld video cameras was organised for the entire group after which the groups themselves sought help from local film makers and enhanced their skills. This was also an important aspect of the project. The fact that small self-organised groups do work in solidarity with many local groups and in several instances engage in the larger movements of social justice, was recognised and encouraged. In late 2002, GAATW International Secretariat organised Partners in Change, a conference which brought together sex workers, domestic workers, factory workers, and formerly trafficked persons who have formed groups.

Social Enterprises – ISD, STP
Getting Our Voices Heard (synopsis of the 2nd annual consultation with SOGs, 2006)
Our Bodies (and minds), Our Selves (synopsis of the 1st annual consultation with SOGs, 2005)


WHO WE ARE

SOG Members List (Click on the names of the organisations below to read more about their work and contact information) PUBLICATIONS
  • Respect & Relevance, GAATW Report 2007
  • Speak Out, Take Action (Sex Worker’s organisations in Bangladesh, Cambodia & India raise their voices against police brutality, GAATW 2004)
  • “Partners in Change” Conference (2002) – stories of women’s collectives & report
  • Advocacy video project on Overcharging - IMW's say NO to Overcharging


back to What we do

Access to Justice

Access to justice means access to a fair, respectful and efficient legal process, either through judicial, administrative or other public processes, resulting in a just and adequate outcome.

As trafficking in persons continues to gain increasing attention as a global issue, countries around the world have enacted anti-trafficking legislation and sought to combat trafficking as a form of organised crime. This law enforcement approach has made the prosecution of traffickers a key anti-trafficking strategy and thus trafficked people, the main witnesses in prosecutions, have been put in close contact with the justice system. While terrible human rights violations occur in the trafficking process and the need to combat this crime is evident, there is also a need for conscious and critical reflection on the impact of anti-trafficking efforts.

The Access to Justice Programme looks critically at the law enforcement approach to combating trafficking, and tries to analyse the extent to which this approach is protecting the human rights of trafficked persons.

At the same time, the Programme aims to support GAATW members to improve access to justice for victims of human trafficking by:
• Researching global patterns and strategies for prosecuting traffickers while protecting victims rights
• Promoting a participatory model of policy-making on access to justice by including all voices in discussions, such as policy-makers, court actors, service providers and affected groups, particularly women who have been trafficked
• Fostering communication, coordination and sharing of information, resources and experiences among members and other NGOs that provide legal assistance to trafficked persons
• Raising awareness about access to justice as a key human rights issue within anti-trafficking circles
• Contributing to other GAATW programmes on prevention, protection and advocacy by informing them access to justice for trafficked persons.

As part of this programme, GAATW created a website focussing on Access to Justice, featuring legal resources, country information, and a lawyers forum. For more information about this programme, and to access these resources, go to: www.gaatw.org/atj

Activities
Main activities in 2008

  • Developing the Access to Justice Handbook for Victims of Human Trafficking (Nigeria), involving Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of trafficking in Persons and other related maters (NAPTIP), UNIFEM, and GAATW Handbook to be published in October 2008

Activities in 2006 and 2007:
  • National Consultation on Access to Justice for Trafficked Persons (Kathmandu, Nepal - 2007)
  • National Consultation on Access to Justice for Trafficked Persons (Abuja, Nigeria - 2007)
  • Workshop on Access to Justice (MAP Women Exchange Meeting, Chiang Mai,Thailand - 2007)
  • Study trips to Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia (2007)

Key findings from the Global Consultation on Access to Justice:

1. The vast majority of trafficking survivors do not enjoy their right to access the justice system. Problems with identification and poor legal knowledge mean that most victims never become aware of their rights. Even if they do, lack of training and resources to police, poor prosecutions, weak legal systems, discrimination and many other factors make bringing trafficking cases a long and arduous road.

2. Even where a case is successful, it is extremely rare for a victim to receive restitution for the violations suffered. Of the three cases in which survivors presented their stories, none had received any compensation.

1. Overwhelmingly participants agreed that obtaining justice could be an essential step to claiming back one’s life, but that the choice to seek justice should be the victim’s alone. Many trafficked persons choose not to press charges and that should be respected.

2. All countries seeking to tackle trafficking are doing so, at least partly, through their legislative and judicial systems. Further, all advocates have the same general goals for these systems: comprehensive legislation, effective police action, successful prosecutions that do not further victimise the victims of this crime, adequate sentences, and compensation. Different countries are achieving these goals to greater and lesser extents, but clearly lessons can be shared across jurisdictions.

3. Anti-trafficking legislation was highly valued by participants from countries that did not have such legislation in place, whereas for participants already working within such a framework, much more emphasis was placed on implementation.

6. The commitment of the trafficked person and her lawyer was essential to a successful case. In all cases, the survivor’s determination, patience and courage to fight for her rights had been crucial to the case being finalised.

7. Creative solutions – successful cases often relied not only on laws criminalising trafficking but used labour laws, other criminal laws, the media and human rights mechanisms.

8. Networking between NGOs and law enforcement, and among NGOs, both nationally and internationally, is essential to improving access to justice for victims.

back to What we do>

Communications and Information

The objective of GAATW’s communication and information is to empower people through sharing information and knowledge.

The Communications team facilitates information services and through the use of various communication tools carry forward the voices of members, partners and affected groups at the local, regional and international levels.

The team is responsible for the creation and distribution of publications (monthly e-bulletins, bi-annual Alliance News, and material for GAATW’s programmes), video editing and production, GAATW-IS’s internal information management system, members and partners database, and visual documentation.


Activities for 2008:

  • Monthly e-bulletins
  • Video Advocacy Project, producing a video clip in partnership with ATKI-HK
  • Bi-annual issues of Alliance News
  • Production of a GAATW planner for 2009
back to What we do>

Strategic Thematic Direction

During 2011-13, through our Power in Migration and Work thematic programme, we engaged more directly with the migrant rights and labour rights movements. During 2014-2016 our work will build on the work of previous years; we will continue to push for a human rights based approach in anti-trafficking policies and practices.  We will also deepen our engagement with the issue of migration and labour.

The three thematic strategic issues outlined below are continuations of our work during 2011-13.

ACCOUNTABILITY Increasing the accountability of all anti-trafficking stakeholders involved in the design or implementation of anti-trafficking responses, towards the persons whose human rights they purport to protect.

ACCESS TO JUSTICE Broadening spaces for trafficked persons and migrant workers to practice their human rights by improving access to justice and combating all forms of discrimination that impact women’s ability to exercise their human rights as they relate to trafficking.

POWER IN MIGRATION AND WORK Centring an analysis of women’s power in their labour and migration to better assess migration and labour policies’ impact on women, and to work towards labour and migration processes that reflect migrants’ needs, aspirations and capabilities.