Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

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


Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

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

Events and News

Power in Migration and Work - Projects in 2017

Making Informed Decisions: Working with women in source communities at the pre-migration and pre-decision-making stage

Duration: January - December 2017

Location: Bangladesh, India and Nepal 

Beneficiaries: Women and girls before they have decided to migrate

What is this project about?

Since June 2014, GAATW-IS, in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and local NGO partners, has been working with women and girls in selected source communities of Bangladesh, India and Nepal to support them in making informed decisions about their labour migration. GAATW believes that working with women before they have made their migration decisions is an extremely important and essential step in reducing exploitation. This is a step that should happen before trying to influence the structured pre-departure programmes already on-going in Bangladesh and Nepal. GAATW is aiming to enhance the capacity of community workers who interact with migrating women in source districts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

What are we going to do?

  • Organise country/district-level trainings for staff of NGO partners in Bangladesh;
  • Conduct field visits to all project areas in Nepal;
  • Organise a conceptual clarity session in an all-partners meeting in Nepal;
  • Conduct a second training for peer workers in Nepal;
  • Organise an Information festival for migrating workers in Chennai, India;
  • Organise a preliminary meeting with partners and a second training in Bangladesh;
  • Conduct an IEC workshop for partners in India;
  • Collect feedback, prepare and publish a Community Workers' Handbook on Women, Work and Migration.

Project Partners (Members and Non-Members): Bangladesh: ACD, BOMSA, OKUP, WARBE; India: APDWWT (AP Domestic Workers Welfare Trust); NDWM Tamil Nadu; Nepal: ABC-Nepal, People’s Forum, Pourakhi, WOREC.

Funding Support: ILO Department for International Development. 


Towards Empowerment: Working with women and girls in India

Duration: January - December 2017

Location: Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh states, India

Beneficiaries: Women and girls before they have migrated or have decided to migrate

What is this project about?

The tribal communities of Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh are migrating to other parts of the country – mainly to cities – in search of work.  Many people see the cities as places of opportunities and freedom.

Unfortunately, when people from these communities migrate, they become subject to exploitation, abuse and poor working conditions. Much of this migration is distress or forced migration resulting from policy failure of the state.

Our project aims to understand the complexities around interstate labour migration, especially female labour migration, in India. We want to critique and speak out against forced or distress migration. We also want to support young women and girls in making informed and well-considered decisions regarding their in-country migration for work.

Rather than trying to stop or promote migration, we would like to focus on three basic human rights in our work with women and young girls in the communities: Right to Health, Right to Education and Right to Information.

We will not only provide information on these topics to women and girls, but also encourage them to question and seek out information for themselves. We want to help girls stay in school, but also enjoy learning and get advice on work and migration.  The health component will provide them with knowledge about their bodies, on hygiene , nutrition, preventive health care and traditional medicines.

What are we going to do?

The project is a pilot and we hope to develop it further in future. In 2015, we will implement the following main activities:

  • One-on-one discussion between GAATW-IS and partners;
  • Planning meeting with all partners and GAATW-IS and finalisation of work plans;
  • Situational analysis of project sites by partners;
  • Support visit and training by GAATW-IS (part-time staff based in India);
  • Review meeting and completion of report.

Project Partners (GAATW Members and Non-Members): Institute for Social Development - Odisha, Shramajivi Mahila Samity-Jharkhand, Jashpur Jan Vikas Sanstha-Gholeng, Jeevan Jharna Vikas Sanstha-Jashpur, Chetana Child and Women Welfare Society-Chhatishgarh

Funding Support: Caritas-France 



Access to Justice - Projects in 2017

Enhancing Access to Justice for Trafficked South Asian Migrant Workers in the Middle East


Duration: January 2015 - June 2017

Location: South Asia and the Middle East

Beneficiaries: Workers migrating from South Asia to the Middle East, trade unions, governments in South Asia and the Middle East

What is this project about? 

The issue of human trafficking has been on the international agenda for over a decade now and a broad definition of trafficking that embraces all forms of labour has been in place since 2000. However, work on trafficking in the context of labour migration is still in its infancy. Countries in South Asia have been slow to recognise the link between internal and overseas labour migration and human trafficking. In their zeal to promote overseas migration, the government of Bangladesh actively rejects the application of the anti-trafficking framework to issues of exploitation within labour migration. And yet, reports of the exploitation of workers are abundant and migrant rights groups struggle to provide some assistance to the severely abused and returnee migrant workers. 

The research carried out by ILO in 2013 entitled Tricked and Trapped documented the prevalence of human trafficking in the Middle Eastern region, where many migrant people from South Asia work. Interestingly however, all the major labour receiving countries in the Middle East have signed and ratified the UN Convention onTransnation al Organised Crime. Several of them are also donors of the UN’s work to eradicate human trafficking. However, their record to address the problem of trafficking in their own countries is dubious. Although some campaigns are currently underway to expose the extent of forced labour and trafficking in the Middle East, further work is urgently needed. Some advocacy is happening in countries of destination to address the widespread violation of migrant workers’ rights. It would be worth putting additional pressure on the governments of the Middle Eastern countries using the anti-trafficking framework. 

GAATW-IS and many of our members have been working on the issue of Access to Justice since 2006. Following an international consultation in 2006, we carried out work in Asia, Africa and Latin America and set up a dedicated website. A toolkit to use CEDAW was also prepared in 2011 in addition to other publications. 

What are we going to do?

  • Conduct preliminary preparation and organise visits to select countries of destination;
  • Conduct a desk research for updating the Access to Justice website, desk research on destination countries and research for the case analysis workshop;
  • Organise a Case Analysis Workshop on labour exploitation for NGOs from countries of origin;
  • Organise a Case Analysis Workshop in Amman and Beirut;
  • Provide technical support/resources for project partners to do case documentation and follow-up;
  • Advocate on the international level, as per opportunity. 

Project Partners: KAFA-Lebanon, Kuwait Trade Union Federation, National Domestic Workers Movement-India, People’s Forum Nepal, Pourakhi-Nepal, Tamkeen Foundation-Jordan, OKUP-Bangladesh.

Funding support: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Women’s World Day of Prayer. 

Find out more: A Toolkit for Reporting to CEDAW on Trafficking in Women and Exploitation of Migrant Women Workers; ILO: Tricked and Trapped: Human Trafficking in the Middle East


Accountability - Projects in 2017

Critical assessment of the implementation of Anti-Trafficking legislation in Bolivia, Colombia and Guatemala, part II


Duration: January - June 2017

Location: Bolivia, Colombia and Guatemala

Beneficiaries: Trafficked persons, NGOs service providers, government agencies 

What is this project about?

GAATW and its members have questioned whether anti-trafficking initiatives are truly able to protect and promote the rights of victims: the report ‘Collateral Damage’ demonstrates the systematic failure of anti-trafficking measures to protect the human rights of trafficked persons. At the same time, the report ‘Feeling Good about Feeling Bad’ stresses the need to monitor and evaluate initiatives against trafficking and include the participation of key stakeholders, so that there is mutual accountability. In this respect, it is crucial to correctly assess the anti-trafficking initiatives implemented by governmental institutions.

To this end, in 2016 an assessment was carried out in Bolivia, Colombia and Guatemala on the specific responsibilities of public institutions to assist and protect victims and prosecute traffickers, which allows for the identification of the main successes and gaps in the implementation of anti-trafficking legislation in the three countries.The assessment was conducted by Fundación La Paz in Bolivia, Corporación Espacios de Mujer in Colombia and ECPAT in Guatemala, with the support of the International Secretariat of GAATW and Capital humano y social - Alternativo, a Peruvian NGO with experience in this kind of assessments since 2009 (see a brief overview of the project here). 

It is necessary to carry out and publish this kind of assessment identifying the work done from the governmental bodies and documenting the existing situation. An annual report will allow to identify the steps back and forward in the implementation of the law and plan an advocacy and monitoring strategy in accordance with to the documented situation. 

What are we going to do? 

Through the three local organisations in Bolivia, Colombia and Guatemala, GAATW will carry out an assessment of anti-trafficking legislation to identify the existing gaps between what the legislation states and the actual services provided.

The information gathered during the assessment will be analysed in order to better understand the reasons for this gap and to be able to provide clear recommendations to the government for reducing it. To analyse the information, findings and recommendation from the 2016 reports will be used in order to compare the situation and identify the progress or lack thereof in the implementation of anti-trafficking legislation. 

The findings and recommendations from this project will be shared with the three governments and other anti-trafficking stakeholders with the aim of upholding the rights of trafficked persons through efficient delivery of services and assistance programmes. 

Project partners: CHS-Peru, Espacios de Mujeres - Colombia, Fundacion La Paz, Bolivia and ECPAT Guatemala.

Funding Support: Oak Foundation and Bread for the World

Find out more: Video Rights on Paper and Rights in Practice


Realising Rights

SELF-ORGANISED GROUPS IN THE ALLIANCE: Affirming the role of very small organisations and directly affected groups – including trafficking survivors, migrant women, sex workers, rural women, women workers, and returnee migrant women – in anti-trafficking efforts.

GAATW has always highlighted the pivotal role of women directly affected by trafficking and/or anti-trafficking measures in anti-trafficking efforts. The self-organised groups (or groups comprising women with direct experience of the issue they are working on, e.g. domestic worker-led groups) in our membership have articulated: how anti-trafficking measures have impacted their lives; how they envision human rights based anti-trafficking practices; how processes of personal recovery and activism intersect; how policies intersect with women's aspirations and their realities; the difficulties in accessing support if they operate outside of mainstream NGO frameworks; and an analysis that stems from lived experience of various issues.

Self-organised groups' issues and priorities will be woven into the 3 programmatic directions above and integrated across all GAATW programmes. However, we will also continue to maintain spaces for collaboration with self-organised groups that may fall outside of the 3 directions above.

SOG Members List (Click on the names of the organisations below to read more about their work and contact information)

• Action for Reach Out (AFRO)

• Asociacion Civil de DDHH Mujeres Unidas Migrantes Y Refugiadas en Argentina (AMUMRA)

• Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong (ATKI-HK)

• Cambodia Prostitutes' Union (CPU)



• Sindicato de Trabajadoras Domesticas(SINTRASEDOM)

• Movimiento de Mujeres Unidas (MODEMU)

• National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM)

• Sanayar-thi Pan

• Self-Empowerment Program for Migrant Women (SEPOM)

• Shakti Samuha

• Sex Workers' Network of Bangladesh (SWNOB)

• Genera

Relevant 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


All of the above roles depend on a diverse range of communication with our networks. The primary goal of GAATW’s communications work is to promote global representation and equal access to relevant information and knowledge that is essential in strengthening the Alliance. As the International Secretariat of a diverse network, GAATW engages across many communication styles, cultures and media to share and exchange information between Member Organisations.

GAATW’s communication services will continue to reflect the needs of the Alliance, in order to provide clear and timely responses in the anti-trafficking discourse. GAATW-IS aims to provide effective communication services through publications, online resources, and multi-media projects to carry forward the voices and knowledge of members, partners and affected groups at local, regional, and international levels. 



As the Secretariat of a global alliance, communication is at the core of all our work. We regularly share relevant information with our members and encourage member-to-member communications. Most of our projects are documented in high-quality publications. While some colleagues take responsibility for the technical aspect of publications, such as layout and designing and distributions, colleagues with thematic responsibilities prepare the content. All content goes through an internal and sometimes an external review.

Our e-Bulletin contains information about our and our members work, as well as interviews, analyses and commentaries and a list of resources. The bulletin is sent to a mailing list of over 1000 individuals from our member organisations, partners, allies, international organisations and academia. Anyone who wishes can subscribe here. We also publish a Spanish-language e-bulletin for our members and allies in Latin America. 

Since 2012, we have been publishing a peer-reviewed academic journal called the Anti-Trafficking Review. The journal promotes a human rights based approach to anti-trafficking. A peer-reviewed, open access publication with a readership in over 100 countries, the Review offers an outlet and space for dialogue between academics, practitioners, trafficked persons and advocates seeking to communicate new ideas and findings to those working for and with trafficked persons. The journal is abstracted/indexed in: Cross Ref, Ulrich’s, Ebsco Host, Directory of Open Access Journals, Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, World Cat, eGranary,, ProQuest, CNKI and ScienceOpen. After bringing out one issue per year for three years, since 2015 we produce two issues per year. In 2017, the eighth issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review explored the role of evidence, research and data in anti-trafficking work. The ninth issue, which will be published in September, will explore the lessons that history might hold for today's anti-trafficking work.

We also post regularly on our Facebook page and Twitter

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.