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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

Research

The GAATW International Secretariat (GAATW-IS) will continue to use research, participatory learning, advocacy and communication tools to realise the vision and mission of the Alliance.

RESEARCH
GAATW’s research plays a substantial role in shaping and shifting global anti-trafficking discourses. Much of GAATW’s research has been action-oriented, feeding local or international change processes and done in collaboration with Members and allies.

Members’ involvement in research projects will maximise the knowledge and experience within the Alliance and ensure that research activities are relevant. In general, our research prioritises documenting women’s experiences and agency in order to advance global anti-trafficking discourses, strengthens our advocacy messages, creates a sound evidence base with the objective of promoting and protecting the human rights of trafficked persons, and expands knowledge in under-researched areas.

Overall, we seek to destabilise the dominant perception of women as victims in isolated, crime-centred responses to trafficking. Instead, we strive to present a complex picture of empowerment through migration, work, and human rights based approaches.


ACTIVITIES IN 2017

This year we are conducting a research project to document if and how sex workers organising helps to prevent and address abuses in the sex industry, including trafficking. The research covers seven countries across the world (Canada, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, India, Thailand and New Zealand with at least one sex workers rights organisation in each country. We hope that ultimately, state authorities and NGOs will recognise sex workers organisations as legitimate anti-trafficking stakeholders and provide them with support, including financial, for anti-trafficking work. 

What we do

GAATW works in a three-year programme cycle. Developing the Alliance’s strategic direction for the following three years is done in consultation with Member Organisations, and other individuals, networks, and organisations that work in partnership with GAATW. This consultation happens primarily at the triennial International Members Congress and Conference (IMCC). Strategic discussions also happen at regional or thematic consultations held during the multi-year programme.

In the past two planning cycles (2005-2007 and 2008-2010), GAATW adopted a two-pronged, approach involving (1) critical engagement with the anti-trafficking framework and (2) linking trafficking with gender, migration, and labour frameworks. This approach was not new for GAATW, which since its inception, had understood trafficking experiences as gendered and occurring in a broader context of migration and work and thought it critical to engage with the anti-trafficking framework. However, by separating gender, labour and migration and analysing their intersections with trafficking we were able to better engage with related movements and understand lines of overlap and tension.

 


 

 

In 2015 GAATW-IS receives its main financial support from the Global Fund for Women, Women's World Day of Prayer, Dan Church Aid, ILO Department for International Development, Bread of the World, the Swiss Development Agency Cooperation and Caritas France

We are extremely grateful to our donors for their invaluable support. If members of the public or other interested parties would like to support our work, please contact the GAATW-IS at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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

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.