E-bulletin October 2016 - News from our Member Organisations
30 Years CoMensha
This year CoMensha/La Strada Netherlands celebrates its 30th anniversary. CoMensha was founded in 1986 as STV (Stichting Tegen Vrouwenhandel – Foundation against Trafficking in Women) and was one of the first NGOs that placed the issue of trafficking in women on the national and international agenda and worked to ensure better protection for victims. STV was actively involved in the development of the Dutch Aliens Act which included the right to residence permit for victims of trafficking. STV also worked to bring the issue on the international agenda and promote cross-country cooperation among NGOs that assist victims – in 1994 STV was one of the co-founders of GAATW and in 1995 it established and began coordinating the first La Strada programme for prevention of trafficking in women in Central and Eastern Europe. STV and La Strada were part of the Human Rights Caucus that, together with GAATW, lobbied states to adopt human rights provisions in the UN Trafficking Protocol in 2000. In 2004 STV became the national registration and referral point for victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands and an active player in the development of national policy on the issue. To reflect this recognition, in 2007, STV changed its name to CoMensha (Coördinatiecentrum Mensenhandel – Coordination Centre Human Trafficking).
CoMensha celebrated its 30th anniversary at a symposium in The Hague with representatives of NGOs, ministries and trade unions and in the attendance of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands. Participants at the symposium reflected back on the past thirty years and discussed the current and future challenges and opportunities in combating human trafficking in The Netherlands.
Training on Women Workers’ Health and Well-Being for Community Facilitators and Volunteers
Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA) and GAATW-IS organised a three-day health training with community facilitators and volunteers in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 22-24 September. The training focused on the main health issues faced by women migrant returnees and in raising awareness about malnutrition, reproductive health concerns and hygiene. Dr Mamata Pradhana, a health practitioner, facilitated the workshop and group exercises for 25 participants including staff from BOMSA. Our aim is for health workers to understand the key factors that may affect women’s health and to recognise the importance of their overall well-being prior to and after migration. In the group exercises, participants shared that health is a vital issue for women but often not talked about openly. On the third day, GAATW-IS led a discussion to reflect the role of community facilitators in establishing trust and safe space so women would be able to talk about these concerns within their migration experience.
Prior to the health training, BOMSA also organised health orientations and focus group discussions in the districts of Kaila and Manigonj. The aim is to map some of the key health issues faced by women in the community.
Third Latin America and Caribbean Congress on Domestic Workers: trafficking, migration, forced labour and labour exploitation
The Congress, organised by GAATW member SINTRASEDOM, was held on 15, 16 and 17 October in Santa Marta, Colombia with the participation of domestic workers from Colombia, Honduras, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Ecuador, The Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Chile and Mexico.
The aim of the Congress was to advocate, exchange experience, unify concepts and strategies and promote organisational processes that strengthen the domestic workers movement in Latin America and the Caribbean. The meeting sought to promote key organisations such as the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWFED) and the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Domestic Workers (CONLACTRAHO), to advance respect for the rights of women domestic workers, especially those who are migrants.
The Conference also aimed to analyse the relationship between trafficking and exploitation occurring within the migration of women for domestic and care work, with the goal of breaking the assumption that they are two separate and distinct issues happening in parallel.
GAATW member organisations Corporación Espacios de Mujer and Fundación Renacer participated in the Congress as representatives of the Alliance, sharing both the work of the Alliance with migrant women in Asia, as well as key issues in the sector in the region. At the same time, the conference was an opportunity for the Alliance to identify current concerns in Latin America and the Caribbean in the area of domestic work.