Our work in 2015
This year, the GAATW International Secretariat (IS) is continuing to focus on three key thematic areas of work: Accountability, Power in Migration and Work and Access to Justice.
The research project carried out by 17 GAATW members in the Asian, European and Latin American regions under the Accountability theme is currently being evaluated. This project looked at assistance programmes from the perspective of the trafficked person. Through semi-structured interviews, GAATW members sought out trafficked persons’ views on their own assistance work. Several research partners have carried out national-level follow-up activities and colleagues from the Latin American and Caribbean region have produced a joint report. The insights from the evaluation will help the IS and the members decide on the next phase of the programme.
The Power in Migration and Work programme currently has a South Asia focus. In conjunction with members and partners we are strengthening the capacity of community workers who interact with women migrating from India, Nepal and Bangladesh to the Middle East as domestic workers. We also work in collaboration with local partners in Chhatisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand states of India on rights to education, health and information for migrating women and girls.
We are excited to be reviving our Access to Justice programme this year with a focus on South Asia and the Middle East to enhance the rights protection of trafficked migrant workers at destination sites.
The IS will also continue to carry out its core functions such as research and training/participatory learning, communications and publications, international advocacy and alliance strengthening. Having just celebrated our 20th anniversary, this is a key moment for the future of the alliance. We have much to look forward to in the future, with so many interesting projects and new opportunities to grow our work.
Anti-Trafficking Review update
This year, GAATW’s peer-reviewed academic journal the Anti-Trafficking Review goes bi-annual! The journal has been so well received by members, academics, students and partners that we decided to start publishing two themed issues a year. In 2015, the two issues will look at ‘15 Years of the Trafficking Protocol’ and ‘Human Trafficking and Forced Labour’.
GAATW launched the Trafficking Protocol issue in April at the UN Crime Congress and the full issue can be viewed at www.antitraffickingreview.org. You can also read our press release ‘Landmark legislation on human trafficking adopted 15 years ago, but harmful anti-trafficking laws and practices persist and are set to continue’ and a news article in Reuters.
If you would like to write for the Anti-Trafficking Review, please check our calls for papers for two upcoming issues: ‘Prosecuting Human Trafficking’ (papers due 15 July 2015) and ‘Trafficking Representations’ (papers due 8 January 2016).
Goodbyes and welcomes
Between December 2014 and April 2015, we have bidden goodbyes to Jebli Shrestha, Gemma Sadler and Kate Sheill, three colleagues who had worked on research and advocacy programmes at the IS. We thank them for their invaluable contributions to the work of the alliance and wish them the very best in their future endeavours.
We are delighted to welcome Amy Testa, Katya Richardson and Marie-France Boyer at the IS. Amy is joining us as a programme officer for the Access to Justice programme and Katya and Marie-France will spend three months with us as interns to support the programme.
Amy is an attorney who was previously working on forced migration issues and refugee rights in Bangkok, Thailand, including roles at Asylum Access and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. Katya is second-year law student at Western University in Canada and is involved in a number of pro bono projects, including volunteering at a community legal aid clinic. Marie-France is a Juris Doctor student at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, Canada. She is also completing a Master of International Affairs at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson.
July will bring two more colleagues to the IS. Dr Gundi Dick will join us on secondment from our financing partner, Bread for the World. Her work will focus on organisational development and fundraising. Maria Jesus Alvarez (Chus) will be our new programme officer for the Latin America and Caribbean region.
The International Board
Earlier this year we said goodbye to International Board Member Ratchada Jayagupta, who served on our board for more than three years. We thank Ratchada for all her help and dedication to the alliance.
We also extend our warm welcome to our new International Board Members, Elaine Pearson (Australia Director, Human Rights Watch) and Professor Dr. Supang Chantavanich (Director of the Asian Research Center for Migration - ARCM). Professor Chantavanich’s work has focussed on refugees, migrant workers, and human trafficking issues. She was the first chairperson of the Asia Pacific Migration Research Network (APMRN) during 1998-2002 and a member of the Advisory Committee of the International Refugee.
Here’s a message from Professor Chantavanich as she starts her new term as an International Board Member of GAATW
‘My GAATW journey started 15 years ago when ARCM partnered with the organisation to develop an anti-trafficking curriculum. I have always been impressed by the global nature and rich resources of the alliance, and I think Thailand is very honoured to have the secretariat here. To be an international NGO based in Thailand is very exceptional. Local NGOs can benefit a lot from GAATW’s expertise in building networks and partnerships.
‘I was similarly impressed by the diversity of the movement and wealth of knowledge at the International Members’ Congress. It was amazing to have this gathering of leaders in this field from around the world. Through research, advocacy, media work and direct assistance, GAATW members are able to influence the global anti-trafficking and migrant rights agendas.
GAATW must continue to critique the anti-traffickingframework. In one case here in Thailand, a woman from Cambodia was prosecuted for trafficking her child into forced begging. This prosecution is an example of anti-trafficking measures. But, the social and economic context to these kinds of actions is largely ignored. These situations are not only about crime. They are also about survival.
‘This is where I see GAATW has a role to play. Through raising awareness and publishing critical research, GAATW can help highlight the role of public economy and its links with the human trafficking phenomenon. I am honoured to join this alliance as Board member and look forward to working on our strategy for future work.’