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

II Critical Assessment of the Implementation of Anti–Trafficking Policy in Bolivia, Colombia and Guatemala

For the second year running, Fundación La Paz, Corporación Espacios de Mujer and ECPAT, with the support of the International Secretariat of GAATW has conducted an analysis of anti-trafficking policies and services in Bolivia, Colombia and Guatemala respectively to assess the gap between what the legislation states and the services actually provided.

It can be said that legislation against human trafficking is still not effectively implemented in any of the three countries. The institutions are not fulfilling all of their responsibilities nor are they facilitating the restitution of the violated rights of trafficked persons.

Not only is there an inadequate budget allocation specifically to enforce the law, but most institutions responsible for prevention, care or prosecution are unaware of the budget available for their accomplishment.

There is also no uniformity in the collection of information, which results in a high degree of ambiguity and, therefore, a lack of knowledge about the crime and associated violations. A proper recording of trafficking cases would make it possible to classify and quantify information for the purpose of designing more suitable public policies.

One need identified in all three countries is ongoing training for specialists involved in the processes of identification, care, protection and prosecution.

Finally, it is worrisome that states generally continue to fail to link prevention strategies with public policies that deal with structural aspects, such as poverty or the guarantee of basic rights.

Download the Executive Summary

Por segundo año consecutivo Fundación La Paz, Corporación Espacios de Mujer y ECPAT, con el apoyo del secretariado internacional de GAATW, han llevado a cabo un análisis de la implementación de las políticas anti-trata en Bolivia, Colombia y Guatemala respectivamente.

Se puede afirmar que la legislación contra la trata de personas sigue sin aplicarse efectivamente en ninguno de los tres países. Las instituciones no cumplen con el total de sus responsabilidades ni se está propiciando la restitución de los derechos vulnerados a las personas objeto de trata.

No solo falta la debida asignación presupuestaria específica para poder ejecutar la Ley, sino que además la mayor parte de las instituciones responsables de acciones de prevención, atención o persecución desconocen el presupuesto disponible para la ejecución de dichas acciones.

Destaca también la falta de uniformidad en la recogida de información lo que conlleva una gran ambigüedad en la información disponible y por tanto un desconocimiento del delito. Un registro adecuado de los casos de trata permitiría tipificar y cuantificar la información en aras de diseñar políticas públicas más adecuadas.

Una necesidad identificada en los tres países es la formación permanente a las personas involucradas en cualquier nivel de los procesos de identificación, atención, protección y persecución del delito sobre el delito de trata de personas y en materia de derechos humanos.

Por último, es preocupante que en general los Estados sigan sin relacionar las estrategias de prevención con políticas públicas que afronten aspectos estructurales como la pobreza o la falta de cobertura de derechos básicos.

Descargar el Informe Ejecutivo

II Balance de la implementación de las políticas anti-trata en Bolivia
II Balance de la implementación de las políticas anti-trata en Colombia
II Balance de la implementación de las políticas anti-trata en Guatemala

No. 9 Special Issue—The Lessons of History


In the past two decades human trafficking has been increasingly termed ‘modern slavery’ and anti-trafficking work likened to nineteenth century efforts to abolish slavery. NGOs, politicians and the media make heavy use of visual tropes alluding to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, and it is often said that human trafficking is ‘modern slavery’. But are such historical references really warranted?

This issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review explores some of the histories that created and continue to shape the phenomena discussed under the rubric of human trafficking, and the contemporary discourse of trafficking itself. It highlights the ways in which simplistic analogies between wrongs past and present can hamper, rather than facilitate, efforts to secure rights and protections in the contemporary moment. Contributions from Africa, Europe and the Americas focus on the race politics of ‘modern slavery’ campaigns, the history of indentured and ‘coolie’ labour, the legacies of anti-white slavery legislation and the restrictions on labour migration that can exacerbate human trafficking. Ultimately, they reveal that more critical engagement with the histories of transatlantic slavery, colonialism and their afterlives can teach us a great deal about the forms of violence, injustice and oppression that are tolerated today in the dominant liberal world order.

See Complete Issue in PDF

Enabling Access to Justice: A CSO Perspective on the Challenges of Realising the Rights of South Asian Migrants in the Middle East

In 2015-2016, the GAATW International Secretariat undertook a project called the ‘South Asia – Middle East Access to Justice Project’ (SAME A2J Project) as part of a larger initiative, ‘Addressing Labour Trafficking of South Asian Migrant Workers in the Middle East.’ The objective of the SAME A2J Project was to identify cases in which migrant workers who had travelled to the Middle East as temporary labour migrants were trafficked, and to identify the barriers those workers faced accessing justice. The rationale for the project was a perception within GAATW that migrant workers from South Asia who were coerced, defrauded or deceived into situations of severe exploitation were rarely treated as trafficked persons and rarely received an adequate remedy.

A total of thirteen partner organisations from seven countries (Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Nepal and Sri Lanka) participated in the project. This report aims to capture one area of learning that emerged from the project: the barriers that project partners experience or observe when supporting migrant workers to access justice. Although specific barriers to justice may differ between countries, and even regions within countries, project partners identified many in common.

The report concludes with reflections on the lessons learnt by the GAATW about the obstacles to justice for migrant workers, but also for organisations seeking to assist migrant workers and the effort required to overcome those barriers. It is not intended to dissuade civil society organisations or legal service providers from working to improve access to justice for migrant workers, but rather to highlight the complexity of human trafficking, and the many challenges along the road to justice.

Download the report


See a thirty-minute video with stories of abused or trafficked Nepali migrant women which exemplify some of the difficulties with accessing justice highlighted in the report: 


Access Unknown: Access to Justice from the Perspectives of Cambodian Migrant Workers in Thailand

Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand usually do not try to pursue justice after rights violations due to a lack of trust in the police and courts, research conducted by GAATW and partners found.

Lack of information about labour and migration laws and regulations was one factor among those interviewed that made them vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking. When violations occurred they did not seek justice, either because they are undocumented and believe that this makes them ineligible for justice mechanisms or because they don’t believe they will receive a fair outcome against a Thai employer. Perceptions of what is just or fair among the migrant workers were often based on what had been agreed with a broker or employer, rather than what meets a minimum legal standard, the research found.

Interviewees spoke of lack of examples of success that might inspire their pursuit of justice - no one they knew had successfully accessed a fair resolution though the legal system. A number of workers spoke of having no other options than undertaking undocumented migration to Thailand again, despite knowing the risk of being overworked, cheated or facing physical abuse.

These are some of the main findings of our new research ‘Access Unknown: Access to justice from the perspectives of Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand’, which interviewed 59 migrant workers, men and women working in seven different industries, in Thailand and after returning home. This research aimed to examine why there is still such a significant disconnect between the currently available options in the legal system and Cambodian workers’ unwillingness or inability to practically access them.

Download the report

No. 8 Special Issue–Where’s the Evidence?


Despite increasing interest in human trafficking and related exploitation, a great deal of anti-trafficking work still appears to be based on assumptions that are not well-proven or adequately questioned. Policy formations, advocacy campaigns, concrete interventions and popular understandings of trafficking have all been accused of making exaggerated claims and resting on thin, if any, evidence. There is an almost obsessive desire to know the scale, proportion, size, major sectors and geographical concentrations of human trafficking. Similarly, the monitoring and evaluation of interventions prioritise numbers of people reached rather than any significant change in knowledge or behaviour. This focus on quantification has come at the expense of quality and a true understanding of the lives of the migrants and trafficked persons it is supposed to benefit.

This issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review explores the role of evidence, research and data in anti-trafficking work and how they influence our understanding of the issue and responses to it. Contributors examine the evidence used—or rejected—in the formation of national anti-trafficking policies in Northern Ireland, Canada and India, as well as the role of statistics, and monitoring and evaluation of anti-trafficking interventions. In the debate section, four authors take turn defending or rejecting the proposition 'Global Trafficking Prevalence Data Advances the Fight against Trafficking in Persons'.

See Complete Issue in PDF

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.