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...

CSO Statement

Civil Society statement by APMM, APWLD, ARROW, CARAM-Asia, GAATW, MFA, MMN and Seven Sisters* on the Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development 2013

May 31, 2013

About 60 representatives from a diverse group of CSOs, NGOs and Trade Unions came together to prepare for this preparatory meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, in preparation for the General Assembly UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development  scheduled to take place  at the UN General Assembly in New York in October, 2013.

We were looking forward to 3 days of informed and informative discussion and debate with member States on the issues facing migrants in the Asia-Pacific region, that would eventually form our input for the upcoming High-Level Dialogue, we are not happy with the final outcome.

Though this Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development 2013 was able to obtain a negotiated outcome, we are disappointed that the text adopted by consensus by member States failed to sufficiently locate migrants and migrants’ rights at the centre of the migration agenda.

Time and again, in the name of national sovereignty, States placed restrictions on the rights they were prepared to extend to migrants. This is a movement away from previously agreed by consensus positions and a clear breach of international human rights standards.

We will, however, continue to engage in this process and forward our recommendations to the Informal interactive hearings for the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development United Nations, New York on 15 July 2013. 

Please see the Civil Society Joint statement and the Outcome Document from the Asia-Pacific Regional Civil Society Consultation held in Bangkok from 29-31 May 2013 .

For comment, please contact:

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development

[Pranom Somwong ,+668-31887600,+601-92371300 ]

Migrant Forum in Asia

[William Gois , (+63-2) 928-2740 / 433-3508]

Background note:

The full title of the meeting was the “Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development 2013”. It was held in Bangkok from 29 to 31 May 2013.

This statement is issued jointly by Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM), Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Coalition of Asia-Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS (7 Sisters), Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM Asia), Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), Mekong Migration Network (MMN), and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA).


Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development 2013

Bangkok, 29-31 May 2013

Agenda Item 4

We wish to thank the Member States and Secretariat of ESCAP, IOM, and members of the Asia-Pacific RCM Thematic Working Group on International Migration, including Human Trafficking, for giving civil society an opportunity to share our thoughts today. Thank you,Mr. Chair.

This statement is made on behalf of civil society organisations, trade unions and migrant workers, and its recommendations are reflective of the themes elaborated in the civil society 7-point, 5-year Agenda endorsed by the Civil Society Steering Committee for the UNHLD.

We welcome the opportunity to address this meeting, and hope to continue to be able to actively partner with you on critical issues of global migration governance and concrete action in the work towards and at the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration & Development in New York in October. We appreciate the presence and willingness of the States that are here to engage in this process.

Considering that migrant workers support themselves, their families and communities; that countries of origin, transit and destination receive significant social and economic benefits from migrant workers; it is unacceptable that the international governance of migration rests outside the protection of the human rights framework.

Governments should actively prioritize ending all forms of discrimination against migrants, regardless of legal status or factors including nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation or gender identity, health and pregnancy status, or occupation.

The UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development and the post-2015 development agenda must focus on promoting decent work, including a living wage, for migrant and local workers alike. This is the only way to create shared prosperity, reduce inequalities, and dampen xenophobia. The decent work agenda must underpin all migration policies and programmes. Governments should respect the rights and the effective practice of freedom of association, which should also include worker organising and collective bargaining.

Governments must recognize that women are rights bearers and active agents in claiming their rights and contribute to just and fair development. It is imperative that an intersectional perspective on gender that establishes protections that recognize and take into account the numerous, specific risks that migrant women face and provide redress, including compensation be developed.

Governments of origin, transit and destination countries should recognize, respect and affirm migrants’ right to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, irrespective of migrant status. This should include health services for sexually transmitted infections, HIV, reproductive cancers, contraception, maternal health and safe abortion services. Governments must lift any discriminatory policies based on health status, including HIV status, pregnancy, and communicable diseases.

Governments should also prioritize occupational safety and health of migrants, and ensure safe working conditions and regular inspections of work places, including the elimination of industrial accidents and usage of hazardous or toxic materials.

We propose the establishment and strengthening of migrant-friendly, gender-sensitive and rights-based policies and mechanisms at origin, transit and destination countriesand in the international governance of migration, to ensure the following:

  • Protection of migrant workers’labour rights, including the rights to equal pay and safe and healthy working conditions, to form and organise trade unions and migrant workers’ associations, to ensure portability of social protection, to guarantee access to health services and removal of policies that discriminate on the basis of health status, and to provide paths to citizenship for migrant workers and their families;
  • Identification or creation, and implementation, of effective standards and mechanisms to regulate the migrant labour recruitment industry to prioritise the human rights of migrants;
  • Migrants become stranded in many different ways—with emergency situations being one among many scenarios that can render migrants stranded. Governments must not see the label of stranded migrants as outside the existing human rights legal frameworks, but as complementary to the human rights framework including the Refugee Convention (1951), the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (1990), and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (1961)
  • Governments should recognize the gender aspects of migration and address their impacts, and affirm women’s autonomy and protect and fulfill their rights throughout the migration process, ensuring independent migration status that provides the right to work and ensures access to redress. Governments must prevent and address sexual harassment, violence and sexual abuse in and outside of the workplace and to promote equitable access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Governments should acknowledge children and youth as rights holders, and develop policies for them in the context of migration. This should involve investing in communities in sending areas, lowering the economic and social cost of migration, and ensuring that migrant children and youth, irrespective of their migration status, enjoy the legal protection and rights as per the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international standards.
  • Establish processes to facilitate the participation of migrants, people affected by migration, civil society and trade unions, in the development of laws, policies, programmes and initiatives on migration and migrants’ rights;
  • Promote the exchange of good practice and enactment and implementation of national legislation to comply with the full range of provisions in international conventions that apply to migrants, migrant workers and their families, and refugees;
  • Reaffirm that a human rights-based framework should be the primary framework for intergovernmental governance of migration and institutionalise the participation of civil society in these governance mechanisms;
  • Integrate migration into the post-2015 development agenda in such a way as to address the financial and social contributions of migrants to development, and that protects and promotes migrants’ rights and ensures improved policy planning and coherence to make migration a genuine choice and not a necessity.

Thank you,Mr. Chair.

* This statement is endorsed by the following organisation


ACHIEVE, Philippines

AMAL - Pakistan

Arunodhaya Migrant Initiative (India)

ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC)

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)

Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA)

Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN)

Asia-Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)

Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB)

Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)

Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI)

CARAM Cambodia

Coalition of Asia-Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS (7 Sisters)

Community Development Services (CDS), Sri Lanka

Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM Asia)

Development Action for Women Network (DAWN), Philippines

Education International (EI)

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)

Global Migration Policy Associates (GMPA)

IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh

Institute for Migration and Development, Philippines

International Trade Union Confederation – Asia Pacific

International Transport Federation (ITF)

Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA), Pakistan

MAP Foundation

Mekong Migration Network (MMN)

Migrant Forum in Asia

Migrants Rights International

NIDS – Nepal

Peace Trust, India

Public Services International (PSI)

Raks Thai Foundation

St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre, Hong Kong

Tenaganita, Malaysia

Union Migrant Indonesia (UNIMIG)

Union Network International (UNI)

Workers Hub for Change


Also read: 


OHCHR Expert Consultation of Human Rights at International Borders: Exploring Gaps in Policy and Practice, 22-23 March 2012

On 22-23 March 2012, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in cooperation with the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), held an expert meeting on the subject of “Human Rights at International Borders: Exploring Gaps in Policy and Practice”. The aim of the expert meeting was to explore the human rights situation of migrants at international borders as well as the need for enhanced human rights guidance in this respect.



“Vodoo Inverso” winning entry to Rights! Art! Action!

GAATW is pleased to announce “Vodoo Inverso”, submitted by Kay Chernush, as the winning entry to GAATW’s recent art contest, Rights! Art! Action!

RAA VoodooInverso KayChernush

“With this picture I reverse the voodoo onto my trafficker.  I am not afraid anymore.”

Chernush says: “This image is part of a series of “re-imagings,” inspired by the narratives of survivors of trafficking …. The work is intended to explode the anecdotal into the universal, as in this work, which is about Courage and Hope.  Transforming the particular individual experience in a larger context empowers the woman, enabling her to see herself differently….”

Judge, Jackie Pollock (MAP Thailand), says: “The image provides a strong profile of a woman but with dangers lurking in the background; however, despite the evident threats, the woman remains strong, and refuses to be consumed by these dangers.”

The Rights! Art! Action! campaign invited creative works which depict the (often overlooked) strength and resilience women demonstrate through their labour, migration and trafficking struggles.

The campaign responded to GAATW’s concerns that almost without exception, anti-human trafficking campaigns use violent and distressing images of women’s fearful, ‘helpless’ faces and exploited, crouching bodies to draw people’s attention to trafficking, highlighting women’s vulnerability rather than women’s strength and women’s rights. 

GAATW was interested in exploring a different way forward, moving beyond images of women’s victimhood and vulnerability, to representations of strength and autonomy – qualities in many trafficked persons GAATW has met and worked with. GAATW sought to encourage a rights-based approach to anti-trafficking campaign material and to encourage others to do the same.

The campaign ran from November 2009 to June 2010 and received many unique and thought-provoking submission. Submissions were judged on:  artistic ability; commitment to the Rights! Art! Action! principles; and, usability in campaigns material.

For more information contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click here to view the Rights Art Action Gallery 

Anti-Trafficking Review




ATR Issue_2_front_cover

ISSN: 2286-7511

E-ISSN: 2287-0113


The Anti-Trafficking Review is an academic journal that promotes a human rights based approach to anti-trafficking. It explores trafficking in its broader context including gender analyses and intersections with labour and migrant rights. The Review offers an outlet and space for dialogue between academics, practitioners and advocates seeking to communicate new ideas and findings to those working for and with trafficked persons.

Each issue relates to an emerging or overlooked theme in the field of human trafficking. The Review presents rigorously considered, peer reviewed material in clear English. The journal is open access with a readership in over 100 countries. The Review is published by GAATW. Opinions expressed in articles and reviews in the Anti-Trafficking Review are the views of the authors, and not those of the editorial team, the publisher or the Editorial Board.

To download the articles, please visit:  


No 8 (2017): 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'.

Download the full issue in pdf.


No 7 (2016): Trafficking Representations
Representations of human trafficking, forced labour and ‘modern slavery’ are pervasive within media, policymaking, and humanitarian interventions and campaigns. This issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review explores the ways in which some representations erase the complexity in the life trajectories of people who have experienced trafficking, as well as those who are migrants, women, sex workers and others labelled as victims or ‘at-risk’ of trafficking.

Contributions in this issue examine visual material and narratives through which trafficking and its victims are represented in film, TV, newspapers and public discourse. The articles investigate representations in Australia, Cambodia, Nigeria, Serbia, Denmark, UK, and USA. Ultimately, this special issue highlights the fact that stereotypical trafficking representations conveniently distract the global public from their increasing and shared day-to-day exploitability as workers because of the systematic erosion of labour rights globally. Crucially, the issue also discusses positive alternatives and how to represent trafficking differently.

Download the full issue in pdf

No 6 (2016): Prosecuting Human Trafficking
Prosecuting human trafficking is widely viewed as one of the main pillars of an effective national response to trafficking. But worldwide, the number of prosecutions for trafficking and related exploitation remains stubbornly low, especially when compared to the generally accepted size of the problem. Very few traffickers are ever brought to justice and the criminal justice system rarely operates to benefit those who have been trafficked.

Issue 6 of the Anti-Trafficking Review analyses human trafficking prosecutions in different regions of the world and from a range of different perspectives. With five themed articles focusing on Russia, the United States, the Balkans and Western Europe, the issue provides important insights into the practical and policy issues surrounding human trafficking prosecutions.

Download the full issue in pdf


No 5 (2015): Forced Labour and Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is now associated, and sometimes used interchangeably, with slavery and forced labour. As this issue highlights, this shift in how we use these terms has real consequences in terms of legal and policy responses to exploitation. Authors - both academics and practitioners - review how the global community is addressing forced labour and trafficking. In 2014 governments across the globe committed to combat forced labour through a new international agreement, the ILO Forced Labour Protocol. Assessing recent efforts and discourse, the thematic issue looks at unionsstruggling to champion the protection of migrants' labour rights, and at governments fighting legal battles with corporations over enactment of supply chain disclosure laws. At the same time, authors show how regressive policies, such as the Kafala system of 'tied' visas for lower paid workers, are eroding these rights. This issue features short debate pieces which respond to the question: Should we distinguish between forced labour, trafficking and slavery?

Download the full issue in pdf

No 4 (2015): Fifteen Years of the UN Trafficking Protocol
2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Is this a time to celebrate progress or has the Protocol caused more problems than it has solved? What changes are taking place on the ground, after 15 years of building anti-trafficking into government, NGO and INGO programming? How do those who negotiated the Protocol view it now? What aspects of the Protocol’s definition of trafficking continue to be problematic or controversial? As well as reviewing legal frameworks around trafficking and related human rights abuses, this issue examines how the Protocol can be more useful in the decades ahead to people who are trafficked, as well as to women, migrants and workers who are also affected by anti-trafficking policy.

Download the full issue in pdf

No 3 (2014): Following the Money: Spending on Anti-Trafficking
Issue 3 of the Anti-Trafficking Review focuses on money trails in the anti-trafficking sector, and is the first of its kind as to date there has been no research on how much is spent combating the human rights abuses that amount to human trafficking. This themed issue looks at money trails that reveal how anti-trafficking money has changed the world for the better or for worse.

Trafficked persons do not always benefit from money flows aimed in their direction, or indeed may suffer as a result of anti-trafficking spending. In addition, politics behind anti-trafficking money abound, and recipient organisations wonder whether they should take ‘tied’ funds or funds with ideological, geographical or other restrictions. In recent years governments have rushed to spend money on a range of poorly designed initiatives in the hope of avoiding or moving out of a low ranking in the US government's yearly Trafficking in Persons Report.

Download the full issue in pdf 

No 2 (2013): Special Issue: Human Rights at the Border
What should be the role for border controls in anti-trafficking responses, if there should be one at all? Heightened border security is increasing risks in the migration process. Many people decide that despite barriers and risks they must cross a border for survival, either in terms of economics or safety. In many cases, at border crossings, it is not possible for practitioners to tell if people are being strictly trafficked or whether they fall in another migration category, yet the risks created by border systems and the violations experienced by individuals at borders are not to be left out of conversations on trafficking and of migrants’ rights more broadly.

The latest issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review includes eight peer-reviewed articles on how anti-trafficking measures play out in border zones.

Download the full issue in pdf 

No 1 (2012): Special Issue: Where's the Accountability
The ‘anti-trafficking industry’ has become big business. It has grown alongside an accountability vacuum, which has meant a growth in opportunities for intervention in this field has not translated into increased opportunities for trafficked or affected persons to voice their views or concerns on the way in which such interventions are implemented. Further it remains unclear if many of the anti-trafficking initiatives of the previous decade have had an impact on decreasing trafficking and strengthening the rights of trafficked persons.

Download the full issue in pdf 


 GlobalFunding InfoSheet_ATRIssue3

Global Funding Information Sheet
Anti-Trafficking Review
Prepared for Anti-Trafficking Review Issue 3, ‘Following the Money:Spending on Anti-Trafficking’

Anti-trafficking funding and work has mushroomed since the 1990s. Lacking is analysis of those antitrafficking funds – where they come from, who they go to, what they are meant to do, what they actually achieve and indeed whether they are needed.

Issue 3 of the Anti-Trafficking Review ( asked for contributions on the topic of funding in anti-trafficking. In preparation for this issue, we pulled together some sources of funding data with an aim to assist contributors, particularly time-strapped practitioners.

This document has two sections: Grant-making and Spending. The first lists information on funders and how much they have spent on anti-trafficking work, as defined by them. The second section on spending lists how much money has been spent on anti-trafficking projects, though there is some overlap as some organisations have not disaggregated their direct spending on projects and their indirect spending (or funding), which has gone to another organisation to carry out the work.

A supplementary excel sheet, in which we sum disparate figures from organizational websites, is also available (email the Editorial Team This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

This document is not a complete listing of all anti-trafficking funding globally. We welcome information about further data, as well as corrections to the data listed below (email the Editorial Team This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). A note of thanks is due to Mike Dottridge, Amy Klopfenstein and Ki-Hwan (Mark) Kim for assistance in this data collection.

Click here to download the information sheet.