The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) was founded in 1994 at a conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where participants were concerned about the contemporary discourse and activism around trafficking in women. The Alliance was born of a collective decision to understand the elements of trafficking from a human rights perspective, in order to improve the lives of trafficked women.
The founding of GAATW lay in the acknowledgement of the need to engage politically with the issue of human trafficking by focusing on a human rights perspective, while incorporating the voices of trafficked persons and other affected communities in policy discussions.
Over the next 10 years GAATW made significant contributions to the anti-trafficking movement. It was the first to conceptualise trafficking as both a consequence and cause of human rights violations, and to see the elements of trafficking apparent in a range of formal and non-formal sectors. GAATW's Human Rights Standards in the Treatment of Trafficked Persons (1999) and the Human Rights and Trafficking in Persons (2000) were ground-breaking applications of human rights to the trafficking context and were instrumental in expanding the concept of trafficking in the United Nations Trafficking Protocol.
Between 2001 and 2005 GAATW advocated for change at the national level to implement the Palermo Protocol, and continue as a group to review, analyse, propose, and monitor changes in the anti-trafficking scene from a human rights based perspective.
Today, the Alliance has grown into a worldwide network of over 100 organisational members and a wide community of partners and allies.
These are the basic facts. However, over the past 15 years, the history of GAATW has woven a complex and powerful tale; let us take you on the journey: