GAATW e-Bulletin

ISSUE 6/2013
In This Issue
Anti-Trafficking Review, Issue 3
Anti-Trafficking Review, Issue 1

Call for Papers, Special Issue Following the Money: Spending on Anti-Trafficking Deadline: 15 December 2013

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Dear Members and Friends,


Greetings from GAATW International Secretariat.


Allow us to begin with a piece of good news; Shakti Samuha an organisation founded and run by survivors of human trafficking and a GAATW member since its inception, is one of the recipients of the Magsaysay award for 2014.The award, considered by many as the Asian Nobel Prize, recognises and honours individuals and organizations in Asia regardless of race, creed, sex, or nationality, who have achieved distinction in their respective fields and have helped others generously without anticipating public recognition. The awards have traditionally been given in five categories: government service; public service; community leadership; journalism, literature, and creative communication arts; and peace and international understanding. In honouring the collective, the Magsaysay Committee has honoured all trafficked women in the world and recognised their ability to stand up for themselves.


Our congratulations to those colleagues in Nepal who believed that women can not only rise above victimhood and become survivors but also become leaders and inspire others. It was that belief which founded the collective. We also congratulate those who kept faith in the power of collectives, supported Shakti Samuha in its infancy and helped it grow. We salute the sisters who are giving their best to Shakti Samuha and helping many others like them to regain their self esteem. We are sure that the collective will grow and continue to inspire women in Nepal and elsewhere.


In other news from Asia, we note the passing of a piece of legislation in Bangladesh which if implemented, will go a long way in protecting the rights of workers in the garment sector. An important feature of this legislation is the worker's right to unionize without having to take prior permission from their employers. The law also requires that all structural changes in the factory buildings to be approved by the government.


The council of ministers in Saudi Arabia passed a law that aims to protect the rights of migrant domestic workers in the country. The law specifies the working hours, nine hours of free time daily and weekly day offs, paid vacation, timely payment of salary and penalties for both parties if the contract is violated. The law stipulates that workers would have no rights to reject the task asked by employers, they should obey employers, respect Islam teachings and "carry out the duties perfectly". The legislation appears like a double edged sword and time will tell its impacts on the lives of domestic workers.


This month we had the opportunity to meet up with some of our GAATW members in the Americas. More details are in the secretariat's update section. Our featured members for this month are SWAN from Vancouver who talked to us about their work for sex workers rights, and Proyecto Esperanza that shared with us the issues of trafficked women in Spain.


If there are any comments, information and contributions on relevant policy developments, please write to us at


Warm Regards,


GAATW International Secretariat



Third Latin American Congress on Globalisation, Trafficking and Access to Justice (16-18 July 2013 ) and GAATW Members' Meeting (19 July 2013)

Bandana Pattanaik of GAATW International Secretariat (GAATW-IS) was present at the III Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking entitled "Globalization, Human Trafficking and Access to Justice which was held in Bogota, Colombia. The event was a gathering of individuals from civil society, academia, states and international organisations with the aim to have a deeper knowledge of the issue of human trafficking. Nine GAATW members were present at the Congress. Three members from Colombia (Sintrasedon, Espacio de Mujeres and Fundacion Renacer), Cecasem (Bolivia), Ibiss (Brazil), CHS (Peru) and Brigada Callejera (Mexico). And two GAATW members from Europe - Border Woman - Sant Cugat Group (Spain) and Fairwork (Netherlands) were also there.


GAATW Members' Meeting in Bogota

Bandana was invited to be one of the plenary speakers on Networking on the last day of the Congress. She spoke about how the work to actually implement a broad definition of trafficking is just starting and how there is a lot that we still do not understand. She advocated for the need to look at labour and migration regimes that are impacting on the human rights of people. She spoke about the role of networks as spaces for discussion and debate as well as for practical case handling. And she also emphasized the need to understand things from the perspective of those who are migrating, those who have done well, those who have been abused and those who have been trafficked.


On 19th July, a GAATW members' meeting was held at the office of Fundacion Renacer to gather inputs and discuss about plans/activities of members who were present. It was also an opportunity for GAATW-IS to discuss and share the current programs of GAATW.



International Congress on Gender Violence: Intersectionalities GAATW Associate Julie Ham presented "Justifying gender violence: Demand-based approaches in anti-trafficking" at the International Congress on Gender Violence: Intersectionalities at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in O�ati, Spain. She argued that intersectionality theory presented a valuable tool in revealing the limitations and risks that 'end demand for prostitution' approaches pose for anti-trafficking efforts. She also discussed how 'end demand for prostitution' approaches often increase the risk of violence against sex workers. Her presentation drew on GAATW's BEYOND BORDERS: Exploring Trafficking's Links to Gender, Migration, Labour, Globalisation and Security, GAATW Working Paper Series 2010 and Moving Beyond 'Supply and Demand' Catchphrases: Assessing the uses and limitations of demand-based approaches in Anti-Trafficking.

Click here to find more details about the conference.



Communication Workshop with Returnee Migrant Women in Bangladesh

Communication Workshop with Migrant Returnee Women in Bangladesh On 21-13 May, 2012, GAATW International Secretariat in partnership with its member BOMSA held a communications workshop in Dhaka for women migrant workers who had returned home after working as domestic workers in various Middle Eastern countries. The workshop was held in response to one of the needs identified by the women during a series of group and one-on-one interactions between them and the GAATW team. Natasha Ahmad who was the country coordinator of the pilot project in Bangladesh and Shuktara Lal, a theater activist worked with the women during the workshop. Twenty-two women participated in the workshop in which theatre performance was used for increasing confidence, participants' comfort levels with their bodies and communication skills. Most of the women had very traumatic migration and workplace experiences. Upon return most of them had not received any opportunity for sharing their experiences with anyone. The workshop gave them a forum to meet other migrant workers like themselves who had experienced similar difficulties to what they had experienced while working abroad. They were able to learn about the problems others had faced in similar circumstances.


This short video is a collage of the workshop, some interviews taken during their training and some clips from the performance day. Click here to watch the video.



Kate Sheill, the GAATW-IS Advocacy Officer was in New York in July to attend the Informal Interactive Hearings on International Migration and Development, an important step in the preparations for the UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD), which will take place on 3 and 4 October 2013.


The Informal Interactive Hearings were a one-day event organised by the President of the General Assembly at UN Head Quarters with representatives of NGOs, civil society and the private sector. The purpose of the hearings was to provide inputs for the HLD. The report of the hearings will be one of the background papers to the HLD in October. We estimate that approximately 300 civil society groups and 80 States attended the session. In preparation for the hearings, there were two days of preparatory meetings for civil society which were attended by approximately 200 civil society participants over the two days. There was a high degree of consensus in the messages from civil society to States for the HLD - a clear demand that the international human rights framework needs to be the primary framework for the intergovernmental governance of migration.


GAATW-IS submitted a written statement outlining some of our concerns and delivered an intervention from the floor on the international governance of migration.* All the written statements for the Informal Interactive Hearings are available here.


Now we focus on preparations for the HLD itself. This is a two-day meeting at the UN in New York (more information available here). As New York will be hosting such a dynamic gathering of migrants' rights activists at this time, there will be a number of other events during the week of the HLD (30 September to 4 October), including a People's Global Action (PGA) on Migration and Development. We will share more details on that as soon as they are sent out, and more information for civil society about the HLD can be found here. Do please get in touch if you are going to be in New York for these events so that we can plan joint events or meet up while we are there.



GAATW written statement for the Informal Interactive Hearings on International Migration and Development, UN New York
Human trafficking occurs in the context of labour migration. The majority of trafficked persons are migrant workers in the informal, unorganised and unprotected sectors.


The risk of exploitation or violence neither deters migrants nor should be used to prevent migration. Instead, States need to learn from migrants' experiences to improve provisions for safe migration that benefits the migrant worker, their families and communities, and the State, as remittances contribute to the GDP of countries of origin. As the UN Secretary-General has stated, for women migrants "[i]nternational migration can be an empowering experience for women: women may leave situations where they have limited options for ones where they exercise greater autonomy over their own lives, thereby benefiting themselves as well as their families and communities." 


Instead, we often see States wrongly criminalising or otherwise clamping down on irregular migration, often in the name of preventing trafficking in persons. This is often at odds with a demand within their country for migrant labour that will, when combined with a lack of regular migration opportunities, push migrant workers into taking more dangerous routes, paying disproportionately high fees that may leave them in a situation of debt bondage, entering into work sites without good training, and will often leave them with nowhere to turn to if they face exploitation and abuse. Read on...


Statement on international governance delivered at the Informal Interactive Hearings on International Migration and Development

Action theme 4: Migration governance and partnerships

Intervention delivered by Kate Sheill, International Advocacy Officer, Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, 15 July 2013

The international human rights framework needs to be the primary framework for the intergovernmental governance of migration.  There is still resistance to and lack of knowledge that migrants, including irregular migrants, have (with just two exceptions) the same rights as citizens. It is through the human rights framework that we can address violations of migrants' rights and ensure access to justice.


Human rights-based labour standards, improved working conditions, and allowing workers to organise across all sectors, irrespective of their migrant status, will reduce opportunities for the exploitation of labour, including migrant labour. But these labour laws and protections must apply to all forms of work, including those often not covered, such as in the informal sector and sectors dominated by women workers.


Migration is a key factor in the development of countries of origin and destination - and development needs to be rights-based. The UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP) clearly places poverty eradication and development within the context of human rights.


Human rights are the common thread between all of the international cooperation frameworks we work with in our work on migration - including refugees, labour standards, trafficking in persons, women's rights, and child rights. Read on...



Although selling of sex is legal in Canada, virtually every related activity is criminalized making it unsafe and jeopardizing health and safety of sex workers, not to mention the violation of their human rights. SWAN Vancouver Society has been working to provide culturally appropriate and language-specific support, education, research, advocacy, and outreach for immigrant, migrant, newcomer and trafficked indoor sex workers.  Alison Clancey explained SWAN's works and experiences.


You have taken up the Coordinator's position since August last year but have been involved with SWAN for a long period. Can you tell us about the work of SWAN and how it has evolved over the year(s)?


In 2002, we began providing outreach to women working in massage parlors as part of a pilot project in a non-profit HIV/AIDS service organization that researched sex workers' access to healthcare and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. During the project, we recognized that the issues the women were dealing with were much broader than HIV and sexual health. The concerns that were most important were immigration, criminal matters relating to prostitution laws and exiting sex work. At the end of the project, we recognized how important it was to continue outreach and SWAN was established.


Our outreach program over the years has provided newcomer, migrant, immigrant and trafficked women engaged in indoor sex work with safer sex supplies; information and referrals to health, social, employment and legal services; and individual and systemic advocacy. We publish SWANzine (SWAN's newsletter) three times a year to answer questions that arise during outreach, provide community information and resources and update changes to laws and policies that affect indoor sex work.


A key part of SWAN's work is bringing forward the opinions of racialized women who engage in indoor sex work into public policy. In the past year, SWAN has been involved in policy change at the municipal level by expanding understandings of sex work, and in doing so the dialogue has become more inclusive of the complexity and diversity of the women we support. To provide context to the reforms to sex work policy and approaches currently being undertaken, the 1990s and early 2000s saw the serial murder of a number of street-based survival sex workers in Vancouver. Realizing this tragedy can never occur in our city again, a number of stakeholders including sex workers, sex work support organizations, provincial and municipal governments, law enforcement and community organizations among others have come together to develop and implement strategies that will make Vancouver a safer and healthier city for sex workers. While Canada's prostitution laws are legislated at the federal level (currently these laws are being challenged at Canada's highest court for being unconstitutional), there are a number of policy changes that can be made at the municipal level to provide safer work spaces and increased access to community information, resources and supports. SWAN is pleased to be part of this progressive change in the City of Vancouver. Read the full interview



A recent research suggested that Spain is the second highest country to have the largest number of victims of human trafficking in Europe. The relative affluence of Spain in comparison to its neighbouring countries makes it an attractive destination for migrants, and a flourishing base for human trafficking. Proyecto Esperanza in Spain discusses its effort to provide assistance to victims of trafficking and their advocacy effort to strengthen the anti-trafficking mechanism that ensures protection of rights of the victims in Spain.


As a destination country for migrant workers from Latin America, Eastern Europe and African countries, how do you see the role of recruitment agencies in Spain? Have you handled cases of 'debt bondage'? If so, what actions were taken to help the victims?


Recruitment agencies do not have a big role in trafficking or migrating into Spain. Women usually rely on more informal channels to come to Spain.


There are many cases of debt bondage in Spain. You can see trafficking victims that can freely move around, they are not confined to any place, and there are no visible signs of control over them. However, they are controlled and enslaved by the large debt, such as 45,000€, that they are forced to pay back to their traffickers often times through their prostitution or other services. In many cases, trafficking victims normalize these debts, seeing them as the price to pay to migrate to Spain, the price to their freedom. They think they can pay it off and then they will be free. However, with debt bondage, these debts often fail to decrease - they keep mounting up or after a victim has paid the full amount, the traffickers increase the amount owed. This critical point, when women realise that the debt can never be paid off, drives them to escape as they no longer see the end of their exploitation.

We work with women to explain and inform them that these "debts" which puts them in a situation of debt bondage is crime and considered not only human trafficking but also slavery according to the United Nations Convention on the Abolition of Slavery. However, they must make the decision to stop paying the debt when they are ready. It must be on their time, not on ours. Usually for the women, it is fear for the safety of their family back home that impedes them from taking action and drives them to continue paying the traffickers. Members of the trafficking criminal network often live near the victim's family or know where the family lives. They threaten harm on the family. We do not pressure them to press charges or stop paying the traffickers until they are ready. Whatever their decision, we respect it.


The legal framework protecting trafficking survivors is still complicated and difficult for survivors to access, so we serve to bridge the gap that exists between trafficking survivors and the law. We help them access their right to apply for residency and work permits, compensation, recover passports confiscated by the criminal networks, collaborate with law enforcement authorities, obtain witness protection mechanisms, etc. Read the full interview



PRECARIOUS LIVES: Experiences of forced labour among refugees and asylum seekers in England, University of Leeds 2013

This research uncovered evidence that refugees and asylum seekers are susceptible to forced labour in the UK. The findings are based on a two-year study by academics at the Universities of Leeds and Salford, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The research explored experiences of forced labour among 30 people who had made claims for asylum in England, supplemented by interviews with 23 practitioners and policy-makers. Download the report


Caught at Sea - Forced Labour and Trafficking in Fisheries, ILO, 2013

This report examines recent literature on forced labour and human trafficking in the fisheries sector, with the focus on fishing vessels engaged in commercial marine fisheries. The report considers institutional and legal frameworks as well as multi-stakeholder initiatives that have the potential to impact fishers' safety and working conditions. Download the report


Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Organ Removal in the OSCE Region: Analysis and Findings, OSCE, 2013

The paper is based on reports of cases in the OSCE region where formal criminal investigations have taken place, or which have been fully prosecuted. This makes the paper the first based on a qualitative analysis of actual cases. The findings confirm that many countries in the OSCE region are affected by this form of trafficking.


The paper also calls attention to the link between trafficking for organ removal and organized crime, the role that corruption plays in facilitating organ removal, and the transplantation networks, which often include administrators and medical professionals.


It also suggests a series of steps to prevent this transnational crime, which is headed by international brokers connected with transplant surgeons and local organ recruiters. Among others, the paper recommends to review national legislative frameworks to ensure they are adequate to punish all those who are part of the criminal networks; expanding international co-operation to pursue criminals across borders; working with the medical community to prevent unethical behaviour; and co-operating with civil society to better address the physical, psychological and legal needs of victims. To download the report, go to:


International Migration, Health and Human Rights, IOM, 2013

In this publication, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) explore the multifaceted health and human rights challenges that migrants face and report on recent developments in this area. The aim of this publication is to provide all stakeholders with a reference on key health and human rights issues in the context of international migration. It is meant to provide inspiration to policymakers to devise migration policies and programmes that are guided by public health considerations and human rights imperatives, with a view to protecting the human rights and improving the health of both migrants and the communities in which they live.

Click here to download


Training Manual for Women's Empowerment, Medica Mondiale, 2013

This manual was developed and tested with training groups in the framework of medica mondiale Liberia's engagement in a two-year process of conceptualizing the content, testing it in the field, getting feedback from participants, and adjusting it accordingly.


This manual deals with the empowerment of women and girls and was conceived for the specific context of South East Liberia.


The training process is meant to train community volunteers / community activists (on its basic level) and counselors, reproductive health counselors, community advocates / paralegals and peace trainers. The fourth module is only for trained helpers who are at a more qualified level. Some modules are also suitable for non-helping staff, including management, administration and finances, logisticians, etc., namely awareness on gender and gender-based violence (module 2), and parts of the modules on self-reflection and self-care (module 1) and on ethics (module 6). Download the manual



19th session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group

Submissions on Albania, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, C�te d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Norway, Portugal, and Qatar should be sent through the on-line UPR submissions system by 16 September 2013.



Association for Human Rights and Women's Rights in Development (AWARD), formerly WORD, is a non-government organisation based in Bangkok, Thailand and a member of GAATW. AWARD promotes the establishment of grassroots women's groups and ensures that women have understanding and knowledge of the socio-economic and political challenges. 


AWARD is looking for an intern who will support the group's anti-trafficking project in Thailand. This role would involve helping local staff in project implementation, documentation and reporting.


For more information, please send your CV and letter to

"Participation is a fundamental principle of human rights and must be central to the rights-based approach to migration. Civil society must be able to access and participate in the intergovernmental spaces of migration governance - and it has been good to hear affirmation of that from several 

States today. However, too often migrants are absent from the discussion on their rights.

We need to do more to achieve the genuine participation of migrants, regardless 

of status, in migration policy development and implementation."


Kate Sheill, GAATW

Statement on international governance delivered at the

Informal Interactive Hearings on International Migration and Development  

New York, 15 July 2013  

Human Rights at home, abroad and on the way

The GAATW e-bulletin is sent out to all member organisations of the Alliance as well as to many of its friends and sister NGOs worldwide. The e-bulletin is published once a month. A Spanish version goes out to the GAATW REDLAC mailing list  after the English version. Sometimes additional follow up information and/or reminders are also sent via email to member organisations. Primarily a tool for communication between the International Secretariat and the Alliance members, the e-bulletin aims to cover a broad range of topics although trafficking related issues remain its special focus. We also use this e-bulletin to inform members about upcoming events and provide regular updates about the Secretariat. We strongly encourage members and friends to send us their input to the e-bulletin at   If you do not want to receive this e-bulletin please send us a message at and we will delete your address from the list. Please note that we have not inserted the advertisements that may appear on this message. GAATW International Secretariat is not associated in any of these ads over which we have no control.