Action against traffic in human beings for
the purpose of sexual exploitation:
the role of NGOs
Strasbourg, 29-30 June 1998
Action against traffic in human beings for
the purpose of sexual exploitation:
the role of NGOs
Strasbourg, 29-30 June 1998
Steering Committee for Equality
between Women and Men
Council of Europe Publishing
THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe is an international
organisation with a European vocation, which at present has 41
European member States, all of which are pluralist parliamentary
democracies1 (this figure includes the 15 member States of the European
Union). It is the European continent's largest intergovernmental and
parliamentary forum. Its seat is in Strasbourg (France).
The objectives of the Council of Europe are:
- to work for the closer union of the more than 800 million
women and men of Europe;
- to safeguard and develop democracy and human rights;
- to undertake co-operation in the broadest sense between the
member States in the fields of human rights (including the
media), education, culture, social questions, health, youth, local
and regional authorities, environment and legal affairs.
The consideration of equality between women and men, seen as
a fundamental human rights, is the responsibility of the Steering
Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG). The
experts who form the Committee are entrusted with the task of
stimulating action at the national level, as well as within the Council of
Europe, to achieve effective equality between women and men. To this
end, the CDEG carries out analyses, studies and evaluations, defines
strategies and political measures, and, where necessary, frames the
appropriate legal instruments.
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein,
Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania,
Russian Federation, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, "The
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Opening Address by Hans Christian KRÜGER
Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.........................................................15
Address by Mr Kunio SHIMIZU, Consul General of Japan, Strasbourg..........................19
Keynote speech "The role and functions of NGOs working in the
field of action against traffic in human beings"
by Ms Lily BOEYKENS (Belgium)..................................................................................21
Keynote speech on the work of the Council of Europe in the field of
action against traffic in human beings for the purpose of sexual
by Ms Caroline MECHIN (France) ...................................................................................27
Speech on the prevention of traffic in human beings through legislation:
the Ukrainian experience
by Ms Nina KARPACHOVA (Ukraine)...........................................................................31
Theme a: NGOs' participation in action against trafficking in human beings for the
purpose of sexual exploitation: the objectives, role, tasks and main obstacles
Report by Ms Lin CHEW (Netherlands)...........................................................................37
Report by Mr Vincenzo CASTELLI (Italy) ......................................................................47
Report by Ms Irene KUROLENKO (Ukraine) .................................................................53
Speech on the current situation of trafficking in human beings in Asia/Japan and NGOs'
activities to eradicate trafficking
by Ms Hiroko HASHIMOTO (Japan)...............................................................................59
Theme b: Implementation of NGO action at national and international levels:
evaluation and prospects
Report by Ms Véronique GROSSI (Belgium)...................................................................83
Theme c: Prevention and awareness-raising: the role of NGOs
Report by Ms Elvira NIESNER (Germany) ......................................................................95
by Ms Georgina ASHWORTH (United Kingdom)...........................................................99
by Ms Jane DINSDALE, Deputy Director of Human Rights .........................................115
List of Participants ...........................................................................................................119
The International Seminar on action against traffic in human beings for the
purpose of sexual exploitation: the role of NGOs was held from 29 to 30 June 1998 at the
Palais de l'Europe in Strasbourg.
There were over 150 participants from both national and international NGOs, all
working on the issue of traffic in human beings. They came from 36 member States and 3
observer States of the Council of Europe. The list of participants appears at the end of this
The Seminar was organised by the Steering Committee for Equality between
Women and Men (CDEG), in the context of its work in the area of non-governmental
organisations. Following the International Seminar on the strategies, role and functions of
NGOs working for the promotion of equality between women and men held in Strasbourg
in 1996, the CDEG decided to organise every two years a seminar devoted to NGOs in
order to reinforce co-operation.
As the theme for the first activity in this framework, the CDEG decided to choose
action against traffic in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The
Committee has been dealing with this topic for several years and the action of NGOs in
this particular area is essential and complementary to that of the Council of Europe.
Three specific themes were chosen:
a. NGOs' participation in action against trafficking in human beings for the
purpose of sexual exploitation: the objectives, the role, the tasks and main
b. Implementation of NGO action at national and international levels:
evaluation and prospects
c. Prevention and awareness-raising: the role of NGOs
Three important keynote speeches were presented, setting the framework for
discussions. Ms Lily BOEYKENS (Belgium) spoke on the role and functions of NGOs
working in the field of action against traffic in human beings, Ms Caroline MECHIN
(France), Chair of the CDEG, gave an account of the work of the Steering Committee for
Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) and Ms Nina KARPACHOVA, National
Ombudsman of Ukraine, presented the Ukrainian experience of working on the prevention
of traffic through legislation.
Reports to launch debates in the working groups were presented by: Ms Lin
CHEW (Netherlands), Mr Vincenzo CASTELLI (Italy), Ms Irene KUROLENKO
(Ukraine), Ms Véronique GROSSI (Belgium) and Ms Elvira NIESNER (Germany). Ms
Hiroko HASHIMOTO (Japan) presented the current situation of trafficking in human
beings in Asian/Japan.
The General Conclusions were presented by the General Rapporteur, Ms Georgina
ASHWORTH (United Kingdom).
The Seminar was chaired by Ms Ludmila BOJKOVA (Bulgaria) and Ms Caroline
MECHIN (France), respectively Vice-Chair and Chair of the CDEG.
Representatives from national NGOs working directly with the victims of
trafficking for sexual exploitation were able to discuss, to compare experiences and to
create or reinforce networks. Detailed discussions were held on the role of NGOs in the
field of prevention, victim assistance, implementation of specific measures and awareness-
The participants acknowledged the need to stimulate a political debate on this
burning topic – one which is directly relevant to the protection of fundamental human
rights – and tabled several recommendations addressed to NGOs, governments and the
Council of Europe.
Monday 29 June 1998
8 h 30 - 9 h 15 Arrival and registration of participants at the Palais de l'Europe
9 h 30 - 12 h 30 PLENARY SESSION (Room 1) (Open to the Press)
Chair: Ms Ludmila BOJKOVA (Bulgaria), Vice-Chair of
the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men
OPENING SESSION (Open to the Press)
Opening address by Mr Hans Christian KRÜGER, Deputy
Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Address by Mr Kunio SHIMIZU, Consul General of Japan,
Strasbourg, Representative of the Japanese Government
10 h 00 - 11 h 00 Keynote speech on the role and functions of NGOs working in
the field of action against traffic in human beings by Ms Lily
followed by a discussion
11 h 00 - 12 h 00 Keynote speech on the work of the Council of Europe in the
field of action against traffic in human beings for the purpose
of sexual exploitation by Ms Caroline MECHIN (France),
Chair of the Steering Committee for Equality between Women
and Men (CDEG)
followed by a discussion
12 h 00 – 12 h 30 Speech on prevention of traffic in human beings through
legislation: the Ukrainian experience by Ms Nina
KARPACHOVA (Ukraine), National Ombudsman
followed by a discussion
12 h 30 - 14 h 00 Lunch break
14 h 00 - 15 h 00 PLENARY SESSION (Room 1) (Open to the Press)
Chair: Ms Caroline MECHIN (France), Chair of the CDEG
Reports presented by three Rapporteurs on:
THEME A: NGOs' participation in action against
trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual
exploitation: the objectives, the role, the tasks and main
i. Report presented by Ms Lin CHEW (Netherlands)
ii. Report presented by Mr Vincenzo CASTELLI (Italy)
iii. Report presented by Ms Irene KUROLENKO (Ukraine)
15 h 00 - 18 h 00 Discussion in two Working Groups on theme A
WORKING GROUP 1 (Room 2)
Chair: Ms Elsa THORKELSDOTTIR (Iceland), member of
the Bureau of the CDEG
WORKING GROUP 2 (Room 1)
Chair: Mr Eberhard DESCH (Germany), member of the
Multisectoral Group on Action against Trafficking in human
Beings for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation (EG-S-TS)
16 h 15 - 16 h 30 Coffee Break
18 h 30 Vin d'honneur (The Gallery, Palais de l'Europe)
Tuesday 30 June 1998
9 h 00 - 10 h 15 PLENARY SESSION (Room 1) (Open to the Press)
Chair: Mr Justice Joseph FILLETTI (Malta), Vice-Chair of
the Multisectoral Group on Action against Trafficking in
Human Beings for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation (EG-S-
Speech on the current situation of trafficking in human
beings in Asia/Japan, and the NGOs' activities to eradicate
trafficking, by Ms Hiroko HASHIMOTO (Japan), Associate
Professor, Jumonji University – followed by a discussion
Reports presented by two Rapporteurs on:
THEME B: Implementation of NGO action at
national and international levels:
evaluation and prospects
Report presented by Ms Véronique GROSSI (Belgium)
THEME C: Prevention and awareness-
raising: the role of NGOs
Report presented by Ms Elvira NIESNER (Germany)
10 h 15 - 10 h 30 Coffee break
10 h 30 - 13 h 00 Discussion in two Working Groups on Theme B and C
WORKING GROUP 3 (Room 2)
Theme B: Implementation of NGO action at national
and international levels: evaluation and
Chair: Ms Violeta NEUBAUER (Slovenia),
member of the CDEG and the EG-S-TS
WORKING GROUP 4 (Room 1)
Theme C: Prevention and awareness-raising: the role
Chair: Ms Athanasia TSATSAKOU (Greece)
13 h 00 - 15 h 00 Lunch break
15 h 00 PLENARY SESSION (Room 1) (Open to the Press)
Chair: Ms Agnete ANDERSEN (Denmark), Chair of the
Multisectoral Group on Action against Trafficking in Human
Beings for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation (EG-S-TS)
CLOSING SESSION (Room 1) (Open to the Press)
Presentation of the General Conclusions by the General
Ms Georgina ASHWORTH (United Kingdom)
Closing address by Ms Jane DINSDALE, Deputy Director of
By Mr Hans Christian KRÜGER
Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Mr Consul General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Council of Europe today.
For many of you, this is a new experience, and I am very happy to see so many
organisations represented in this room. Co-operation with national NGOs is also an
innovative approach for the Council of Europe, and something which we aim to
This is the second time such a seminar is organised by the Steering Committee
on Equality between women and men, which intends to organise regular encounters
with national NGOs on topics of common interest.
Your associations have a key role to play, not only in the organisation of
democratic society, but also in the implementation and safeguard of democratic values
– of which equality between women and men is an integral part.
On this occasion I should like to pay tribute to the Steering Committee on
Equality between women and men for taking the initiative to hold this seminar. I would
also like to thank the Japanese authorities for their important financial contribution to
Why devote this seminar to the fight against trafficking in human beings for
the purpose of sexual exploitation? There is only one reply to that question: because we
are confronted with an alarming and intolerable phenomenon.
The alarming thing about trafficking is how quickly it expands. Statistics may
be unclear, but the trend is not: trafficking has existed for a long time at global level,
and for some years now, networks have been set up with the sole aim of “exporting” as
many people as possible to Western Europe.
The profits are enormous, the risks are limited, the sentences are light. We are
facing a booming global business which exploits the precarious and economically
difficult situation of a part of the European population.
The repercussions of this phenomenon are of course extremely serious, both
for the individual and for society:
As far as the individual is concerned, it is well known that most of the victims
are women – they are also getting younger and younger – and that the violations of
their rights are intolerable. Trafficking constitutes a flagrant breach of fundamental
human rights – a violation of a person’s liberty and dignity. This affects the very
foundation of Human Rights: the equal dignity of all human beings. In my view, it is
important to deal with today’s subject in this perspective, because the very essence of
human rights – and particularly women’s human rights – is at risk.
At society level, trafficking clearly constitutes a modern form of slavery and
puts into question the rule of law and the fundamental democratic values. It results in
the violation of domestic as well as international laws. For the countries concerned, be
they the countries of origin, transit or destination for the victims, the existence of
clandestine networks closely linked to organised crime creates an element of
instability, weakens immigration policies, intensifies nationalist sentiments and ethnic
tensions. In the long term, the democratic security of our continent is threatened.
It is time to act! The international community – and European institutions in
particular – have recently started to mobilise. With its mandate for the protection of
human rights, the Council of Europe launched an in-depth discussion on the subject at
the beginning of the 1990s. Several actions were undertaken and they showed the
necessity to adopt a multisectoral approach. Trafficking in human beings must be
fought against on several fronts.
As can be seen from the work already done, the search for solutions is not
easy. We must overcome several problems, such as:
· the absence of an accepted definition at international level and thus of clear
· the lack of statistical data and detailed information;
· the large geographical scope of the phenomenon, which makes counter
measures very difficult;
· the ideological divergences in dealing with prostitution or the sex market,
which inhibit progress.
To overcome these problems, the support of the specialised NGOs is essential
because they have the best knowledge of the distress of victims and of the disastrous
effects of a commerce that reduces human beings to the state of consumer products. We
know that there are not many NGOs working on the spot with the victims of
trafficking. We know that they are often isolated and sometimes threatened.
That is why co-operation - and mutual assistance - among specialised NGOs is
very important. The intervention of the core Human Rights NGOs, still too rare, would
also render the fight against trafficking more effective.
The objective of this seminar is, above all, to provide the basis for a real pan-
European discussion on your role and objectives, and to provoke a fruitful exchange of
information and experiences.
Trafficking is an international problem which cannot only be dealt with
effectively at national level. The adoption of national measures to reduce trafficking
can result in simply moving the traffickers from one country to another. International
co-operation is necessary to deal with the problem. All the actors need to co-ordinate
their efforts. This seminar is an occasion to reinforce the links between your
organisations and the Council of Europe.
I should also like to insist on the importance of studying - in-depth - the
causes of trafficking and sexual exploitation. It is important to go beyond the diverging
approaches relating to prostitution in order to deal with the motivations of the principal
As far as the traffickers are concerned the facts are clear: their aim is to get
rich and their actions constitute a crime.
But we should not forget about the motivations of the clients of the sex
market. No measure will be absolutely effective without looking at the crux of the
problem: the clients.
Madam President, let me finish by expressing my hope that your work will
bear fruit. The Council of Europe attaches great importance to the fight against
trafficking in human beings. A follow-up will be given to this seminar through the
work of a multi-sectoral Group of Specialists on a draft recommendation from the
Committee of Ministers to member States. Perhaps we could also envisage more
ambitious objectives, such as an international convention. Proposals for future action
by the Council of Europe could emerge from your debates and we await them with
I wish your seminar every success. If the number of participants is anything to
go by, I am sure it will have positive results. Thanks to activities such as this, we will,
little by little, push forward the principle whereby human rights are the rights of all
human beings – both women and men.
Thank you for your attention.
by Mr Kunio SHIMIZU
Consul General of Japan, Strasbourg
Representative of the Japanese Government
Madam Chair, Mr Secretary General, Ambassador, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to open this NGO Seminar with Mr Hans
Christian Krüger, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The
Government of Japan is very glad that it could make a financial contribution to this
important seminar. I would like to add that the Japanese expert, Professor Hashimoto,
is here to give you the overview of the situation in Asia. Allow me here, Madam
Chair, to explain briefly the Japanese participation in the activities of the Council of
Europe in the field of equality between women and men. Japan was given permanent
observer status to this prestigious international organisation in November 1996 and
soon after that we started to take part in the meetings of the Steering Committee for
Equality between Women and Men (CDEG). In addition to the participation of my
office in Strasbourg, Mrs Adima, the former Japanese representative to the UN
Commission on the Status of Women, and one of the most prominent figures in the
field of women's rights in Japan, came all the way from Japan to attend the 14th
meeting of the CDEG last October. She also participated in the 4th European
Ministerial Conference on equality between women and men held in Istanbul last
November. These Conferences and meetings have been excellent learning
opportunities for my country since Japanese society, although it is in the process of
rapid and radical change, can still be characterised as a male-oriented one.
This Seminar, "Action against traffic in human beings for the purpose of
sexual exploitation: the role of NGOs", is of very particular importance for both Europe
and Japan. Unfortunately, Asia is known as a big market for traffic in human beings
for sexual exploitation and Japan is one of the destinations in Asia. My Government is
making efforts to deal with this, but it does not seem to be very easy. It is also a sad
truth that such traffic is now spreading worldwide, and that Central and Eastern Europe
is becoming a place for concern. I believe, therefore, that it is high time for Europe and
Asia to co-operate in their fight to combat this global phenomenon. The other reason
why this NGO Seminar is significant is that the role of NGOs is essential to tackle this
problem - without the grass root information and sound criticism from NGOs, as well
as their selfless involvement, governments could not deal with this kind of issue
properly, effectively and without delay.
Tomorrow morning, the special guest from Japan, Mrs Hashimoto, Associate
Professor of Jumonji University, will make a presentation on the role of NGOs in
eradicating trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Asia
with special reference to Japan. I am certain that you will find Asian experience useful
Once again, I would like to express my pleasure that my country is taking an
active part in this Seminar and I hope it will be a great success.
THE ROLE AND FUNCTIONS OF NGOS WORKING IN THE FIELD OF
ACTION AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS
Lily BOEYKENS (Belgium)
In the seventies, at the beginning of the second wave of feminism, women were
opposed to and even afraid of power, especially in the political and economic fields.
Having been oppressed for so many years they thought every form of power as well as the
means to acquire it were dirty. Since, women have learned that if they do not actively
participate in power structures, they will never reach their ultimate goal of gender equality.
Women's organisations and NGOs in general have realised that they will only be
successful if they lobby the power structure itself. At this moment, women are still
underrepresented in decision-making bodies. However, keeping in mind that for several
years Catherine Lalumière has been Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, that
within the EU we now have 5 women commissioners and that in the UN system several
women have recently been appointed to top positions, we are hopeful and confident that
these women leaders will contribute to the empowerment of women and gender equality.
After 30 years women still fight under the banner of equal rights and equal
opportunities. But new issues have been added to the agenda, as for instance the combat
against all forms of violence against women in the family and in society. Having more
focal points to deal with, NGOs have more work on hand and more responsibilities.
So they have the duty to better organise themselves. More and different skills are
required in management, making use of modern technologies and efficient research
methods and promoting the exchange of exact and reliable information. Of course this
entails more human and financial resources.
The Council of Europe insists on collaboration between intergovernmental
bodies, national authorities and NGOs. Indeed the role of and the collaboration with
governmental and intergovernmental bodies is often important, if not essential. NGOs
often find themselves in an awkward position when working with their governments,
especially if they receive official financial support. Yet their freedom of speech and of
action and their independence must be guaranteed. Even if the policies of governments
and NGOs do not always match. Still we must recognise that the accountability and
responsibility towards "the people" differ according to the actor.
NGOs for their part have no objections to collaborating with intergovernmental
organisations. As a matter of fact they need their support not only because these
organisations provide a forum on important and specific items, but also because they act as
a communication channel for valuable information. In this regard I would like to point out
that intergovernmental bodies are often more progressive than some national governments.
Intergovernmental bodies can bring about changes in mentalities and attitudes of national
power structures. Declarations and plans of action, resulting from long and arduous
consultations with representatives of civil society and governmental bodies commit
national authorities to take appropriate measures and put them into practice. But this often
takes several years, so the lobbying of NGOs is very important during the interval. Also
when binding texts, conventions, covenants or treaties are prepared, NGOs have a role in
amending and completing the draft texts.
At this point however I want to state that even if it is essential to establish
international covenants, national legislation and enforcement procedures, it is not enough
to seek changes in law alone. With regard to the issue of this seminar, experience has
shown that official action alone will not eradicate trafficking in human beings in its various
forms. Attitudes and mentalities must also change.
To that end concerted action is needed on the part of governments,
intergovernmental organisations, NGOs and civil society at large. Today no doubt all
these actors are aware that this extreme form of violence against women deserves indeed
an urgent response.
In 1993, following the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by
the World Conference on Human Rights, the UN General Assembly adopted the
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. We, as NGOs have the
responsibility to see to it that this UN Declaration soon results in a Convention. The
Declaration itself is already a very useful and workable instrument, recognising violence as
an issue of inequality and discrimination against women. This Declaration defines
violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to
result in , physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats
of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or in
The Beijing Conference recognised that gender violence impairs or even nullifies
the enjoyment of women and girls of their human rights, and as such necessarily limits
their ability to choose in every area of their private as well as public lives. Knowledge
about the causes and consequences, as well as the incidence of violence against women
have greatly developed in the last twenty years.
Everyone has a contribution to make to a global society which no longer tolerates
gender violence. Society at large should not only give strong support to the victims but
must also address the issue of male violence in a comprehensive and realistic way in order
to change attitudes and mentalities. NGOs should try to create a sense of public
responsibility for gender violence. Both the State and the whole community should
assume responsibility for eliminating gender-based violence and be held accountable if
they do not.
Many strategies and recommendations to combat violence against women have
been formulated in several documents produced by the Council of Europe and by the
United Nations. The UN Commission on the Status of Women which is the monitoring
body of implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, undertakes each year the
review of some of the 12 critical areas of concern dealt with by the Beijing Conference.
While discussing the area violence against women during its last session this year in
March, the Commission stressed the need of an integrated and holistic approach in order to
combat violence (see Document E/CN6/1998/CRP 5). The discussions were largely based
on the reports of the Special Rapporteur on Violence, Mrs. Coomaraswamy. Her very
courageous recommendations were a source of inspiration for the agreed conclusions
adopted by the Commission. Here again NGOs have a task and a preoccupation. We
should know and analyse the existing texts issued by intergovernmental bodies on violence
and trafficking of women, so that we can act in a professional way.
We have to examine the legal value of these texts, both in our own country and in
the countries where we intend to plan actions. In the case of actions combating trafficking
these countries are both the countries of origin and of destination. NGOs have the
primordial task to lobby and to urge their governments and legislators not only to ratify the
international conventions, but also to refrain them from formulating reservations,
especially when these reservations impair the meaning and objectives of these
conventions. Even countries which have a very good report concerning the respect and
implementation of human rights, very often fall short in the ratification of certain human
The European Human Rights Convention includes a complaint procedure, which
allows individual complaints as well as complaints by groups of individuals and/or NGOs.
This is a very important achievement of the Council of Europe. Indeed, within the UN
legal system this possibility does not exist for all human rights instruments. Referring to
the two UN International Covenants adopted in 1966, a special optional protocol was
immediately added to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, allowing
for individual complaints. Many difficulties have arisen and discussions still continue on a
similar protocol for the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
for which up till now no provision exists for seeking redress.
Today we reflect upon a special and global form of infringement on human rights
of women, namely trafficking for prostitution. In co-ordination with NGOs the Council of
Europe should foster specific legal measures in the countries of origin and the countries of
destination of trafficked women, possibly also in countries of transit.
In collaboration with its member States and NGOs, the Council of Europe should
define strategies to combat "trafficking".
Special mechanisms could include :
· the introduction of measures, including witness protection programmes, to ensure
that victims feel safe and protected when making complaints and are confident of
a response from the justice system;
· establishing and supporting legal aid to encourage complaints and facilitate
actions of NGOs by legislative amendments and resource provision;
Caring for the relief and the rehabilitation of victims :
· NGOs should lobby to obtain from importing countries the penalisation of all
offenders whether their offences were committed in their own or in a foreign
country. A few states have already accepted such extraterritorial penal laws to
combat international crime and trafficking in human beings.
NGOs should :
· Introduce and invest in comprehensive public awareness campaigns, such as
"zero tolerance" which portray violence against women as unacceptable;
· Encourage strong images of women and of men as co-operative, sensitive and
crucial actors in preventing violence against women, and discourage media
portrayals and expressions of popular culture that glamorise gender-based
violence against women;
· Create programmes to encourage behaviour change in perpetrators of violence
against women, including rape, and monitor and assess the impact and effect of
In collaboration with research centres NGOs should encourage the collection of
data and statistics on the economic and social costs and consequences of violence against
women and identify all laws relevant to combating violence against women.
A most important task for NGOs consists in lobbying their national governments
in order to contribute and approve together a European legal document within the
framework of the Council of Europe. Violence against women deserves indeed an urgent
and collective response of the Member States of the Council of Europe.
The Council of Europe should not only prepare and adopt a declaration to combat
violence, which results in a moral obligation for the Member States, but agree on a
convention compelling the Contracting Parties to change their laws and to develop strong
and effective mechanisms to combat violence. To this binding document a complaint
procedure should be added. This would not only facilitate the work and the lobbying of
NGOs but also protect victims and witnesses, ensuring not only their safety when they
make complaints but also their confidence in the response from the justice system. The
best interests of the victims should be a primary concern in all actions concerning them.
To conclude I would like to take an example from my own experience.
I was president of the International Council of Women (ICW) from 1988 till
1994. At present I am still member of the board as Advisor on UN affairs. The ICW is
actively involved in prevention-oriented projects aimed at combating trafficking in women
It is our belief that an important measure of prevention is to provide women and
children in sending countries with information about the risks of exploitation. To that end
we seek the collaboration of NGOs in the target country as they play an important role in
this respect with their knowledge and experience of local conditions through their contacts
with the high-risk groups of the population.
We have already carried out a pilot project in the Philippines. As essential part of
this project we produced a film in the local language with actors and witnesses from within
the country. The film "Laruan" was conceived as a documentary drama on the trafficking
of children and child prostitution in the Philippines. The docu-drama is mainly intended
for school-age youngsters, for their parents and other adults. The film "Laruan" has been
distributed through local channels as NGOs, schools, etc. It has been sponsored by
UNICEF, UNFPA and the Belgian King Baudouin Foundation.
The success of this film resides mainly in the fact that no accusations about
whatsoever (or whoever) are uttered. Moreover we do not impose nor even suggest which
issues should be dealt with in the approach of the target groups. This freedom and
responsibility is left to the trainers of the specific audiences.
At present we are working on a second project in the same field which is located
in Romania. The breakdown of the national economic and political system in Romania, as
in so many central and eastern European countries since 1989, has caused an alarming rise
in the trafficking in women and children from this country.
Romanian women's organisations were involved in the preparations of this
project. They had an important input as the project will take into account national
Our aims are threefold :
· prevention, by providing women and children with information on the risks of
trafficking and exploitation;
· social reintegration, by giving support to victims of trafficking and helping them
to return to a normal life;
· solidarity, by helping to set up a NGO network in Romania which activities
would focus on both prevention and assistance.
Three important Romanian NGOs have formally agreed to work in partnership
with the ICW. Several other Romanian organisations will contribute one way or the other
to the project. We are very happy about the fact that we have received letters of intent of
support from members of parliament. This will be very useful for further lobbying at a
During the first phase of the project we want to organise training seminars for
Romanian grassroots workers and NGO leaders who will act as our links with the target
I hope this concise information has given you an idea of the activities of ICW in
combating violence and trafficking of women.
Caroline MECHIN (France)
Chair of the Steering Committee
for Equality between Women and Men
Secretary General, President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Several months ago, in October 1997, the Heads of State and government of
the 40 Council of Europe member States met in Strasbourg. On the occasion of that
Second Summit, in both the Final Declaration and Action Plan adopted, they
reaffirmed their attachment to the basic principles that have guided the Council’s
activities for almost half a century, adapting them to the new Europe that is taking
shape and to the changes in society to which it must respond.
Principles and aims such as the development of a freer, more tolerant and
fairer European society based on the common values of freedom of expression and
information, cultural diversity and the equal dignity of all human beings, social
cohesion, respect for human rights and the consolidation of democracy all conflict with
traffic in human beings.
Since such traffic makes use of the lives and bodies of men and women in
situations of poverty or extreme vulnerability, it denies humanity itself. Individuals are
reduced to goods at the hands of organised international networks.
This problem is unfortunately not new.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the changing social structures in
western Europe together with the problems of migration from the countryside to the
cities and maladjustment to new lifestyles made it difficult for individuals to integrate
into the urban environment. In many countries, this went hand in hand with an increase
in prostitution and the development of what was referred to as “the white slave trade”.
The international community then turned its attention to the issue, and the first
international conference was organised in Paris in 1902.
The economic and social transformations that have taken place on the
European continent over the past ten years, together with the difficult period of
economic transition in central and eastern European countries, have led to a spectacular
increase in the major trade represented by traffic in human beings, which particularly
concerns women and, above all, very young girls.
It is obviously difficult to obtain precise figures with regard to this problem.
Surveys by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) show, however, that in
European Union countries almost 500 000 women from central and eastern Europe are
victims of traffic. While the oldest among them may be no more than 25 years old,
most of these girls are between 15 and 18 years old. In order to escape poverty and an
uncertain future, they place their hopes in misleading offers of jobs in the West or
marriage proposals through catalogues, only to find themselves dispossessed of their
identity papers at the hands of a sexual exploitation network.
Traffic is certainly the most extreme form of violence perpetrated against
women. It denies the principle of equal human dignity and equal rights for women and
men, which are, however, affirmed and guaranteed in our states’ international and
national legal instruments.
I shall mention only the main reference texts here.
Firstly, the United Nations texts: the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, which prohibits any alienation of the human being; the 1949 Convention for the
Suppression of Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others;
and, more specifically, the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of
Discrimination against Women, Article 6 of which provides that “States Parties shall
take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in
women and exploitation of prostitution of women”.
The 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms, which is the Council of Europe’s main convention-based
standard, guarantees certain fundamental rights which may be considered to be violated
by traffic for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Thus, Article 3, concerning torture
and inhuman or degrading treatment, Article 4, concerning slavery, servitude and
forced or compulsory labour, Article 8, concerning respect for private and family life,
and Articles 10 and 12, concerning freedom of expression and communication and the
right to found a family, could doubtless provide scope for applications to the European
Court of Human Rights.
The rapid development and extent of the problem of traffic have prompted
several Council of Europe member states to modify their national legislation so as to
simplify punitive measures against networks. I shall also mention action by the
European Union, which has taken the form of joint activities and programmes in the
areas of prevention and police co-ordination, run in conjunction with central and
eastern European countries.
For several years, the Council of Europe and, more specifically, the Steering
Committee for Equality between Women and Men, have concentrated their activities
on promoting initiatives that help to establish and fuel debate by combining preventive
and punitive aspects, give the issue a higher profile and publicise it.
Violence and its ultimate realisation in the form of traffic in women are the
current priorities of the CDEG. More generally, Council of Europe action comprises
two essential aspects. The first consists of informing those concerned (states and
NGOs, but also media professionals) and making them more alert; the second entails
standard-setting work through the drafting of recommendations.
Awareness-raising and prevention efforts by the various partners follow on
from the initiatives taken almost ten years ago, among which the seminar on organised
traffic in 1991 established lines of enquiry and already highlighted differing approaches
to, and definitions of, the concept of traffic in human beings.
With regard to visibility and awareness of the problem on the European
continent, the questionnaire on traffic drafted by the first group of specialists made an
undeniable contribution to developing an overview of existing legislation and action
taken by the member states.
As well as generating discussion, the action plan drawn up by Ms Hirsch
outlined the practical aspects necessary to the implementation of measures by the
states, the main partners in guaranteeing the safety of their nationals, in order to
discourage and penalise traffic. Protection of witnesses, the granting of exemptions for
certain offences and the social treatment and reintegration of victims are still being
discussed and will undoubtedly be addressed over the next two days.
The non-governmental organisations that you represent have an essential role
to play in addition to, and in support of, action by the authorities. Although the state
has sole responsibility for eradicating traffic, the necessary conditions can only be
fulfilled in partnership with civil society. NGOs dealing with incidents of violence, but
also communication professionals and particularly those working in the new media,
whose techniques provide traffickers with fresh opportunities, have a duty of care.
A seminar for media professionals will consequently be organised in the next
few months in order to raise awareness and generate debate in official circles.
As for the Council’s standard-setting work, without reiterating the provisions of
the only binding legal instrument, the European Convention on Human Rights, referred to
earlier, it takes the form of recommendations aimed directly at the governments.
Recommendation 1325 of the Parliamentary Assembly on traffic in women
and forced prostitution in Council of Europe member States, adopted last year, invites
the member states to approve all aspects of a policy aimed at combating traffic in
Lastly, a group made up of several Council of Europe steering committees is
currently drawing up a draft recommendation which considers, inter alia, the question
Out of all the points mentioned - the effectiveness and use of national and
international legal instruments, prevention for minors, protection and reintegration of
victims and action aimed at those without whom such trade would not exist, the clients
- which do you, the NGOs, see as essential tools in breaking down this wall of silence?
The discussions initiated over the next two days between associations from
eastern and western Europe will undoubtedly lead to new forms of co-operation.
Allow me to conclude by mentioning an important moment in the history of
This year France celebrated the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.
We owe that abolition to an Alsatian, Victor Schoelcher, who not only gave
substantial assistance to the “Society for Improvement of the Fate of Women”, but also
had the decree abolishing slavery in French colonies adopted by the Republic in 1848.
Nearly 50 years earlier, in 1789, the inhabitants of Champagney, a small
village in north-eastern France, asked the King in their register of grievances to give
slaves their freedom.
Today’s village takes the form of Europe. Let us make the conclusions of this
seminar the register of grievances, as it were, of this other kind of slavery: traffic in
PREVENTING TRADE IN PEOPLE AT LEGISLATIVE LEVEL: THE
EXPERIENCE OF UKRAINE
Address by Ms Nina I. KARPACHOVA
National Ombudsman of Ukraine
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of Ukraine, and on my own behalf as National Ombudsman of
Ukraine, I should like sincerely to greet all the participants in today's Seminar, directed
against traffic in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
When I was elected as a parliamentarian of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, a
very important task was given to me. In fact, I personally set myself a task: to work
out a law preventing trade in people in Ukraine. The law should not only serve as a
punitive instrument directed against traders in "living goods", but could be a preventive
measure in fighting against trade in people as well. You may know that before March
1998, when changes in the Criminal Code of Ukraine were introduced, the efforts of
law enforcement bodies to prosecute traders in people had no legislative basis.
It took Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine four years to pass criminal legislation
establishing liability for trade in people. Formerly, as the Deputy Head of the
Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, I was occupied with the problem of the
illegal adoption of Ukrainian orphans, including internationally, and then these issues
turned out to be connected with trafficking in Ukrainian orphans.
At that time, Ukraine had no legislative basis to prevent trafficking in
While studying the problem, connected with illegal actions on adopting
Ukrainian orphans, one could not help but be confronted with such problems as
trafficking in women. We came to the conclusion that trafficking in women and
trafficking in children are components of such transnational crime as trade in people.
The UN recognises trade in people to be a brutal violation of human rights and one of
the forms of present day slavery. Even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
whose 50th anniversary is celebrated this year, already proclaimed the prohibition of
the slave trade in all its forms.
Let us recall the general history of the issue. Even before the establishment of
the UN, a number of international Conventions, directed at ending trafficking in
women (1904, 1910, 1921, 1933) had already been adopted. The UN Convention on
"prohibiting trade of people and exploitation of prostitution by third persons" was
adopted in 1949, in other words, there appeared an international legal basis preventing
trafficking in women.
The national legal system of Ukraine recognises primacy of international law
provided that the conventions are properly ratified by the Parliament of our country.
After this, they constitute an integral part of national legislation. But due to the fact
that, during all these years, legal regulations of international conventions were not
applied in judicial practice, I and my colleagues came to the conclusion that we would
not be able to solve this problem until criminal liability for trade in people was
established in national legislation. I had a meeting with Anita Gradin, of the
Commission of the European Union on trafficking in women. We studied the relevant
experience of such states as Belgium and Germany. These countries have already
passed legislation, establishing criminal liability for trade in people. My concept was
not to establish special criminal liability for trafficking in children in isolation from
criminal liability for trafficking in women.
In the "sex business", as a rule, women from the age of 14-15 are exploited.
In accordance with the UN International Convention on "The Rights of the Child" any
person under 18 is considered to be a child. We came to the conclusion that the best
model for Ukraine, taking into account our national peculiarities and taking into
consideration international experience, is the model of criminal liability for trade in
people in general, in other words from the very beginning to introduce a gender-
The Parliament of Ukraine, on 24 March 1998, almost unanimously voted for
the law, which I drafted. It voted not only for the law, but it voted against that
disgraceful fate which many of our young women have already experienced.
I should like to mention that social and economic as well as political crises in
Ukraine have resulted in mass unemployment. Now only 11.5 million jobs out of 23
million are occupied. The share of unemployment among women constitutes more
than 80%. Usually, women are the first to be dismissed.
The last seven years in Ukraine have been marked by a fourfold decline in the
GNP, a 2.5 fold reduction in industrial production and more than a 50% decrease in
agricultural production. The "Shadow Economy" makes up almost 50% of the GNP.
The demographic situation is deteriorating dramatically. Over the past 7
years, the population of Ukraine has decreased by 2 million, as a result of the migration
rate and the death rate being high. Despair and poverty make thousands of our citizens
look for a job abroad.
According to information from the IOM, 1 million 400 thousand Ukrainian
women aged 18-25 have no job, and form the so-called risk group, i.e. potential victims
of the sex trade. Four hundred thousand women with the mediation and help of
different firms went to work abroad, more than 100 thousand are exploited in the
sphere of the sex business in those receiving states.
The fate of those workers who go abroad turns out difficult and often tragic.
Lately, very often, cases are reported about the detention of those of our women who
went abroad as tourists or as workers but were later forced into prostitution in awful
conditions of lawlessness, violence and sadism.
Girls in entertainment institutions are mocked both physically and morally.
They may be bitten, left without food or forced to serve from 20-25 clients per day.
There are some cases where they were simply killed or tied to radiators in cells for 1
person or even gang-raped by a group of men. Besides, other sadistic methods of
compulsion were used, including drugs. All these facts I have learned directly from
our girls after visiting prisons in such countries as Turkey, Israel, etc.
Ukraine, owing to its geopolitical location and the "transparency" of southern-
eastern borders turned out to be a state of "living goods" from East to West and from
North to South. Besides, Ukraine is a "donor" state. First of all, Ukrainian girls as
"living goods" are used in Germany, Israel, Belgium, Netherlands, Turkey, Greece,
USA, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and even in Africa, the Arab Emirates, China and the
other states. According to the information of consular offices of Ukraine, more than
6000 Ukrainian women have been "exported" to Turkey, 3000 to Greece and almost
1000 to Serbia.
The circle of trade embraces main routes of international transportation, for
example highways in Warsaw, Berlin, Budapest and Vienna. It is very difficult to
evaluate the real volume of trafficking in women, because this industry is illegal.
There are no fundamental investigations in order to give more or less accurate
information to compare trafficking in women with the purpose of sexual exploitation
with other forms of exploitation.
Taking into account great demand, large profits and minimum risk, criminal
groups of different levels expand their activities in this field. During the last five years,
the most influential and well-organised international criminal groups have started
participating in trafficking in women in Ukraine. According to the information
available, Ukrainian criminal groups control the prostitution markets in Hungary and
Austria. In June 1997, one of the bosses of the Ukrainian mafia was arrested on the
border between Italy and Austria. He, along with Albanian criminals, supplied women
to Italy, where they were forced into prostitution.
We co-operated closely with Interpol and according to information supplied
by them, organised criminal groups had strengthened their position in the states of
destination as well as in the states of origin of trafficked women – subject to the trade.
This is used for the enlargement of other criminal activities: trade in drugs, weapons
and money laundering. It is to be noted that, while drugs and weapons can only be sold
once, a woman's body can be sold repeatedly. Some observers indicate that world trade
in people brings to the persons who control it more than 7 billion dollars worth of
Thus, the question arises why, while traders in drugs and weapons are
punished severely, do the traders of people in most countries in the world bear no
liability and why are they not punished at all? Until recently, the same situation existed
in Ukraine, but now the Ukrainian parliament has at last passed legislation on trade in
This law is the first attempt to bring national legislation into conformity with
international legal standards, and to take into account national peculiarities of
transnational crime against Ukrainian women.
I should like to draw your attention to the fact that, for the first time in
Ukrainian legislature, the concept of "trade in people" has been defined. The Criminal
Code states that both open and secret possession of a person connected with or without
his/her legal or illegal movement across the border of Ukraine, with or without his/her
consent, for further sale or other transaction (with the purpose of sexual abuse, misuse
in pornographic business, involvement in criminal activity, adoption of children with
the purpose of commerce, use in military conflicts as well as exploitation of his or her
labour) entails criminal liability.
Actions envisaged in the first paragraph of this article are punishable by
deprivation of freedom for a period of 3-8 years with or without confiscation of
The second paragraph of the law concerns actions carried out by a number of
persons, either repeatedly or previously planned by a group of people with the misuse
of his or her official position or actions performed by a person who holds a victim in
financial dependence or other sort of dependence. Such offences are punishable by
deprivation of freedom for the period of 5 to 8 years with or without confiscation of
Paragraphs 1 and 2 of this law deal with actions leading to serious and severe
consequences or actions performed by an organised group connected with illegal
trafficking in children abroad or failure to return them to Ukraine (one cannot but
recollect the case of 56 children transported from Ternopil to Chicago in 1992 and left
there). The concluding paragraph of the law establishes criminal liability for
trafficking in children or failure to return them to Ukraine with the purpose of
acquiring organs or tissues for transplantation or for forcible donor contribution. These
actions are punished by deprivation of freedom for the period of 8-15 years with
confiscation of property. There is no alternative. All property as well as all profits in
accordance with the third paragraph of the law will be confiscated.
Dear friends, I gave you a general idea about our national legislation against
trade in people, and we consider this to be a positive development of legislation in the
fight against such phenomena as traffic in human beings. The next step is its
implementation. Clearly, we expect law enforcement bodies and, without doubt,
bodies of the judiciary, to implement directly legislative regulations on punishment of
those criminals who are engaged in the slave trade.
Undoubtedly, we rely on a probable future European Convention on the
Prevention of Trafficking in Women on the territory of Europe. It is important that this
Convention is opened for accession by not only the member States of the Council of
Europe, but also by non-member States.
Existing European Conventions, ratified by Ukraine, constitute very important
legal instruments for bilateral and multilateral relations. Among them are the European
Convention on Human Rights, the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in
Criminal Cases, the European Convention on the Extradition of Offenders, the
Convention against Money Laundering, Search and Usurpation of profits by criminal
means. Ukraine also supports bilateral and multilateral relations and is party to
bilateral treaties with some countries, first of all with the countries of CIS on legal
assistance in criminal cases. In general, 14 countries already have such relations with
Ukraine. All these foster an appropriate legal background for further action.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Ukrainian Ombudsman is vested with the responsibility of carrying out
parliamentary control over the implementation of legislation in the sphere of protecting
human and citizen's rights and freedoms. In spite of the short time that has passed
since I was elected National Ombudsman (only 2 months), I have already determined
that one of my priorities would be to prevent trade in people, in particular women and
children. The machinery for implementing such control will include the Co-ordination
Council under the National Ombudsman on these issues which will unite efforts of the
bodies of state power, law enforcement agencies as well as national and international
NGOs. Women who become victims should understand that they will not always be
able to protect their dignity and honour through the judicial branch of power. So the
National Ombudsman is the non-judicial structure for the protection of human rights
and freedoms. Even today we have appeals from women who have become victims of
traffic in Turkey, Israel and the Arab Emirates who appeal to the National Ombudsman
and receive certain assistance.
Another component of the mechanism that the Ombudsman may use in
preventing trade in people is its annual report to Parliament. In addition, the
Ombudsman has the right to prepare and submit Special reports. A first such Special
Report of the National Ombudsman to be made to the Parliament of Ukraine will be
dedicated to the issue of preventing trade in people, constituting an integral part of
national security in Ukraine.
Considerable work on implementing legal regulations of national legislation
and application of international and European standards is still lying ahead. But we
should realise that only through the united efforts of the Government and NGOS will
we be able to change the system of values and overcome the existing way of thinking.
Thank you for much for your attention, and I wish all participants of our
Forum fruitful work!
Law of Ukraine
Introduction of changes into the Criminal Code of Ukraine
Article 124: Trade in People
Open or secret possession of a person connected with his or her legal or illegal
removal across the border of Ukraine with or without his or her consent or, without
such a removal, for further sale or other transaction with the purpose of sexual abuse,
misuse in pornographic business, involvement in criminal activity, getting a person into
a debt bondage, adoption of children with the purpose of commerce, use in military
conflicts, exploitation of his or her labour, is punished by deprivation of freedom for
the period of 3-8 years with or without confiscation of property.
The same actions carried out towards an under-age person, a number of
persons, repeatedly and previously planned by a group of people with the misuse of his
or her official position, or the same actions performed by a person who holds a victim
in financial dependence or other sorts of dependence, are punished by deprivation of
freedom for a period of 5-8 years with or without confiscation of property.
Actions given in Parts 1 or 2 of this article, performed by an organised group
or connected with the illegal removal of children abroad or failure to return them to
Ukraine, or with the purpose of acquiring victims' organs or tissues for transplantation
forcible donorship, or if they led to severe consequences, are punished by deprivation
of freedom for a period of 8-15 years with confiscation of property.
Law adopted by the Parliament of Ukraine on 24 March 1998
Entered into force on 16 April 1998
REPORT ON THEME A: NGOS' PARTICIPATION IN ACTION
AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS FOR THE PURPOSE OF
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION: THE OBJECTIVES, THE ROLE, THE TASKS
AND MAIN OBSTACLES ENCOUNTERED
By Ms Lin CHEW (Netherlands)
Example: STV - Foundation against Trafficking in Women, represented
by Ms Lin CHEW
The Netherlands was probably one of the first countries in Europe where
specific action was undertaken to address "trafficking in women" by an NGO.
I was one of the small group of women who pioneered the work (starting in
1982) which resulted in the Foundation against Trafficking in Women (STV), officially
constituted and funded by the Dutch government in 1987, and have been involved in
action against trafficking in women since then.
Looking back over the last 15 years, three phases can be discerned in the
organisational as well as ideological and strategic development of STV. In describing
these phases, I hope to make clear the objectives and tasks which STV set for itself. In
concluding, I will discuss the questions which STV and other "anti-trafficking
activists" ask themselves about their role and function in action against trafficking.
Phase I. Pioneering Strategies (1982-1987):
The first essential step was to get the issue on the political agenda in the
Netherlands. The time, 1982, was opportune: the Ministry for Social Affairs had
organised a Study Conference to gather the opinions of women's organisations across
the board as part of the process of formulating State policy guidelines to combat gender
violence in the Netherlands. The group participated in the Conference and succeeded in
getting the Ministry to commission an official investigation into trafficking in women
into the Netherlands for prostitution.
In 1985, the Report of the investigation mentioned above was published,
entitled "Investigation into the nature, global scale and channels through which women
are trafficked into the Netherlands". Although the researchers (Buys and Verbraken)
could not find any statistics to indicate the scale on which trafficking into the
Netherlands was taking place, because no one had been addressing the issue
systematically until then and there were no records in police or court files, the Report
concluded that "trafficking in women is definitely not a marginal phenomenon; ....it
transpires in a clearly criminal sphere, whereby deception, coercion and violence are
used to transport women to the Netherlands, and to bring them into prostitution and
keep them in prostitution. The victim is in a situation of exploitation, in violation of all
basic human rights and of the right to sexual liberty, physical and emotional
This Report signified political recognition of the seriousness of the issue, as a
violation of the right of women to self-determination, and paved the way for the
institution of a non-governmental organisation which would co-ordinate the various
aspects of action to combat trafficking in women. STV - The Foundation against
Trafficking in Women - started work in 1987 with the broad objective of doing
everything necessary to combat "traffic in women" and with the following tasks:
To set up victim assistance services,
To inform the public
To participate in developing and influencing public policy.
It is significant to note that almost simultaneously, the movement for
prostitutes' rights started in the Netherlands, resulting in the formation of the "Red
Thread", an organisation of prostitutes and ex-prostitutes which advocates and works to
achieve the interests and rights of prostitutes in the Netherlands. This led, right from
the beginning, to a delicate balancing of "anti-violence" and "pro-rights" strategies,
both of which are based on the principle of self-determination: recognition of the right
to choose to work, implies the right to refuse to work in prostitution, which has
remained up to today in the Netherlands. Throughout the years, STV and the Red
Thread have consistently collaborated in advocacy and lobby activities to participate in
public discussions on national policy and legislation which affect prostitution and
"trafficking". Internationally, prostitutes' rights organisations and advocates expressed
strong objections to "anti-trafficking" policies and legislation which, they claim,
invariably work against prostitutes, instead of against the violence and coercion on the
worksite. Up to now, the common struggle in the Netherlands has been to achieve the
decriminalisation of prostitution businesses, so that the regulation of prostitution can
be achieved under civil and labour regulations, instead of criminal laws.
An event which, at that point, served as an impetus and learning experience
for formulating local strategies, and which opened the first channels for international
contacts and co-operation was the "Global Feminist Workshop to Organise Against
Traffic in Women", organised by Kathleen Barry and Charlotte Bunch, in Rotterdam in
1983. (Report: by Barry, Bunch, Castley, 1984). Already then, all the various
"manifestations" of violations of human rights of women were identified and discussed,
including the trafficking in women for work as domestics, trafficking for marriage and
trafficking for prostitution, and plans were made for work at all levels.
Phase II. The First 5 years (1987-1992):
STV, legally constituted and funded in 1987, decided that the first necessary
step was to build up a strong national programme. The issue was complicated and
action had to be taken at various levels; most important of all, the need was felt to
establish direct contact with women who had been victimised in order to gain insight
into their real needs and issues, and as much as possible, to facilitate their speaking up
for their own rights.
At that time, in the Netherlands as in most countries, trafficking in women and
minors was simply defined as unlawful and punishable. In the Dutch Penal Code, the
maximum sentence for trafficking was 5 years. This legislation had been in existence
for nearly a century, and trafficking was typically equated with "bringing a person into
prostitution", the crime of trafficking was not precisely defined and there were no
guidelines as to what the punishable elements were; thus, as mentioned earlier, there
were very few cases listed under "trafficking in women" in police and court files.
Litigation was thus one area where concrete action could be taken; legal
proceedings against traffickers would serve 3 purposes:
the victim could obtain some sense of redress if the trafficker was convicted;
creating precedents would help in clarifying the issues involved in trafficking
and lead to more effective detection and prosecution of trafficking
this could be a very concrete manner to keep the issue in public awareness and
on the political agenda.
The problem was how to encourage and to enable women to press charges.
Most women we talked to were afraid of reprisals and absolutely afraid that news of
their predicament would reach their families back home. At the same time, foreign
women found working in prostitution by the Aliens Police were simply being evicted
and sent back to their countries without any investigations being made into how they
had got into the business in the first place. Needless to say, they did not even get time
to recover, much less to consider pressing charges.
So the objective in this phase was to refine the national instruments for
addressing trafficking in women at the level of legislation and litigation, by concretely
aiming at the following:
To obtain a ruling under the Aliens Laws to prevent migrant women who may
have become victims of trafficking from being deported before investigations
have been done.
In August 1988, a special ruling - "paragraph B22" (now "B17") - was
inserted in the Dutch Aliens Law, which stated: "at the least suspicion of trafficking, a
woman should be allowed time to consider pressing charges. When she has done so she
should be allowed to stay in the Netherlands until the whole judicial process has been
completed." This was necessary in order to encourage women to actually press charges,
which in turn would build up jurisprudence in prosecuting cases of trafficking. It was
also necessary in order to allow women time and safety to recover from their bad
experiences, and to consider their options for the future.
In 1993 this provision was extended to witnesses who were willing to testify
for the prosecution in cases of trafficking.
To sharpen the judicial definition of "trafficking", in order to facilitate
prosecution of traffickers.
In 1989, the Attorney-General's office formulated a new definition which
states that a person is guilty of traffic in persons when he
Forces another person into prostitution by means of (1). violence; or (2). the threat of
violence; or (3). abusing the ascendancy (authority) derived from actual relationship; or
(4). misleading another person (deception); or when he
b. Undertakes any action under such circumstances which he or she knows or
could reasonably suspect, may bring the other into prostitution.
The following explanation was added:
"Abuse of ascendancy derived from factual relations is assumed if the prostitute is in a
situation which is not equivalent to the normal conditions for an independent prostitute
in the Netherlands".
This definition emphasised the core elements of coercion and violence, in the
crime of "trafficking" and introduced the element of the "dependency" of the victim-
survivor on the defendant as a probable basis to assume that trafficking has taken place.
Later, another qualification was added: that of "transporting a person across borders".
In 1994 the relevant article in the Dutch Penal Code (art. 250ter) was changed
to include this definition. The maximum sentence for trafficking was raised from 5 to 6
years. In cases involving minors, severe physical violence and organised trafficking the
maximum sentence is 10 years.
The success of these campaigns was due to the fact that two women - from
Indonesia (Adek) and the Philippines (Nena) - who had been trafficked into prostitution
in the Netherlands in the early 80's bravely filed charges and persisted, in the face of
slanderous character attacks and intimidation from the traffickers. Their cases were
exemplary: Adek's case illustrated the difficulties that victims of trafficking faced if
they were to be sent home immediately, Nena's case showed the reluctance of the
judiciary to prosecute trafficking, and the difficulties of successful litigation based on
the then inadequate definition of trafficking. They spoke before Parliamentary
committees, the media and at meetings. The publicity and political value generated by
these cases were crucial for the first successes achieved in the field of government
The 1993 extension of the "B22(B17)" provision to include witnesses was
obtained after an intense lobby campaign to prevent a prostitute from Colombia, who
had reported a case of trafficking, from being deported. She had gone to the police
when she could not stand seeing her Polish colleagues being physically assaulted and
coerced, and in return she was locked up in prison and threatened with immediate
This illustrates the importance of self-representation by those directly
In 1992, STV evaluated its work and structure, in the light of a number of
disturbing trends in the implementation of the new policies.
Dutch policy on "trafficking" remained intertwined with that on prostitution;
but the dividing line was immigration policy. While there was a perspective that
prostitution businesses could be nationally decriminalised and locally regularised, this
would mean that women from non-EU countries would never be allowed to work
legally in prostitution. This would mean that those who did would disappear into an
The over-riding emphasis on detection and prosecution of traffickers and lack
of flexibility towards other aspects of the needs of migrant women in prostitution raised
questions about the role and function of STV: STV seemed to be fulfilling the
undesirable role of taking care of "victims" of trafficking/witnesses for the prosecution
for the Ministry of Justice, while having nothing to offer women who wanted to either
remain working in prostitution freely, or in any other job. Indeed, under the initially
apparently humane B17 ruling, women qualified for assistance and a temporary stay
only as victims and witnesses for the prosecution. After everything was over they were
sent back to where they had started from.
In spite of these negative trends, STV decided that there were still margins for
action, especially in the light of new insights gained from the field. More and more
"signals" were received, that the violence and coercion and violation of the right to
self-determination which constituted "trafficking" was not inherent in the work-site of
prostitution, but was also evident in cases involving domestic work and commercially
contracted marriages through untrustworthy agencies.
These trends had to be further researched and strategies found to address
them. At the same time, the funders were demanding that the assistance services
offered by STV should integrated into the mandate of the regular social welfare
Based on the above, STV decided that it could best continue as a critical, but
effective centre for action against "trafficking", which would be flexible and able to
extend its concern and influence through an extensive network of social and
professional institutions and individuals in the civil society. Its general strategy would
combine elements of anti-violence programmes and pro-rights campaigns, based on the
direct work with the women concerned; referring them to public and private
institutions for assistance; as much as possible supporting them to speak up
for themselves. STV functions as a national reporting centre to collect all case
and other relevant information
co-operation with others addressing related issues or working in similar fields,
at policy and practical levels.
continuing analysis and evaluation of the field in order to renew and influence
Phase III: Prevention and launching into European and International arena.
"Prevention" as a concept requires some discussion. While there is
considerable confusion and mystification surrounding the concept of "trafficking"
itself, it is never clear what one exactly means by "prevention" and how prevention
strategies should be focused. In general the objective is to prevent victimisation of
women migrants by "traffickers". STV has also responded to the era of "prevention" by
collaboration with diverse organisations in countries of origin, mainly in Central and
East European countries to implement activities aimed at "prevention" through
information and education, as well as offering assistance to returning women. STV is
at the moment co-ordinating the third "La Strada" project, aimed at information and
prevention of trafficking, with counterparts in Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and
After building up an effective national organisation, STV was ready to
participate in building up a strong international lobby to influence policies at European
and international levels. Although we had kept considerable international contacts since
the beginning of STV, and participated in important European and international
conferences, the pressures of daily work did not allow more consistent follow-up
In 1990, a European Conference was organised in collaboration with the
Rainbow fraction of the European Parliament, but it was only in 1993 that international
work was structurally programmed, beginning with participation in the World
Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, June 1993. STV joined in the global campaign
for the recognition of women's rights as human rights, which was tremendously
Along with all other forms of violence against women, trafficking is
specifically mentioned in the `Vienna Document and Programme of Action', adopted
by the World Human Rights Conference in June 1993. Paragraph I/18 states:
"Gender-based violence and all forms of sexual harassment and exploitation,
including those resulting from cultural prejudice and international trafficking
are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person, and must be
An essential aspect of the success of this lobby was the recognition that
"trafficking", because of the core elements of coercion and deception, constitutes
violence against women, and consequently, violation of the human rights of the
women concerned, and NOT prostitution per se.
In December 1993, the Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against
Women by the U.N. General Assembly, and in 1994, the UN Commission on Human
Rights appointed the Special Rapporteur on Violence in Women, in whose mandate
"forced prostitution and trafficking" is included as one of the issues to investigate.
At the end of 1993, STV launched an International Project, utilising the
preparatory events leading up to the Fourth World Conference on Women as strategic
lobbying moments. The objectives of the project were to extend the international
network, identify partners working from the same principles of respect for human
rights, in order to form a really strong lobby for pro-rights measures to prevent and
In 1994, STV participated in the launching of the Global Alliance Against
Traffic in Women (GAATW), in October 1994, in Chiangmai, Thailand, during an
International Workshop organised jointly by the Foundation For Women in Bangkok,
the Women and Autonomy Centre in Leiden and the Women Studies Department of
Chiangmai University, where 75 women activists, social workers, researchers, policy-
makers, jurists and civil servants met to evaluate their work and formulate new
strategies. The participants, coming from 22 countries and representing some 40
NGOs, recounted experiences of women trafficked within southern regions, as well as
to western/northern countries concluded that national governments, in both sending and
receiving countries play a significant role in exacerbating the situation by:
Promoting "migrant labour export" without any regulations or supervision to
protect the rights and welfare of the workers;
Neglecting to secure the rights and protection of particularly women migrants
in their respective states, thus rendering them dependent on `third parties' and middle-
Denying women migrants opportunities to work in the formal, regulated
sectors by upholding repressive immigration and migrant labour laws.
In November 1994, STV participated in the International Conference on
Trafficking in Persons jointly organised in the Netherlands by the Department of Law
of International Organisations of the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands Institute of
Human Rights and the Centre of Human Rights of the University of Limburg. Forty-
one experts from all over the world discussed measures, within the framework of
Human Rights, to combat the traffic in persons. The most important (new) conclusions
of the Conference, which reiterate most of the conclusions of the conferences
mentioned earlier, and with which STV is in full agreement, are:
- the traffic in persons is not only for purposes of prostitution; any form of forced
labour in the formal and informal sphere should be eliminated;
- an international standard should be developed to secure the protection and well-
being of trafficked persons;
- the various international legal (gender neutral) human rights instruments offering
points of reference to combat traffic in persons should be applied and
strengthened. The most relevant ones are article 6 and 19 of CEDAW, the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights
of the Child, relevant ILO Conventions (those concerning migrant workers' rights,
forced labour, freedom of association), the European Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the European Social Charter as well
as other texts prepared within the Council of Europe;
- the usefulness of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery should
be reviewed and, if appropriate, the working group should be strengthened;
- the adequacy of the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and
of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949) in the fight against traffic in
persons should be assessed. As the only Convention dealing explicitly with
trafficking it has proven to be ineffective for the simple fact that we are seeing
today a dramatic increase instead of decrease of the problem it is meant to address.
It is also no longer adequate to address the contemporary situation, since it does
not define trafficking in persons and does not address contemporary manifestations
of trafficking in women.
The successful lobby of STV and GAATW at the UN World Conference on
Women in Beijing is reflected in the relevant texts of the Platform for Action. (Section
I. par. 230(n) and Strategic Objective D.3, par. 130(a-d).
The positive elements in these paragraphs are that states are called upon to use
human rights instruments, which give a better guarantee that measures based on these
principles will be more respectful of the rights of the women concerned. There is
recognition that there are other manifestations of trafficking in women than that in the
sex industry (thus, there are more forms of exploitation than "sexual") and that "forced
marriages" and "forced labour" are root factors which must be addressed in order to
Immediately after the Beijing Conference, STV started to implement the
International Report Project, with the double objectives:
to provide the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women with the
relevant information for her report to the Commission on Human Rights
to further the work of NGOs internationally by strengthening and mobilising
contacts in the field and bringing together information and networks.
This project is significant in that it provided the factual and moral basis for re-
examination of old concepts and standards in order to evolve new ones which meet the
exigencies of modern reality, and which are based on the democratic acceptance of
basic rights for all persons, especially women who are discriminated, stigmatised, and
exploited at different points during the continuum of migration in search of work and
livelihood. The most important conclusions regarding "trafficking and prostitution" of
the Report, which was presented to the Special Rapporteur in October 1996, are:
that the lack of a comprehensive, globally accepted definition of "trafficking"
leads to ambiguous objectives, and strategies which doubly victimise women
instead of empowering them to exercise self-determination.
that "anti-trafficking" policies and legislation invariably work out to be "anti-
prostitution" measures, victimising women in prostitution instead of
combating violence and coercion, and especially victimise migrant women in
that it is essential for NGOs to work directly with self-organisations of those
they wish to "help" in order to avoid measures which repress instead of
enhance their rights and strengths.
The Report offered a working definition of "trafficking" which distinguishes it
as the process of recruitment and transportation under coercion, and separate from the
conditions encountered at the actual site of work. This process of recruitment and
transportation could, in principle, be for many purposes besides for work in the sex
industry. This definition presumes acceptance of the sex industry as legitimate work
In her report to the Commission on Human Rights, (March 1997) the Special
Rapporteur acknowledged the main conclusions of the report, reiterating that
"prostitution is an income-generating activity". As the main issues which need to be
resolved among and by NGOs, she mentioned:
"The lack of consensus within the international community regarding the definition of
"trafficking", noting two basic controversies: a. historically trafficking is defined as
"the trade in women for the purpose of prostitution", thus excluding contemporary
forms of trafficking for domestic work, marriage and sweatshop labour. b. 2 main
positions in the debate around prostitution - the abolitionist position which is based on
the moral rejection of prostitution and defines prostitution per se as abuse, and
prostitutes as victims to be rescued and rehabilitated, vis-à-vis the position of those
who view prostitution as work and wish to see it regulated as such."
"The failure of the 1949 Convention on the Suppression of Trafficking in Persons and
the Exploitation of the Prostitution of others - caused by its ill-defined and broad
terminology, weak enforcement mechanisms and its abolitionist perspective".
"The need to reformulate international standards so as to meet the exigencies of modern
reality, and which includes a new definition of "trafficking" as well as principles to
guide national and international action."
In terms of necessary action, she expressed the need for a constructive
dialogue within the international community among women's rights advocates and anti-
trafficking activists as well as among states. This is necessary, in order to overcome the
controversy around the issue of prostitution and to look for new international standards
which will be relevant to the present situation as well as respect the basic rights of all
In conclusion, I should like to make three points:
1. Concerning Objectives/Aims:
As illustrated by the description of the different phases of the growth of STV
in the Netherlands, specific objectives/aims were formulated within the prevailing local
context in which work had to be done. They were periodically evaluated and adjusted
after critical assessment of the environment as well as the organisational capacity.
However, in order to find like-minded partners for collaboration, the underlying
principles of objectives (and strategies) were made explicit. STV bases its work on
respect for the human rights of all women, in particular the right to self-determination
in choice of work and living conditions, to work in dignity and receive just
remuneration, and to freely leave one's home and to return.
Concerning Strategies (role and tasks):
"Anti-trafficking" NGOs are usually not organisations of women working on
their own behalf, but self-appointed advocates on others' behalf. The danger of falling
into p(m)aternalistic protective attitudes is great, as well as the danger of unwittingly
becoming the extension of government policies, which are not always beneficial for the
women concerned, i.e. migrants, migrant workers, prostitutes. To guard against this,
NGOs can adopt the general principle of always working in close collaboration with
self-organisations of the women concerned. Also, based on the basic principle of self-
representation being the criterion of the exercise of basic civil and political rights,
NGOs have a role to stimulate and facilitate the direct participation of those concerned
in any discussion and decision-making on matters concerning their lives and work.
This principle applies to any "tasks" in any sphere of activity, and may be the most
difficult to achieve. The difficulty (if not impossibility) of organising on the basis of
"victimhood" forms a basic obstacle inherent in the "anti-trafficking" framework, when
it comes to action to assert rights which have been violated in the "trafficking"
The greatest obstacle to undertaking action which is based on the principle of
respect for rights of those concerned is the rigidity of moralistic prejudices coupled
with the refusal to accept the agency of women who claim responsibility for their own
decisions. This attitude strengthens the stigmatisation, and consequently the exclusion
of women from the exercise of their rights on the basis of an occupation, which is
transformed into a (negative) status and identity.
REPORT ON THEME A: NGOS' PARTICIPATION IN ACTION AGAINST
TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SEXUAL
EXPLOITATION: THE OBJECTIVES, THE ROLE, THE TASKS AND MAIN
By Mr Vincenzo CASTELLI (Italy)
Traffic in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation is without doubt a
complex phenomenon in today’s Italy. It is a process which continues to evolve, with an
incredibly rapid turnover of persons involved (some studies cite 30,000-50,000 people -
cf Parsec in Rome) and nationalities (young Nigerian women at the end of the 1980s, a
massive, uncontrolled influx of Albanian women from a background of extreme violence
in the early 1990s and, latterly, since 1995, young women from the former Soviet Union).
Discussion of the legal issues is constantly progressing (cf the major innovation introduced
by Section 16, “residence for reasons of social protection”, of law No. 40/1998
(“Regulation of immigration and rules regarding the status of foreigners”), which provides
for social protection in the event of “situations of violence and serious exploitation of a
foreigner” imposed by those involved in such traffic. This section makes provision for a
social assistance and integration programme in which a residence permit is provided,
thereby allowing access to welfare services and education and the opportunity to work, as
well as allowing public services or NGOs to intervene.
It is also very difficult to tackle the problem of traffic separately from other
phenomena (eg prostitution) and general trends such as:
- the fact that prostitution is seen as spectacular (a world full of violence, transgression,
paradox, intrigue and titillation) by the media, which have turned the phenomenon
into a “media-heavy” item;
- public morality campaigns and a sense of decency “rediscovered” by the average
citizen as a halfway house between public ethics and private transgression;
- the still fierce debate over conflicting ideas (not ideologies): prohibitionism versus
liberalisation; making prostitution a criminal offence versus protecting the prostitute's
rights; re-establishing brothels versus “cordoning off” the phenomenon;
- the relationship between the world of prostitution and organised crime, both local and
international: there are structural changes in the link between prostitution and the local
community (major problems of lack of security and signs of intolerance from the
- the marked correlation between prostitution originating from outside the European
Union and immigration (with debates on non-European Union immigration, illicit
migration, regulation of the influx of migrants);
- the link between prostitution and morbidity (HIV and sexually transmitted diseases).
All these factors are a hindrance to the Italian public's understanding of the
features specific to the phenomenon of traffic in human beings and the way in which it
differs from the complex phenomenon of prostitution and immigration.
1. NGOs in the campaign against traffic in human beings: the meaning of our
I should stress one point: in Italy the NGOs have always been at the forefront of
action against social exclusion, and have felt the need to get involved in the complex
systems (eg the hard drug boom in the 1980s, HIV and prostitution in the 1990s).
Even in the case of strategies to combat traffic in human beings, NGOs have thus
had and will always have a central and exemplary pioneering role.
Public bodies (in particular, the regional, provincial and municipal authorities)
generally follow suit after a certain delay. When they do (and it is important that the NGOs
accord them this function), they play a significant role in terms of policy-making, co-
ordination, official recognition, project support and the financing of operations.
Some public bodies in Italy are currently mounting forceful campaigns and
investing both energy and human and financial resources in measures to combat traffic in
human beings (cf the “Prostitution” project of the Emilio-Romagna region, which has set
up 10 pilot schemes to combat traffic in human beings in the principal municipalities in
each province; cf the “City and Prostitution” projects of the Venice-Mestre municipality
and the Bologna municipality's scheme to safeguard women's right not to prostitute
themselves, all of which attempt to tackle the traffic in human beings).
NGO operations to combat traffic in human beings for the purpose of sexual
exploitation have a threefold function. First and foremost, they try to respond to needs,
explicit or implicit, by providing services to the women and minors caught up in the traffic
in human beings. These services include advice, shelter, legal protection, preventive health
measures and health care, repatriation, and job hunting. They always prove necessary.
The underlying objective of the operation is to help these people to become
independent, without putting psychological pressure on them or imposing “Western”
New, effective practices are springing up. Some services are adapting so that they
can meet new demands, anticipating institutional responses or putting them into practice
once they have been sought. However, the various forms of aid are not enough. It is
immediately apparent how pressing it is to change the way the community thinks, since
exploitation is directly correlated to a demand for sexual services from ordinary people -
fathers and young men, students and pensioners, manual and office workers, managers,
etc. It is impossible to treat a wound without becoming aware that society continues to
inflict new wounds.
The NGOs are involved in shaping opinion, in instigating debates, seminars and
public meetings at which project workers, administrators, support groups and the public
can face up to the problem in all its complexity. There are schemes to provide families,
groups, voluntary associations, trades unions and training institutes with information on
the problem in order to target prevention and open up minds. This service, a private sector
welfare service, is thus backed up by the active involvement of the local community. There
is also a socio-political commitment to making yet more of an impact on the institutions in
order to promote the necessary laws, to safeguard women against forced repatriation and to
enable them to obtain residence and work permits. Regular meetings between advisory
bodies and think-tanks, promoted by the public sector and open to private sector welfare
bodies, are held in some regions, in the hope that something similar can be achieved at a
national level. This political role has yielded tangible results: the insertion of Section 16
(specifically concerning the problem of traffic in human beings) in the Immigration Act.
Private sector welfare bodies also have another specific feature, which stems
from their position with regard to victims on the one hand and the authorities and the
public on the other. This is their “watchdog” role, which enables them to size up a
situation and serve as a “bridge” between victims and institutions, between the various
services (the aim being to establish a network), and between the services and other
cultural, social and economic forces engaged in different aspects of the combat against
social exclusion. This phenomenon, long concealed, is gradually becoming better
recognised as such because of its human implications and the serious impact it has on
victims. The first steps have been taken towards establishing the network which, in the
coming years, should become the key feature of a strategy for ending the phenomenon
once and for all.
2. NGOs involved in action against the traffic in human beings
To provide a picture of the NGOs involved in action against the traffic in human
beings we will try to outline the work of three main protagonists:
a. The Catholic Church, particularly through “Caritas Italiana”, together with the
diocesan Caritas network, parish communities, religious fellowships, nuns of various
orders, other voluntary associations of Catholic inspiration (the best known of which is
probably the “Giovanni XXIII” Association in Rimini). The overriding characteristic of
work by the Catholic Church is to appeal to the individual conscience over traffic in
human beings, while attempting to reduce demand (clients) by educating the Christian
communities. More specifically, the fundamental actions carried out by the Catholics are:
- listening to the problems of the victims of traffic in human beings and advising them;
- providing facilities, centres and safe houses for young women who have been victims
of this traffic;
- placing girls who come to them with families who mind them (available on arrival);
- preventing and reporting the phenomenon through appeals, movements set up to
combat it, commitment to a stance, press conferences, seminars and courses;
- training project workers;
- liaising with the countries of origin of the young women they help through local
churches present in these countries.
b. Women’s movements are a significant element in providing contact and shelter
for young women in difficulty. Very different from one another, but all operating under
the banner of female solidarity, these groups include centres against violence towards
women, women’s information services, telephone help-lines for women, sheltered housing
for battered women, women’s study centres, etc. As far as traffic in human beings for the
purpose of sexual exploitation is concerned, the contribution of women’s movements has
certainly been important. Indeed, they offer immediate shelter, and they are able to draw
on their own network of resources in legal, medical, hygiene, housing and employment
matters. They initiate vocational training projects for women who have been victims of
trafficking and publicly report situations in which women are exploited. This very
personalised action, focused on the woman as a victim, and designed to persuade her to
reveal her past, release her emotions and become aware of differences, is fundamental.
c. Support groups are another type of NGO response to the phenomenon of traffic
in human beings. They include social co-operatives, safe houses and voluntary
associations. They intervene in the various settings in which shelter is necessary (drug
abusers, disabled persons, minors at risk), tackling new forms of poverty and social
exclusion (like that caused by traffic in human beings). Examples of the action which
these groups initiate in the context of the various strategies to combat traffic in human
- street work to establish contact with young women who have been victims of
- support (emergency accommodation, safe houses);
- integration of people in society or the workforce;
- training for social workers (social workers active on the streets and those running
- information on the phenomenon (specialised press).
3. A typical example: the “On the Road” Association
The voluntary association “On the Road”, entered in the regional register of
voluntary groups of the Abruzzi region since 1994 and registered with the Centre for the
National Co-ordination of Support Groups, has been instrumental since 1990 in organising
various activities to help young women who have been victims of traffic for the purposes
of sexual exploitation.
The Association is active in the Marches and the Abruzzi (centre of Italy towards
the Adriatic coastline).
Voluntary workers first started out working on the streets and their efforts have
been gradually organised to such an extent that a true “underground” network now exists.
The principal objectives of the “On the Road” Association
1. Being attentive and showing respect to those they meet on the streets;
2. Focusing on the young woman who has been the victim of trafficking;
3. Multiple social action (street work, shelter and assistance, guidance and fostering
4. Involvement of institutional networks, private sector welfare bodies and local
Activities undertaken by the “On the Road” Association
1. Devising and programming of action to combat traffic in human beings for
purposes of sexual exploitation;
2. “Ad hoc” instructional sessions (in particular courses for social workers in
relation to traffic in human beings);
3. Representation on national networks (National Co-ordinating Centre, Support
Groups, Caritas Italiana);
4. Impact projects, to pool resources with public institutions (local authorities,
prefectures, ministries) and law enforcement agencies (police, carabinieri, etc);
5. Contribution to stimulating a political debate on the problem of traffic in human
beings (on violence in this context, illicit migration, migrants without residence
6. Street work (Adriatic coast of the Italian centre-south region) with the following
- preventive health measures (information on sexually transmitted diseases, HIV,
- social information (legal problems, criminal law, documents, employment, etc);
- persuading victims to take part in the various schemes (informal meetings,
psychological support, accompanying them to different services);
7. Handling emergency situations (placing young women who wish to leave
prostitution in small-scale support units specially set up for this purpose). In the
support units the young women benefit from the following services:
- free meals and lodging;
- health care;
- psychological support;
- Italian language courses;
- occupational therapy.
8. Fostering autonomy:
- Guidance concerning life in society and the workplace (contacts with companies,
screening for work abilities, psychological make-up and ability to find a job);
- Work experience programmes (placements with companies, job centres,
placements in social co-operative groups);
- Placement in independent housing.
9. Formation of social solidarity networks to integrate these women; contacts with
different social groups: lawyers, doctors, nurses, employers, psychologists, social
workers, instructors, nuns.
Numbers: last year (1997-98), 30 young women (22 Albanians, 4 Nigerians, 3
Russians and 1 Slovak) were placed in sheltered housing, in independent apartments or
with “foster” families. Of these 30 young women, 12 have found regular work with
companies, 10 are currently undergoing training in companies with a guarantee of regular
employment on completion of the training, 2 are on maternity leave, 2 are receiving
regular school tuition (minors of 13 and 16), and 4 are still illegal consignments and are
being housed by support groups.
4. Some problem areas
Hitherto unresolved problem areas are:
- legislation. In particular, enforcement of Section 16 of the Immigration Act
should protect any young woman who is a victim of trafficking, even if she does not name
her persecutors (out of fear, parents’ influence, etc). It will be necessary to define how
relations between law enforcement agencies, courts, local bodies and NGOs should be
conducted, so that the original role of NGOs is not compromised;
- security. With the rise in organised crime in which young women are forced into
prostitution for profit, the problem of security for NGOs active in the trafficking field will
certainly become preponderant;
- training. Some serious thought must be given to training members of law
enforcement agencies and social workers from public bodies in the new skills they need to
advise and protect young women who are victims of trafficking;
- information. It is imperative to launch a well-thought-out information campaign
on the traffic in young women, among the public (potential clients) and prostitutes, both in
Italy and in the countries from which the young women in question originate;
- financial resources. If we wish to set up projects which will truly help to
reduce the phenomenon of traffic in human beings it is imperative to provide sufficient
resources for those involved in assistance (this does not mean allowing them to make a
profit), and make it easier for the young women who seek support to train and find
REPORT ON THEME A: NGOS' PARTICIPATION IN ACTION AGAINST
TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SEXUAL
EXPLOITATION: THE OBJECTIVES, THE ROLE, THE TASKS AND MAIN
By Ms Irene KUROLENKO (Ukraine)
It is really painful for us to admit the fact that Ukraine, the land with great
natural resources and a remarkable cultural heritage, is known among European
countries as a supplier of human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation. At the
same time, we highly appreciate having the opportunity to examine the role of NGOs in
combating traffic in human beings – a problem, which is acknowledged as a burning
issue not only for Ukraine.
Preconditions for trafficking in human beings from Ukraine for the purpose of
The recognition of Ukraine by the world community as an independent state in
1991 was based on Ukrainian laws that provided a legal basis for the right of self-
determination. This made it possible for Ukraine to gain its independence peacefully
and without violence. Yet, today's Ukrainian society cannot be considered as one
which absolutely secures a civilised process of humane development. Democratic
changes in our country are dramatically mixed up with a continuing decline in
standards of living and growth of crime rates. Under such conditions, the individual is
losing hope of being protected; neither personal nor social security is guaranteed. The
atmosphere of mistrust and contempt in society becomes more and more pronounced.
In all spheres of life, the Ukrainian people are affected by a deep crisis, but
women and children are the first to suffer from instability in society. The catastrophic
decline in the standard of living has resulted in devaluation of moral and ethical
standards as well.
Unfavourable living conditions and low income have led to the deterioration
of family relations. Giving too much time to earning their living, adult family
members can no longer create a relatively favourable atmosphere for bringing up
children, as they cannot even satisfy their everyday elementary needs. Women make
up 72% of all the officially registered unemployed in Ukraine, so a lot of them are
trying to get any sort of a job.
The low standard of living has negatively affected society as a whole.
Children have become increasingly neglected, their anti-social behaviour is becoming
more widespread, while the quality of education is declining. Faith in the future, which
to a great extent sets the tone for society and the activity of its members, has been
shattered. The decreasing and impoverished population cannot form a proper basis for
economic growth and state prosperity.
A reduction in the number of educational establishments other than schools,
such as clubs, sport and summer recreation camps, has given rise to an increase in the
number of children and teenagers who become delinquent. The number of teenagers
dropping out of schools and finding no work has increased rapidly.
Ukraine is now facing the rapid growth of juvenile delinquency, which
exceeds the general crime rate. The number of underage recidivist offenders has
increased over the last five years by over 19 percent.
Drug addiction and alcoholism are a fertile breeding ground for the growth of
the crime rate. The number of underage persons taking drugs is said to be close to
17,000-20,000. Sociological studies show that 17% of fifth-graders, 25% of eighth
graders and 56% of eleventh graders drink alcohol.
Insufficient capacity of poorly-developed public organisations to take care of
children's leisure time leads to the formation of antisocial groups of teenagers. Every
year, approximately 8,000-9,000 teenagers leave their families, boarding schools and
other institutions for children. All of them – abandoned, lost or fugitive – are placed in
centres for minors, which are supposed to keep only criminal offenders. Six percent,
and in some regions 10 percent of all crimes committed in Ukraine were committed by
Under such conditions, delinquency among teenage girls is also growing. The
rate of venereal diseases among children and teenagers shows considerable growth in
the number of girls with syphilis aged under 14 (10 cases) and between 15 and 17
(increase from 106 to 1720 cases during the last 5 years).
This really dramatic situation is connected with complications in the
corresponding legal sphere.
Like other countries, Ukraine recognises the fact that children and women
have the right to special protection, support and assistance for humanitarian reasons,
firstly because they are the most vulnerable group of the population, and secondly since
children's health and education are crucial for the future of our nation. Ukraine has
joined the UNO Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. We have a number of
standards in the field of children's and women's rights, stipulated by regulatory acts,
which are distinguished by their humanitarian ideas but difficult for practical
implementation. A lack of implementation mechanisms for adopted regulatory acts, a
need for additional instructions, provisions and rules prevent their practical
The absence of well-defined rules in labour relations concerning teenagers and
women, and the inefficient help by state bodies for teenagers and women seeking
employment, result in illegal exploitation, including sexual exploitation.
It is necessary to add that potential objects for sexual exploitation – and not
only sexual – can easily be found among large groups of migrants into Ukraine, which
are formed by repatriates of Ukrainian origin from other former Soviet republics where
the economic and political situation is less stable, repatriated Crimean Tartars, refugees
from South East Asia, Near and Middle East and Africa.
Advertisements for jobs abroad have become common in the Ukrainian mass
media. The majority of such proposals contain nothing less than potential work in the
But trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation has many
more reasons than just economic ones. The epidemic of "sexomania" is spreading all
over the world, so the drawing of Ukrainian women into the international sex industry
is done by an international, organised crime network generating high profits with
relatively low forms of risk for traffickers.
Mechanism of trafficking in women from Ukraine
It is very difficult to estimate the real scale of traffic in women from Ukraine.
The underground character of the industry does not provide accurate statistics on the
number of women and teenagers being trafficked: most estimations in the field are
arbitrary. To give you an example, according to the information given by female
Ukrainian citizens conversant with the sex business to the Embassy of Ukraine in
Greece, it is thought that about 3000 young Ukrainian women may engaged in legal
and illegal prostitution in Athens and Thessaloniki. The majority of those women have
become a part of this process due to the criminal influence of Ukrainian and Greek sex
Ukrainian organised crime groups are involved in the international prostitution
market. For example, they control the markets in Hungary and Austria. In June 1997,
a Ukrainian Mafioso was arrested, who had been trafficking dozens of Ukrainian
women in Italy and forcing them into prostitution.
Most of those women are under the age of 25, and many are only 15-18 years
Recruitment of women from Ukraine is often informal, mostly through
newspaper and magazine advertisements, usually placed by an agency offering
lucrative jobs for models, dancers, waitresses. Such advertisements are more effective
in small provincial towns and villages, where women and teenagers are absolutely
inexperienced in the matter of evaluating the legitimacy of the advertisement. But, on
arrival in the country of destination, many of them find themselves deeply in debt to
the trafficker. Generally, the trafficker gives money for getting travel documents and
for transportation. Traffickers even obtain false documents for teenagers to travel
abroad, or false passports for women. Once a woman has signed a contract and
reached her destination, the trafficker or employer will keep her wages to pay for the
costs of her travel. Intimidation or violence will be used to force these women and
girls into prostitution and other illicit activities, thereby placing them in unsafe or
illegal living or working conditions. Sexual exploitation of trafficked women is close
to slavery, depriving them of their basic human rights. Working as prostitutes, women
are under constant threat of being violated or even murdered. We must note that
victims are afraid of being punished and arrested by local officials, afraid of reprisals
by traffickers against their families. Language barriers and a lack of knowledge of
their legal rights increase their fears.
The role of NGOs in the prevention of trafficking in women from Ukraine
A multitude of factors, including limited funding and an inadequate legal
system, hinder the authorities in their attempts to stop trafficking in women. There are
no flexible mechanisms for prompt reaction in the cases where illegal actions against
Ukrainian women are committed on the territory of a foreign country. In this context,
the role of non-governmental organisations possessing informal networks as agents for
support for women cannot be overestimated. Trafficking in women is a new issue for
NGOs. The majority of such organisations have traditionally been oriented towards
rendering social and humanitarian help for problem families, children and women. But
the NGOs understand the actuality of that theme and are looking for opportunities to
join prevention and support campaigns. Some Ukrainian NGOs include in their action
plans projects oriented towards defence of human rights of potential victims providing
protection and support for violated women and children. Among these organisations is
the one we represent: The League for Women Voters "50x50".
The first action organised by our League was the provision of free legal
assistance to women in difficult family, labour and criminal situations. Very soon we
understood that the trouble is that victims of trafficking need urgent help not in
Ukraine, but in those countries they have been taken to. The creation of a database of
international and national non-governmental organisations combating trafficking
in women in countries of destination and establishing firm contacts with corresponding
NGOs in the countries of origin would play a crucial role in information, support and
As information plays a significant role in the decision of women to migrate,
information campaigns are a very effective way of reducing uninformed decisions
which could result in migration through trafficking. Co-operation between NGOs
and women journalists organisations, such as "Women in Mass Media" could be
very fruitful in this respect. Such co-operation could provide the dissemination of
objective information about the realities of sex exploitation as a result of trafficking in
women, as well as inform potential victims of trafficking of their human rights and the
basics of labour and contract law. This is very important for the population of rural
regions, small towns and regions with high unemployment rates.
We highly appreciate the information projects implemented by La
Strada/Ukraine. Public information leaflets and posters about trafficking in
women are really effective, as are television broadcasts of the "Bought and Sold"
video documentary on trafficking. Our League, which has 15 representatives in
many parts of Ukraine, helps disseminate those materials all over the country.
The information campaign must pay special attention to dissemination of
information in schools, universities and other educational institutions. The Ministry of
Education of Ukraine issued an information letter about the problems of
trafficking, based on materials developed by La Strada. NGOs assist in sending
copies of this letter to every school in Ukraine.
Support programmes for victims of trafficking in the country of destination
and after their return to their native country are of key importance. Such programmes
should include providing legal advice and assistance, telephone hotlines for victims to
call, organisation of temporary shelters for victims who have escaped from criminal
groups and are seeking asylum. Co-operation with Ukrainian Diaspora
organisations would be very helpful in that field, taking into consideration the
language problems which a lot of trafficked women face.
Preventive measures should concentrate first of all on amending the national
criminal code with provisions which make trafficking a crime. NGOs could directly
influence the process by forming corresponding public opinion as has been done in
Ukraine. The result of that activity is the new provision in the Ukrainian criminal code
concerning the subject of trafficking in human beings.
Measures should be taken to control and supervise employment, marriage,
modelling and tourist agencies to ensure that they are not involved in trafficking.
Information about such agencies, which could be given to NGOs in the country of
origin by the NGOs in the country of destination, would be very useful.
We are thinking also about the need for special training for those who are
involved in combating trafficking – social workers, psychologists, lawyers, policemen.
To this end, the organisation of seminars and workshops which could bring together all
officials and NGO representatives concerned and affected by the issues of trafficking is
very important. We have such a project devoted to combating violence against women
and aiming at organising the training of persons, who could maintain a network in
regions and implement relevant educational programmes. Participation of independent
experts, provided by the Council of Europe, would add to the significance of these
We should like to stress that the struggle against trafficking in women can be
successful only on condition of establishing co-operation between governmental and
non-governmental organisations and constant international collaboration. This
conclusion was supported by all delegates of the First All-Ukrainian Women's
Congress, which was held in Kyiv in May 1998.
THE ROLE OF NGOS IN ERADICATING TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS
FOR THE PURPOSE OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN ASIA,
WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO JAPAN
By Professor Hiroko HASHIMOTO (Japan)1
Trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Asia
increased during a series of wars including the Second World War, Korean War and
Viet Nam War. Subsequently the magnitude of trafficking in human beings for sexual
exploitation in Asia has increased,2 in association with the promotion of tourism,
expanding Mafia syndicates, increasingly unequal distribution of income partly caused
by rapid economic growth in Asia, widespread consumerism and materialism, drastic
changes in social values, and this has become a grave concern in Asia, as well as
drawing a great deal of attention from civil societies in other regions.
Furthermore, owing to the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout Asia, particularly
in Thailand and India, the age of child victims of trafficking has fallen, partly due to
the widely held belief that HIV/AIDS can be avoided by having sexual relations with
The victims of trafficking in human beings are mostly women and (girl)
children below the age 18 years. Even many adult women victims were actually first
sold by their parents/other family members, or deceived by villagers/agents before they
reached the age of 18. Therefore it should be noted that the majority of trafficked
women were victims of trafficking whilst still girls. Furthermore, a significant number
of boys in Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and other countries in Asia have been
the victims of paedophiles – mostly (male) tourists from developed countries.
Trafficking in human beings occurs at various geographic levels; between
regions (such as developing to developed), sub-regions or countries, as well as from
rural areas to urban areas at the national scale. Trafficking routes, i.e. the paths
between sending countries and receiving countries, have changed due to changing
political and economic dynamics at national and international levels. Thailand, for
example, which was previously a ‘sending country’ only – a source of women and
children to be trafficked to developed countries such as Japan, Australia and Europe –
has now also become a ‘receiving and transit country’ for those trafficked from China,
Laos, Myanmar, and also from East European countries such as Russia following the
economic and political reforms which have led to social upheaval in that region.
Extensive and complicated routes have been developed for trafficking in human beings
for sexual exploitation in Asia, and this will be discussed later.
Associate Professor, Jumonji University, Niiza-shi, Saitama-ken, Japan
Thanh-dam Truong, Sex money and morality; prostitution and tourism in South East
Asia, Zed Books, 1990
Saisuree Chutikul, Keynote Speech at the 1997 Manila Conference on Trafficking and
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children, Jointly organised by Asian
Women’s Fund and the Government of the Philippines, Nov. 1997.
With regard to NGO action towards the eradication of trafficking in human
beings in the Asian region, there are three significant aspects:
a. Without NGO initiatives, most of the action which has been taken thus far to
eradicate this trafficking would not have occurred;
b. Some women’s NGOs and women’s groups, which are relatively untraditional
and marginal among all women’s NGOs, have a longer history of taking action to
eliminate trafficking in women; i.e. for the purpose of prostitution, while NGOs
working against trafficking in children for the purpose of sexual exploitation have
emerged recently (in 1980s or early 90s in the case of Japan);
c. Collaboration between these two types of NGO has made their activities, actions
and movements more comprehensive and acceptable to civil society.
This paper briefly explains the situation of trafficking in Asia, followed by a
discussion of the role of NGOs in eliminating trafficking in human beings for the
purpose of sexual exploitation in East Asia and South East Asia, with special reference
II. Current situation of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual
exploitation in Asia
1. The number of victims of trafficking in human beings
No form of prostitution is legal in any country in Asia. Trafficking in human
beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation has been illegally undertaken through
underground networks. Data and figures available from police offices are thought to
represent only the tip of the iceberg, and data/figures issued by governments and non-
governmental organisations are always estimates. Furthermore, the estimated figures
available from governments are always significantly lower than those calculated by
NGOs. For example, regarding the numbers of victims of child prostitution in
Thailand, a Thai NGO, the Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights (CPCR),
gives a figure of 800,000, and the international NGO, ECPAT (End Child Prostitution,
Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purpose1 estimate for
April 1996 was 250,000, compared with the Thai Government’s estimate of 10,000.
Table 1 was prepared by the author using existing sources, based on data
originally collected by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific
(CATWAP), ECPAT, and other NGOs and experts.
The attached map which describes the main routes of international trafficking
in women and children was originally prepared by Ron O’Grady2 and revised by
Amihan V Abueva of ECPAT Philippines in 1997,3 and has been further revised by the
Until March 1996, it stood for “End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism”
The rape of the innocent, 1994
Amihan V. Abueva, Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children;
Another type of map is also necessary – that is one indicating the routes of sex
tourists visiting Asian countries from other countries inside and outside the region.
The most common countries of origin for sex-tourists departing for South East Asia
include Japan, newly industrialised countries (NICs) such as the Republics of Korea
and Taiwan, European countries, Australia, and USA. A large number of the
paedophiles visiting Sri Lanka are from Europe and USA. (The author was not able to
prepare this latter type of map due to time constraints.)
III. Situation of women and child victims of trafficking for the purpose of
sexual exploitation in Japan
1. Men’s attitude toward prostitution
Historically, Japanese society has been tolerant of men buying prostitutes.
Before 1957, when the Prostitution Prevention Law was formulated by a coalition of
female parliamentarians, prostitution was legal in Japan. Therefore, there were many legal
brothels and visiting brothels was a kind of social custom for Japanese men at that time.
After the promulgation of the Prostitution Prevention Law, so-called brothels disappeared.
However, ‘massage parlours’ and ‘bars’ emerged as covers for new underground forms of
prostitution. Many feminists consider the Law to be insufficient, as it criminalises the
victims rather than the clients, and furthermore lacks strong provisions to punish
traffickers, massage parlour owners and intermediaries.
A national questionnaire sample survey on gender equality conducted by the
Prime Minister’s Office of Japan in September 1997 included a question concerning
tolerance towards buying sex in cases where there is mutual consent between both parties
(the sex seller and the client). 61.2% of female respondents answered that buying sex is
not acceptable under any circumstances, compared with 42% of male respondents. 19.9%
of male respondents in their 20s indicated that if both parties –the client and the prostitute
– agree, then it is not a matter of concern for anybody else. A similar question was also
included in a survey on violence against women conducted by the Women’s Office of
Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 1997. Regarding attitudes and tolerance towards
buying sex, 2,819 respondents out of a total of 4,500 samples show diverse responses
depending on the gender of the respondent. The percentage of respondents who agreed
with the contention that to buy sex is a human rights violation was 62.8% for women and
46.2% for men.
The Asian Women’s Resource Center in Tokyo has undertaken a mailed
questionnaire survey among men on the subject of buying prostitutes. As at April 1998,
2502 responses had been received. The results of the survey will be available in July
A survey addressed to 700 men concerning the subject of violence against
women conducted by a women’s group in Kanagawa Prefecture,1 a neighbouring
prefecture to the Tokyo Metropolitan area, also included a question on men’s experience
of buying sex. 32.9% of respondents had experience of paying a women for sex. Among
strategies, ECPAT International, a paper presented at the 1997 Manila Conference on Trafficking
and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children, jointly organized by Asian
Women’s Fund and the Government of the Philippines, Nov. 1997.
Kanagawa Josei Kaigi, Dansei ni Kiku Josei he no Bouryoku Dai Yon (4) Kai Sekai Joseikaigi ni
Mukete (Survey Addressed to Men on Violence against Women, in preparation for the Fourth
World Conference on Women), Kanagawa Women’s Association,1995
those who had bought sex, 66.7% had done so with a woman/women of Japanese
nationality, whilst 8.5% and 22.6% had done so with a non-Japanese woman/women, or
with women of both Japanese and non-Japanese nationality respectively. Regarding the
location where men had paid for sex, 62.8% indicated Japan, while 7.5% and 18.1% of
respondents had done so abroad only, and both in Japan and abroad, respectively.
A similar attitude among men toward buying sex is found in some other Asian
countries such as Korea1 and Thailand. According to a survey in Thailand, three quarters
of young Thai men, and one quarter of married Thai men, had visited brothels during the
The victims of trafficking in women and children for the purpose of sexual
exploitation in Japan are mostly non-Japanese, i.e. Asians such as Thais and Filipinos, and
South Americans, in particular, Colombians. This traffic in human beings is known to be
closely linked with Mafia syndicates. It may not be appropriate to categorise Japanese
women who are voluntarily selling sex as the ‘victims of trafficking’.
Many Asian girl-children are among the victims. Furthermore, the girls are
frequently used as objects in the production of pornographic videos, resulting in the
situation of Japan being the largest producer of child pornography in the world.
2. Prostitution by Japanese Female High School Students
Furthermore, as reported by Newsweek in late 19963 the phenomenon of Japanese
high school girls voluntarily prostituting themselves with adult (often middle aged) men
has become an extremely serious and shameful problem in Japan. They are neither forced
to sell sex, nor do so due to poverty, but instead are prostituting themselves in order to
enjoy luxuries such as buying expensive handbags, etc. Most of them are under 18
years of age, i.e. around 15 to 17, or sometimes 13 to 14. This phenomenon is thought
to be particularly evident in urban areas.
According to a sample survey conducted in the Tokyo Metropolitan area in
1997, of 960 high school girls between the ages of 15 to 18, 2.3% of 600 respondents
had experience of selling sex to men. The main reason stated for doing this was
money. One important finding of the survey was that those girls who had sold sex
appeared to have less well-established identities and maintained a stronger than average
consciousness of stereotyped gender roles.4
Following consideration of the above issues, a group of largely female
Japanese lawmakers, formulated and submitted a draft law to the Japanese parliament
in March 1998 to outlaw child prostitution and child pornography. The draft bill,
According to the study on sexual attitudes of middle class men in Korea, undertaken by Chan
Chon in 1991, 72% of men with military experience had bought prostitutes, whilst only 33% of
men had bought a prostitute before the draft. The author notes the strong influence of military
experiences with regard to buying sex.
Majorie Muecke, The AIDS Prevention Dilemma in Thailand, Asian and Pacific Population
Forum, Vol. 4 no.4 pp.1-8
Newsweek, Dec. 23 1996 “Japan’s dirty secret; schoolgirls selling sex”
Mamoru Fukutomi, An Analytical Study on the Causes of and Attitudes toward ‘Enjo Kosai’
among Female High School Students in Japan, Asian Women’s Fund, 1997 (Full report in
which has been provisionally translated into English by Masanobu Usami, Secretary to
Senator Sumiko Shimizu, is attached to this paper for reference.
3. Asian and South American women trafficked to Japan for the purpose of
Until the early 1980s, illegal migrants to Japan were mostly female sex
workers who were trafficked to Japan from other Asian countries. In association with
the emergence of Japan’s so called “bubble economy” in the mid 1980s, the number of
male illegal workers arriving from other Asian countries to undertake so-called ‘3D’
work (dirty, difficult, dangerous) increased. Their numbers have however decreased
since the start of Japan’s current economic recession.1
Table 2 shows that the percentage of females among entire overstayers has
been increasing gradually since 1991. Overstayers from South Asian countries such as
Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran are mostly men, while their counterparts from Thailand,
the Philippines and Taiwan are mostly female victims of trafficking. In addition, there
have been many incidences of Thai women entering Japan with fake Malaysian
passports, since until 1993 Malaysian nationals did not require a visa to enter as
tourists. Therefore, the actual number of Thais staying in Japan illegally is thought to
be larger than the official figures.
As frequently reported by weekly journals and newspapers, a large number of
Colombian women can be found in the entertainment/sex districts of downtown
Tokyo.2 However Columbia is not among the countries of origin included in the
breakdown available from the Ministry of Justice, which lists only those countries
where the number of overstayers from that country is considered significant (according
to an official from the Ministry).
Table 3 shows the nationalities of users of the Asian Women’s Shelter HELP
(House in Emergency of Love and Peace) in downtown Tokyo which is operated by a
women’s NGO, the Japan Women’s Christian Temperance Union. At the beginning of
HELP’s operation (from 1986) the main non-Japanese users were Philippinos.
However since then the number of Thai women has gradually increased. Furthermore,
this table clearly indicates that the number of Colombian women in need of emergency
accommodation has increased recently.
4. Situation of Asian women trafficked to Japan
Adult Asian women who are poor, lacking in skills and often illiterate, have
little or no opportunity to travel independently to work legally as migrant workers in
the wealthier destination countries. Consequently, they have no other option than to
depend heavily on recruiting agencies and brokers, who are often members of criminal
networks and syndicates.
Most of the Thai women who have been trafficked to Japan have a large
amount of debt – around 4 million Japanese yen (approximately 25,000 US$) – when
Keiso Yamawaki, Overview of the influx of foreign workers to Japan, International Female
Migration and Japan Networking, Settlement and Human Rights, International Peace Research
Institute, Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, 1996
Asahi Newspaper 27 March 1998
they arrive in Japan.1 Colombian Women also have been found to owe a similar
amount. Trafficking in women from both countries is usually arranged by crime
syndicates. Most of the Filipino women working in Japan however have entered
legally as entertainers, thus the amount of their debt is much lower than that of Thai
women and women from Columbia.
An IOM study2 commissioned by the Asian Women’s Fund interviewed 100
Filipino women who had returned to the Philippines following a stay in Japan. The
literacy rate and educational attainment level of Phillipino women is the highest among
the developing countries in Asia. Despite this fact, 46 respondents admitted
involvement of Yakuza (Japanese organised crime syndicate) in their work, 84
respondents had had their passports confiscated (by employers, etc), and 66 of the
respondents said that they had had no freedom to refuse clients. However, among the
sample, 57 respondents stated their intention to return to Japan.
IOM is also conducting a similar study on 55 Northern Thai women returned
from Japan. The results of the study will be available in August 1998.
IV. NGOs' activities to eliminate trafficking in human beings for the purpose
of sexual exploitation
While many Governments in Asia have long refused to acknowledge the
existence of trafficking in human beings,3 NGOs at the international, regional, national
and local levels in Asia have initiated various advocacy and consciousness raising
activities to address this issue, including prevention through income generation, and
rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims. As at May 1998, 17 member
countries of ESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
the Pacific) have formulated national Plans of Action as a follow-up to the Stockholm
World Congress against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in 19964.
As a total of 50 countries are members of ESCAP, the figure of 17 does not seem
particularly significant. However, if NGOs had not taken these various initiatives,
most of these 17 countries would have been unable to formulate their National Plans.
As mentioned earlier, NGOs working against trafficking in human beings fall
into two categories:
a) NGOs mainly working against trafficking in women, and
b) NGOs working against trafficking in children.
The former can further categorised into two types, one working to eliminate
all forms of prostitution, another one working to eliminate forced (and child)
prostitution by recognising or rather promoting the rights of sex workers.
Second Tokyo Bar Association. Committee on Human Rights Protection (1997), Research Report
on Asian Women as Victims of International Trafficking in Human Beings (in Japanese)
Trafficking in Women to Japan for Sexual Exploitation; a Survey on the Case of Philipino
Women, International Organization for Migration, 1997
In 1991 when UN ESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific) conducted a survey on projects on prevention of prostitution, only two governments
responded to the questionnaire out of 39 ESCAP members at that time.
Second Asia-Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on Human Resources Development for Youth,
Bangkok, 1 - 5 June, 1998
In 1994 an international network against trafficking in women, the Global
Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), whose headquarters are located in
Bangkok, published a resource book, the Directory of Organisations Addressing
Trafficking in Women. Twenty one organisations from Asia, including organisations
from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Philippines,
Thailand, and Viet Nam are included in the resource book, in addition to NGOs in
Fields in which NGOs are active include advocacy, consciousness raising, and
prevention, including initiatives such as income generation for low-income families,
and education and training of children, rescue and protection, provision of shelters, and
rehabilitation and job-training for victims. Furthermore, promotion of collaboration
with parliamentarians and governments in order promote formulation of new laws and
regulations aimed at eradicating trafficking in women and children is a crucial area of
activity in the struggle to eradicate trafficking in human beings.
With a small number of exceptions such as the Government of the Philippines,
Asian governments have not been working in collaboration with NGOs. However,
since the early 1990s, some governments, including the Government of Japan where
powerful bureaucrats have long disregarded or undermined the work of NGOs, have
begun to recognise NGOs as an indispensable partner for the promotion of eradication
of trafficking in human beings. This will be discussed further below. Unfortunately,
however, some governments, influenced for example by a certain religion, are not
willing to recognise the evidence of this contribution.
The following list only a part of the activities of some of the prominent NGOs
working for the elimination of trafficking in women and/or children.
1. International/Regional NGOs
ECPAT, GAATW (Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women), and
CATWAP (Coalition against Trafficking in Women-Asia/Pacific) are the most active
NGOs working to address this matter in Asia. While ECPAT works to tackle
trafficking in children, the others work for eradicating trafficking in women and girls.
Furthermore, GAATW focuses only on forced and child prostitution, whereas
CATWAP addresses all forms of prostitution.
Other NGOs such as Save the Children have established national offices in
many Asian countries in order to address this issue.
The main role of these international and regional NGOs is to promote
a) information exchange between NGOs/Governments
b) international and regional co-operation among governments/NGOs, and
c) to initiate law formulation on eradicating trafficking in human beings at
regional, bilateral and national levels.
These NGOs are also taking action for the repatriation of victims through
requesting co-operation of the respective governments.
ECPAT initiated an international campaign for eradicating child prostitution
in 1991 through its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, in co-operation with its offices
in Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Taiwan. Subsequently ECPAT began to pay more
attention to monitoring legal mechanisms, and encouraged governments to formulate
new laws and/or amend existing laws. Consequently, in collaboration with UNICEF,
the Government of Sweden, and NGOs supporting the United Nations Convention on
the Rights of the Child, ECPAT organised the World Congress against the Commercial
Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in August 1996, as well as regional preparatory
meetings preceding the World Congress. Since April 1996, the target geographical
area of ECPAT’s activities has been expanded to encompass the entire globe, and to
reflect this widened scope the organisation has changed its name to End Child
Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes,
but has retained its original acronym.
Since the World Congress, ECPAT has concentrated on keeping track of
progress in the implementation of the Agenda for Action adopted there.1
Hence, ECPAT activities have focused on:
a) promotion of the formulation of nationa l action plans in each country;
b.) promoting legal action;
c) promoting information and education programs;
d) child protection, and youth participation.
GAATW was established at the International Workshop on Migration and
Traffic in Women organised in Chiangmai, Thailand by the Foundation for Women in
October 1994. Participants at the workshop felt a strong need for the establishment of
an international alliance for better co-ordination of national and global action against
trafficking in women, which due to the process of globalisation had been increasing in
various new forms due to the process of globalisation. Its aim is not to stop the
migration of women but to ensure that the human rights of women concerned are taken
into consideration by the authorities and agencies involved. GAATW’s strategy is to
promote the involvement of women at the grassroots in all action taken against this
modern form of slavery, in order that any work undertaken addresses the real problem
and does not aggravate their vulnerable situation.
The Foundation for Women, which was established in 1984, is the core
organisation of GAATW in Asia and has provided information and counselling for
women seeking work in foreign countries. It also endeavours to co-ordinate its
activities with international organisations in order to help Thai women with problems,
and address cases where women have disappeared in foreign countries. As of May
1998, GAATW has over 100 individual and organisational members. GAATW’s
activities includes the following: (For further information, refer to the URL:
Amihan V. Abueva, ibid.
a) Organising national training: Five day national training project aims to
provide support and strengthen efforts in building the capacity of local
organisations' skills and knowledge in dealing with trafficked women in eight
Southeast Asian countries;
b) Undertaking a research action project on trafficking in women in the Mekong
Region: The project has been undertaken in collaboration with the Youth
Research Institute and the Women's Union of Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.
GAATW undertook a study to make input to the paper entitled “Report of the
Special Rapporteur on Violence against women, its causes and consequences”,
1997 (E/CN.4/1997/47) by Radhika Coomaraswamy, the United Nations
Special Rapporteur on violence against women.
c) Providing and disseminating information through the Documentation Center:
GAATW shares the Documentation and Information Center of the Foundation
for Women, who have expanded and strengthened the center in order to
facilitate the dissemination of information to its users both within the country
Other regional NGOs such as ASEANET (information network for eradicating
trafficking in children), AWHRC (Asian Women’s Human Rights Council), and the
Mekong Region Law Center – one of the sub-regional law centers is working on
formulating a proposal for a model law, incorporating the best and most effective
principles used in six Mekong states- Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmer, Thailand,
Vietnam- for controlling and suppressing the trafficking trade.
Asia and Pacific Women, Law and Development Forum (APWLD), which is a
forum for lawyers and NGOs working on women’s human rights concerns, is also
active on this issue and is a supporting organisation of the above mentioned UN
Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.
2. National NGOs in Thailand
In Thailand there are more than 30 NGOs working to stop trafficking in
human beings. Their area of activities are diverse, and are as follows:
a) Advocacy for prevention
This has included publishing a textbook and teaching materials concerning the
story of a trafficked girl who was killed by a fire while her legs were chained in the
locked room of a brothel in a Southern resort city in Thailand. Some NGOs also
distribute pamphlets and other materials to the consulates of respective countries
describing the situation of trafficked women in receiving countries, in order to
discourage women from applying for visas.
b) Training and education of children
In northern Thailand, from where many girls have been trafficked into
Bangkok or cities in other countries via Bangkok, many NGOs have provided further
education and training to girls in order to improve their job opportunities.
c) Shelters for women escaping from traffickers/pimps
The Emergency Home in Bangkok and Rainbow House are typical shelters for
victim of trafficking in women and girls.
d) Research and study on routes, victims and customers
The Foundation for Women has conducted research and study through
interviews and questionnaires addressed to victims, as part of GAATW activities.
e) Job training for victims
The Emergency Home in Bangkok also provides skills training to victims.
3. NGOs working against trafficking in women and/or children in Japan
The NGOs working to eliminate trafficking in women were established earlier
than the NGOs working to protect children from traffickers. The oldest women’s NGO
in Japan, The Japan Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which has a long history
of working to eradicate prostitution, established a shelter for women, Asian Women’s
Home HELP on the occasion of its 100th anniversary in 1986.
Most of the NGOs working for children and their various coalitions were
established in the late 1980s or early 1990s, whilst women’s NGOs and their coalitions
were mostly established before the International Women’s Year, i.e. 1975, or during
the United Nations Decade for Women. The former group’s mandates originate in
anti-prostitution campaigns and the later group started campaigning against sex tours
by Japanese men to Asian countries.
i. NGOs working for eradicating trafficking in women and girls
The Association of Anti-Prostitution Activity which was established by the
Japan Women’s Christian Temperance Union and nearly 15 women’s organisations,
including traditional women’s NGOs, has worked hard toward eradicating prostitution,
trafficking in women and sex tourism. However, most of other women’s NGOs have
paid little attention to the issue of eradicating prostitution and trafficking in women.
These NGOs have instead worked mainly for the so called “major women’s issues,”
such as the promotion of the legal status of women, women’s participation in society,
environmental protection, consumer protection and sound family education.
Following the 4th World Conference on Women and the NGO Forum, held in
Beijing and Wairu in 1995, in which over 5000 Japanese women participated, women’s
NGOs of the latter category gradually started to pay more attention to the issue of
trafficking. Concurrently, violence against women, including the issues of the
“comfort women,” and “battered wives,” also emerged as a serious social problem.
However, the number and size of those NGOs working for eradication of trafficking in
women remains limited, since these issues are still considered as marginal for
contemporary Japanese women.
ii. NGOs working for eradicating trafficking in children
NGOs in Japan working for Asian children used to be social welfare or mercy
type, i.e. providing scholarship and/or stationery to poor children in developing
countries in Asia. Three organisations which were established in late 1980s and early
1990s for the similar purpose have worked together with the goal of eradicating child
prostitution, child pornography, as ECPAT counterparts in Japan.
The Campaign to Stop the Prostitution of Asian Children and to Protect Their
Rights (CASPAL) which was established by one woman in 1989 is the most active of
the three. CASPAL’s areas of activity include advocacy for trafficking in children for
sexual exploitation, in particular disseminating information to victims of Japanese
paedophiles. CASPAL is also constructing schools for girls in Thailand and
Philippines in addition to lobbying parliamentarians for formulation and adoption of a
law for eradicating child prostitution in the national parliament, in collaboration with
other NGOs. As at May 1998, CASPAL’s membership includes around 813 individual
members and 72 group members in Japan. CASPAL has established overseas offices
in Thailand and the Philippines.
In addition to the above three NGOs, there are a number of other NGOs and
smaller groups also working to eradicate trafficking in Asian children.
4. NGO achievements
As mentioned in the Introduction of this paper, NGOs have been working
toward eradicating trafficking in human beings, although the number of incidences has
not fallen. However, without NGO action, the situation of trafficking in human beings
in this region would certainly have been much worse. The following can be stated as
some of the achievements of NGOs, either directly or as a result of NGO initiated
i. Conducting research
Most of the above mentioned research and studies on trafficking in human
beings could only have been carried out by NGOs – few victims of trafficking are
willing to respond to government surveys. Collaborative surveys are more successful
since NGOs are closely involved in assisting the victims.
ii. Shelter provision
While accommodating women victims of trafficking in rehabilitation or
retention centres, or repatriating the victims who are illegally staying, or overstaying, in
that country, governments do not provide shelters for victims. Thanks to the
tremendous efforts of a number of activist shelters in metropolitan areas of Japan
receive subsidies from local Governments contributing towards their running costs.1
Research report on shelters operated by NGOs in Japan vol.1(in Japanese), Yokohama Women’s
iii. Victim rescue
Many NGOs have succeeded in rescuing victims from massage parlours and
bars where they were forced into prostitution.
iv. Supporting victims on trial for murder
In Japan there have been a number of cases of Thai women killing supervisors
(non-Japanese) who had exploited them by forcing them into prostitution. NGOs in
Thailand and Japan, with the assistance of human rights lawyers, have supported these
women. Similar cases can be found in other countries.
Many NGOs in sending countries have worked to educate young girls, their
teachers and their parents about the dangers of trafficking. Similarly, many NGOs
(although marginal groups among NGOs in Japan) have advocated that trafficking in
children is a crime and a serious violation of human rights.
vi. Formulation/revision of laws to eradicate trafficking in human beings
In several countries in Asia, such as Thailand and the Philippines, laws to
criminalise traffickers, shop owners, pimps and clients of child prostitution have been
revised, or where no such law existed, have been newly formulated. As mentioned
above in Japan a law to prohibit child prostitution, formulated by a working group of
parliamentarians from the ruling coalition parties, has just been submitted to the Diet
for adoption. The NGOs mentioned in IV c) 3. above have worked closely with these
Promotion of the following NGO activities would lead to further reduction in
the incidence of trafficking in human beings.
1. Regional/bilateral legislation for eradicating trafficking in human beings
National legal frameworks for eradicating trafficking in human beings in Asia
have been improved recently, in particular during the period before and after the
Stockholm Conference. It should be noted that ECPAT’s initiatives and activities have
been extremely influential. These efforts should be further expanded and strengthened
through regional, sub-regional and bilateral co-operation in Asia. With this aim in
mind the Asian Women’s Fund is planning an international conference “Stop
Trafficking in Women and Girls” for late October or early November this year, to be
held in Bangkok in collaboration with the Government of Thailand, international
organisations such as ESCAP, ILO, UNICEF, IOM and international NGOs such as
ECPAT and Mekong Region Law Center.
CATWAP is organising a Global Conference on Trafficking in Women from
28 to 30 June 1998 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Similarly, ECPAT and other organisations
are also organising international, regional and sub-regional meetings to exchange
experiences and to promote the formulation of a suitable legal framework in the
2. Further promotion of NGO and government partnership for prevention
and eradication of trafficking in human beings in Asia
As already stated in this paper, there is a strong need for NGO and
governmental collaboration in order to suppress trafficking in human beings in Asia.
However governments in several Asian countries have only recently realised the role of
NGOs as a partner in the struggle to eradicate trafficking. Particularly in Japan, where
NGOs are generally weaker than those in other Asian countries, financial support from
the government to NGOs is essential. In return, NGOs can contribute their experience
and specialist knowledge to aid government policy formulation, and other related
3. Undertake the research and studies to develop databases on the issue
a) Situation, causes and consequences of trafficking in women and children,
including effects of the Asian economic crisis on trafficking in human beings;
b) Clients and traffickers/pimps
The Asian Women's Fund is also planning to undertake a study on the clients
of high school girls who are involved in selling sex. NGOs could assist governments in
undertaking studies on traffickers and pimps.
As most of the NGOs have developed their own databases, it would be useful
if those NGOs agree to merge each database into one general database for mutual use.
Furthermore, the general database should be accessible through the INTERNET.
Abe, Kohki, The struggle to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children; a survey
of international and national endeavours to address child prostitution and related
issues. Asian Women’s Fund, Marach 1997
Agro-forestry, Basic Health and Cooperative Nepal (1994) Red light traffic: the
trade in Nepali girls, 2nd ed.
Asian Women’s Fund, (1997), Proceedings of 1997 Manila Conference on
Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children, 6-7
November 1997, Manila, jointly organised by the Special Committee for Children,
Government of the Philippines and Asian Women’s Fund, in co-operation with
ESCAP, ILO UNICEF and ECPAT.
Cauette Therese M., “Need assessment on cross-border trafficking in women and
children; in Mekong sub-region; draft prepared for the UN Working Group on
Trafficking in the Mekong Sub-region”, Feb.1998.
Coomaraswamy, Radhika, (1997), “Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence
against women, its causes and consequences”, 1997 (E/CN.4/1997/47)
International Peace Research Institute, Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo(1996).
International Female Migration and Japan Networking, Settlement and Human
Muntarbhorn, Vitit, (1997) “The trafficking in Women and Children in the Mekong
Sub-region: law and policy as effective countermeasures?” Study presented at the
Seminar on Illegal Labor Movements; the Cases of Trafficking in Women and
Children, Bangkok 25-28 November 1997.
O’Grady, Ron, (1994) The rape of the innocent, ECPAT, Bangkok, Thailand.
O’Grady Ron, (1992) The child and tourist, ECPAT, Bangkok, Thailand.
Second Tokyo Bar Association. Committee on Human Right Protection, (1997)
Research report on Asian women as victims of international trafficking in human
beings (in Japanese)
Shin Heisoo, (1991) Women’s sexual services and economic development: the political
economy of the entertainment industry in the South Korean Dependent Development.
Wijers, Marjan and Lin Lap-Chew, (1997) Trafficking in women forced labor and
slavery–like practices in marriage, domestic labor and prostitution, Foundation
against Trafficking in Women, Utrecht.
Table 1 Situation of trafficking in human beings in Asia
Source Coalition Against Trafficking in Others (including RC
Country Women in Asia and Pacific report1)
Australia Prostitution industry: A$30million
(Federal Police estimate)
Australian Council of Trade Union
recognised women in prostitution as a
Bangladesh 200,000 women trafficked into There are 100,000 sex
Pakistan in the last 10 years. workers in Bangladesh.2
2,000 women were prostituted in six 5000 out of 500,000
cities in India in 1994. foreign prostitutes in India
have been brought from
Bangladesh (Indian Social
Cambodia 14,725 women were
working in brothels in 22
provinces and 46 districts
in 1996/7. 81 %, 18% and
1% were Khmer,
Vietnamese and others.
China Resurgence of prostitution all over Women were trafficked for
China. marriage (13,958 in
Shangchuandao island, tourist spot Sanseisho in 1990, 48,100
offers sex casinos with 300 women in Kososho from 1986 to
from all over China 1988)(RC report). In 1996,
in regard to the prostitution
trade, 209,600 cases have
been cleared in which
offenders were pursued.5
Coomaraswamy, Radhika. “Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against women, its
causes and consequences”, 1997 (E/CN.4/1997/47)
Tahrunesa Abdullah , “Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and
Children in Bangladesh”, a paper presented at the 1997 Manila Conference on Trafficking and
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children, Organised by Asian Women’s Fund
and the Government of the Philippines, Nov. 1997.
Yim Po, “Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children in
Cambodia”, a paper presented at the 1997 Manila Conference on Trafficking and Commercial
Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children, Organised by Asian Women’s Fund and the
Government of the Philippines, Nov. 1997
Vitit Muntarbhorn, “The trafficking in women and children in the Mekong Sub-region; law and
policy as effective countermeasures?” Paper presented at the Seminar on Illegal Labour
Movements; the cases of trafficking in Women and Children, organised by Mekong Law Centre
from 25 to28 Nov. 1997. (Original source of this figure is Z. Weihan, Z.Yantao and F.Yuzhu
“Abduction and trafficking of women in China”, paper presented at the above Seminar on
Illegal Labour Movements.)
Source Coalition Against Trafficking in Others (including RC
Country Women in Asia and Pacific report1)
India 2.3 million women in prostitution, of 35% of the 100,000 to
which a quarter are minors. 150,000 Nepali prostitutes
Over 1,000 red-light districts all over in India were trafficked
India, where prostitutes are mostly from Nepal(RC report).
minors often from Nepal and
Indonesia 65,582 registered prostitutes in 1994
(estimated total is 500,000)
Sex industry (estimated) US$ 1.2
billion to 3.6 billion
Japan Largest sex industry market for Asian
women. Over 150,000 non-Japanese
women in prostitution, Filipinas (more
than half), Thais (40%), Japanese men
also constitute the largest number of
sex tourists in Asia.
Sex industry:1 percent of GNP =
Republic of Around military bases, 18,000 In 1989, 1.2 to 1.5 million
Korea registered and 9,000 unregistered prostitutes 1
Malaysia Estimated 142,000 prostitutes (8,000 -
10,000 in KL)
Myanmar 20,000-30,000 Burmese women Myanmar is a transit
prostitutes in Thailand. 50-70% of country for from China to
deported Burmese women prostitutes Thailand as well as a
were HIV positive. sending country to
Nepal Annually 5,000 Nepali women 200,000 Nepali women and
trafficked to India. In total 100,000 children were forced to
Nepali prostitutes in India. Hong Kong work in India as
is the second biggest market of Nepali prostitutes2
Pakistan 4500 Bangladesh women
and children have been
trafficked into Pakistan
Philippines Estimated 300,000 female prostitutes
and 75,000 child prostitutes.
Sri Lanka 80% of labour migration in 1994 was
of women workers.
Taiwan 40% of young prostitutes in the mail
red-light district are aboriginal girls.
Shin Heisoo Women’s sexual services and economic development: the political economy of the
entertainment industry in the South Korean Dependent Development, 1991.
Red light traffic-the trade in Nepali girls, 2nd ed. ABC Nepal, 1994
Bangladesh Women’s Lawyers Association’s estimate
Source Coalition Against Trafficking in Others(including RC report)
Country Women in Asia and Pacific(CATWAP)
Thailand Estimate no. of female 75,000 to 2.8 million1
prostitutes:300,000 to 2.8 million, of
which 1/3 are minors.
4.6 million Thai men regularly and
500,000 foreign tourists annually buy
Viet Nam Most trafficking is to China and to
Cambodia(since UNTAC), including
Prostitution has become a feature of the
burgeoning tourism industry of the
Wathinee Boonchalaksi and Philip Guest, Prostitution in Thailand Institute for Population and
Social Research, Mahidol University, 1994
Table 2 Estimated number of overstayers
(Non-Japanese who stay in Japan after their visa has expired)
Nov.1991 May May Jan., 1997 Jan.,1998
Total 216,399 298,646 286,704 262,986 278,810
Male 145,700 192,114 168,532 155,939 149,828
(66.7%) (64.3%) (58.8%) (59.2%) (53.7%)
Female 70,699 106,532 118,172 127,047 126,982
(33.7%) (35.7%) (41.2%) (40.8%) (46.3%)
Rep. of 30,976 39,455 47,544 52,387 52,123
Male 20,469 20,998 21,662 21,669 20,792
Female 10,507 18,457 25,882 30,718 31,331
Philippines 29,620 35,392 39,763 42,547 42,608
Male 13,850 15,861 16,056 15,818 15,489
Female 15,770 19,531 23,707 26,729 27,119
Thailand 32,751 55,383 44,794 39,513 37,046
Male 13,780 25,624 19,866 16,839 15,542
Female 18,971 29,759 24,928 22,674 21,504
Malaysia 25,379 30,840 14,511 10,390 10,141
Male 18,466 21,250 8,942 5,589 5,340
Female 6,913 9,590 5,569 4,801 4,801
Taiwan 5,897 7,457 7,974 9,409 9,430
Male 2,790 3,867 3,987 4,328 4,346
Female 3,107 3,590 3,987 5,081 5,084
Source: Ministry of Justice
Table 3: Nationalities of HELP users since its establishment
1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
Thailand 9 144 131 119 270(1) 210(3) 220(9) 160(11) 106(11) 47(12) 41(8)
Philippines 83 99(4) 52(4) 13(2) 16(1) 10(2) 14(7) 25(7) 14(14) 9(5) 20(26) 10(8)
Malaysia 1 2 2(1) 1(1)
Indonesia 2 2 1
Sri Lanka 2(1) 1
China 1(1) 1 1 2 4(3)
Taiwan 1(2) 1 1 2 10(2)
Hong Kong 2 1 1 1
Rep. of 1(1) 3(3) 1 3(1) 9(2)
Peru 1(1) 3 25(1) 10(2) 2(1) 4(1) 2(1)
Brazil 9 3 1 1 2(1)
Colombia 1(2) 3 2 5(1) 6 6
Mexico 9 1 1
Ecuador 1(1) 1
Costa Rica 1
Bolivia 2 1
Kenya 1(2) 1
1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
Iran 1(2) 1(1) 1 1(1)
Australia 1 1
USA 1 2 1 1 4 1(2)
Canada 1 1
Great 1 1 1 2
France 1(1) 1
Unknown 1 1 1
Foreigner 88 125 203 152 143 299 271 263 191 140 94 97
Total (2) (8) (5) (4) (4) (5) (18) (21) (29) (19) (46) (24)
Japanese 74 140 80 62 55 33 23 39 54 59 84 70
(23) (41) (35) (28) (22) (18) (15) (14) (15) (24) (35) (29)
Grand Total 162 265 283 214 198 332 294 302 245 199 178 167
(25) (49) (40) (32) (25) (24) (33) (35) (44) (43) (81) (53)
DRAFT ACT ON PUNISHMENT OF CHILD PROSTITUTION, CHILD
PORNOGRAPHY AND SALE OF CHILDREN FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES,
PROTECTION OF CHILDREN, AND OTHER ARRANGEMENTS1
Unofficial translation, by Masanobu Usami, Secretary of Sumiko Shimizu, Member of
the House of Councillors of the Japanese Diet
This act shall aim at ensuring sound growth of children and protecting the
rights of the child, by penalising child prostitution, child pornography and sale of
children for sexual purposes, as well as by providing measures for protection, recovery
and reintegration of child victims and making other necessary arrangements.
1) "Child" means any actual person under 18
2) "Child prostitution" means sexual intercourse and/or similar acts* with a child in
return for benefits provided to or promised to,
(a) that child,
(b)any person who facilitates the sexual intercourse and/or similar acts with that child,
(c) any person who has custody or control over that child.
* "Sexual intercourse" in the Japanese legal system is limited to a sexual act associated
with penetration of sexual organ of a man into that of a women. "Similar acts" here
cover other forms of sexual act with a person either of a different or same sex,
including touching of a sexual organ, anus or a nipple for the purpose of sexual
gratification of the offender.
* 3) "Child pornography" means a photograph, a picture, a videotape or any other
material which visually depicts,
*(a) a child engaged in sexual intercourse and/or similar acts,
(b) a child fully or partially naked (depiction of whom is for sexual gratification),
This bill was submitted to the Diet on May 22, 1998, by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP),
the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the New Party Sakigake, which were then forming the
ruling coalition at the Diet. The bill has been and is expected to remain undiscussed in the
current session of the Diet, which is scheduled to end on June 18, 1998, but it is expected that it
will be put on the floor and passed in the next session, which is to be opened as early as in late-
July, 1998. Although the three-party coalition was dissolved on June 1, 1998, and the LDP is
now the single ruling party, the three parties have agreed to continue their co-operation on this
The drafting process was initiated in the summer of 1996 by Ms. Sumiko Shimizu, Member of
the House of Councillors, SDP, who was the head of the Japanese delegation to the World
Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. In June, 1997, the three-party
ruling coalition decided to set up a task force to formulate a bill against commercial sexual
exploitation of children.
The task force, chaired by Ms. Mayumi Moriyama, Member of the House of Representatives,
LDP, held intensive discussions as well as listening to experts' opinion, and came up with the
(c) child's sexual organ or anus (excluding depiction for the purpose of medical or
other academic use).
1) Act of child prostitution:
imprisonment for the term not exceeding 5 years or fine not exceeding 1 million yen*
* 1 million yen = approx. 7,190 US$ (as of June 1, 1998)
2) Facilitation of child prostitution:
imprisonment for the term not exceeding 3 years or fine not exceeding 3 million yen
if done as business, imprisonment for the term not exceeding 5 years or fine not
exceeding 1 million yen
(a) Distribution, sale, commercial lending, or exhibition of child pornography,
(b) production, possession, transport, import or export of child pornography for
the purpose of distribution, sale, commercial lending, or exhibition, or,
(c) advertisement of distribution, sale, commercial lending, or exhibition of child
imprisonment for the term not exceeding 3 years or fine not exceeding 3 million yen.
(a) Sale of a child for the purpose of child prostitution or production of child
(b) transfer of a child living in a foreign country out of that country for the
purpose of (a): imprisonment from 2 years to 15 years
5)These provisions have extraterritorial effect
4. Prohibition of possession of child pornography
Possession of child pornography for the purpose of sexual gratification of the
person in possession is prohibited (no punishment)
5. Education and public information on the rights of the child
The state and local authorities should make efforts to educate and provide
information for its people on the rights of the child.
6. Protection, recovery and reintegration of child victims
Government bodies concerned shall co-operate with each other and take
appropriate measures needed for protection, recovery and reintegration of a child
victim, and, if necessary, take measures for a person who has custody over that child.
7. Improved arrangements for protection, recovery and reintegration of
The state and local authorities should make efforts to conduct study, train
personnel, strengthen inter-agency co-ordination and make other necessary
arrangements to provide professional services for protection, recovery and reintegration
of child victims.
8. Protection of a child victim in investigation and court proceedings
A person engaged in investigation and/or court proceedings of a crime defined
in this act, when carrying out his/her duties, is advised to take human rights and
characteristics of the child into consideration, and to respect dignity of the child.
9. Prohibition of dissemination of information identifying a child victim
Dissemination of any article or information that can identify a child victim is
prohibited in regard to a crime defined in this act.
10. Promotion of international co-operation
The state should make efforts to promote international co-operation for
prevention and investigation of the crimes defined in this act.
11. Other matters
1) Date of enforcement
This act shall be put into effect within 6 months after its promulgation.
2) Relation with local ordinances
Any provision in an ordinance of a local authority providing punishment of an act
which is penalised in this act shall cease to be in effect upon enforcement of this act.
3) Amendments to national laws concerned
Approximately 3 years after enforcement of this act, if it deems to be necessary taking
state of its implementation into account, this act shall be reviewed and necessary
measures shall be taken accordingly.
REPORT ON THEME B: IMPLEMENTATION OF NGO ACTION AT
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS: EVALUATION AND
Ms Véronique GROSSI (Belgium)
THE ILLEGAL SEX TRADE
A victim hits back ...
My name is Precious Chinazom, I was born in Umdioha in Iboland,Anambra State, a
little village in Eastern Nigeria.
In my village, female circumcision is still a common practice. My mother, who is a
Christian, refused to let her daughter be subjected to this terrible ritual. She sent me
away to the city to live in the household of the prominent Catholic Koto family.
I got along very well with Mister and Misses Koto, but their son Ben sexually abused
me, which caused me to get pregnant at the age of 16. However, Ben was already
married. The birth of my child made me the object of gossip and shame within my
Ben threatened me and said that he would send me back to my village if I didn’t do
everything he wanted.
Going back to my village would be a great risk to me and my baby.
When Ben got me pregnant for the second time, he went with me to Germany to
prevent a public scandal. Fleeing from the German police, he left me behind. I spent
three months in hospital recovering from childbirth and malnutrition.
1 week after I had given birth, Ben came to pick me up and took me to The Netherlands
where he forced me to apply for asylum under a false name.
In Holland I gave birth to a third child. Ben forced me to go into prostitution, he said he
wanted ‘money coming from my hand’.
In 1992 he brought me to Belgium so I could apply for political asylum here too. This
is when he started to become really violent. He locked me in with customers, he
approached clients on the street and brought them to our home. If I refused, he hit me
and threatened to hurt my children.
Ben also said he would go to the police, because he knew I was scared that they would
send me back to Nigeria.
It would mean the end for me and my children. My children would be regarded as
outcasts and would be in great danger of being ritually sacrificed because they are the
children of an unmarried mother.
Ben left for America, but demanded that I should continue making money for him.
I decided I was no longer prepared to put up with it. I went to Payoke and put down a
complaint against him....
I am scared for my future and that of my children but I am determined to do my very
best for all of us.
1. What is Saralek?
Saralek is a subdivision of Payoke which offers help to the victims of the
illegal sex trade. In this illicit trade, human beings are treated as merchandise by
international sex rings, fraudulent marriage agencies and sweatshop owners. It mostly
concerns women who are lured to Western European countries under false pretences,
only to find themselves being exploited and taken advantage of in different sectors of
society. Within Saralek we predominantly come into contact with women who have
ended up in the sex industry or on the illegal marriage market. These women are
recruited with promises of a good job in the West (as a showdancer, waitress, factory
worker...) or the prospect of an (illegal) marriage.
Payoke has committed itself to the fight against this illegal trade for almost
seven years now. The most important test case in this area was that of the Moroccan
woman named Sarah. On International Women’s Day 1991, she stepped into the centre
clutching a bulky file under her arm. Her case created a judicial precedent with regard
to the illegal trade in women from third world countries. Two more cases followed: that
of Lek (a Thai woman) and that of Luz (a Philippino woman). Saralek was named after
the first two of these three women. The subdivision started working under this name in
February of 1992.
The fact that there is a lot of press interest in this subject is on the whole a
positive thing. However, we must keep in mind that Payoke is there to protect the
interests of all prostitutes (male, female, Belgian, foreign), they form our basic target
group. The press tends to overemphasise the link between the trade in women and
prostitution. Victims of this illegal business are referred to as prostitutes, which is very
stigmatising for these women. These women are the victims of an illegal trade and are
forced into a situation where offering sexual services in return for money is often the
only avenue open to them. This does not however make them into prostitutes (they
certainly do not see themselves as prostitutes either). Other women who were exploited
in the sex industry, managed to escape only to be forced into prostitution. They are the
victims of an illicit trade, not prostitutes. The trade in women expands into the area of
domestic servants, au pairs, etc..., which has nothing whatsoever to do with
The plight of these people clearly evokes a lot of public sympathy, which
results in a general willingness to help through financial donations. Private individuals
as well as organisations want to show their support by depositing money in our
account. These donations are vital to our activities, such as raising money for a special
help fund for victimised women. Some women are faced with large debts which have
to be repaid. Another part of the money goes towards extra materials and equipment for
the shelter. In future we plan to set aside part of the financial help fund for special
education courses and training schemes. Financial donations are also important in
meeting future legal bills.
The objectives of Saralek are as follows:
- Offer more relief and support to the victims of the illegal sex trade and stand up for
the rights of these people.
- Sensitise and mobilise the broad public and specific target groups with regard to
- Develop ties with national and international organisations.
- Sensitise and influence public policy towards doing something about the situation
of these women.
- Initiate a prevention campaign both in Belgium and in the countries of origin.
- Develop closer co-operation with (women’s) organisations which assist women
who have emigrated to Belgium. YWCA is one of the most important
organisations in this regard. YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) is a
women’s organisation with branches in over ninety countries around the world.
The Antwerp branch has continually performed ground-breaking work. This
voluntary organisation is governed by the individual female members. The women
are encouraged to take responsibility for their own lives and to lead a confident
and socially committed existence.
3. Different systems within the sex trade
The victims are more often than not recruited in the country of origin by an
organised crime ring. They are offered bogus job prospects in different social areas.
Once arrived in Belgium, they are prepared for work in the sex industry: striptease,
drinking with clients, letting themselves be touched, sex with clients, ...
These women are often put under severe pressure:
- Financial pressure: they have to repay their flight ticket, they have promised to
send money back home to their family; they are forced into a situation where they
are unable to refuse anything that is asked of them. They have often signed I.O.U’s
to individual people or with banks in their country of origin.
- Violence: they find themselves under the constant threat of psychological, physical
and sexual violence. For example, nude pictures are taken which they threaten to
send home to the woman’s family.
The explosive rise in cases involving Nigerian women that we saw in 1995 has
continued throughout 1996: women, but also increasingly young girls, are lured to Europe
with the promise of a good job. Back in their homelands, they are contacted in
discotheques or at the schoolgates by dishonest characters. Next to the people making the
actual contact, there are those who put forward the money for the journey to Europe (plane
tickets). Most of these women arrive in London, Paris or Frankfurt before they are moved
to Belgium, where they are sold and forced to work in window prostitution. Within a few
days of their arrival here, they are send to the immigration authorities by their pimps to
(falsely!) apply for political asylum.
These women apply under a fake name and a false country of origin and dish
up a bogus story. Although these applications for political asylum are seldom withheld,
the system offers them the opportunity to have their case reviewed, and pending the
result of this review the woman in question is legally residing in Belgium...
Another system is that of arranged marriages by crooked matrimonial
agencies. On the personal pages of several newspapers one can find little
announcements advertising the benefits of marrying a Philippino or Eastern European
wife. These women are portrayed as beautiful and sweet: the perfect housekeepers.
Excellent "merchandise" in other words.
4. The sex trade: a legal approach
An historic perspective
For over a century, prostitution in Belgium was regulated on the basis of
article 96 of the municipal act of the 30th of March 1836, amended by article 19 of the
act dating from the 30th of December 1887. Controlling prostitution and prostitution
neighbourhoods as well as issuing appropriate measures insuring adequate sanitary
conditions, public order and standards of public decency, lay within the competence of
the city council. The aforementioned articles granted virtually unlimited powers to
municipal authorities with regard to prostitution.
During that particular period in time, the discussions with regard to public
policy on prostitution were dominated by the debate on whether or not prostitution
should be regulated for. The advocates saw regulation as the best guarantee towards
safeguarding public morals and public health; they also argued for more severe
punishment of those involved in clandestine prostitution.
Religious groups on the other hand argued that moral considerations and the
respect for human dignity should suffice in guarding against the sinful lure of the flesh.
From this standpoint they regarded any attempt towards regulation as an incitement to
In the wake of a multitude of abolitionist protest movements in Great Britain,
urging towards the abolition of the "Contagious Diseases Acts", the "Fédération
britannique, continentale et générale" was founded in 1874. In Belgium, the "Société de
moralité publique" linked up with the above-mentioned organisation. The Société was
of the opinion that imposing regulations on prostitution was equal to condoning it,
whereas the religious assumption that man is the willing victim of his own desires only
acts to further encourage fornication. Furthermore, new research figures, according to
the Société, clearly showed that the regulatory approach, with its main aim of
controlling the spread of venereal diseases, had failed. Public policy in their eyes
should not be left in the fickle hands of local authorities, which weren’t even obligated
to pass any form of municipal regulation in this domain. In light of this social
resistance, Jules Le Jeune, the then Minister of Justice introduced an abolitionist bill.
Although the bill wasn’t carried and the regulatory approach wasn’t abandoned until
1948, the introduction of the bill undoubtedly helped in paving the way for the 1912
Child Protection Act and the 1914 act prohibiting the trade in women and young girls.
Round about the end of the nineteenth century, international attention was
focused on what was referred to as ‘the white slave trade’. This phenomenon took such
a high flight that it could only be stopped through close and efficient international co-
operation. On the initiative of the "National Vigilance Association", international
conferences were held to help tackle the problem. In July 1902 the French invited the
world to an international conference in Paris, which resulted in the drafting of two
international agreements. The act of May 26th 1914 prohibiting the trade in women and
young girls was primarily based on the latter of these two agreements.
In 1933 a new international treaty was agreed under the auspices of the
League of Nations, and ratified by Belgium. Although Belgium signed the international
treaty on white slavery, it still allowed prostitution to take place within its own
boarders by regulating for prostitution houses. This meant that as long as they complied
with the rules, pimps in Belgium were largely exempt from prosecution.
In the following period up to the second World War, several attempts were
made at abolishing the existing regulation on prostitution; these bills didn’t make it into
law because of the forced dissolution of Parliament. During the war period the German
occupiers passed a number of regulations regarding prostitution. In 1946 a new bill
demanding the abolition of regulation on prostitution was introduced. This eventually
led to the act of August 21st 1948 putting an end to all official regulation on
At the international level, the League of Nations had already back in 1937
started work on a draft treaty obliging the ratifying parties to make the ownership or
exploitation of prostitution houses punishable by law. This draft agreement was going
to be put forward at an international conference in 1940. The outbreak of the second
World War prevented this. After 1945 the United Nations took over from the League of
Nations, and on the second of December 1949 the agreement, combating the illegal
trade in human beings and exploitation by prostitution, was passed by the General
Assembly. The treaty, condemning prostitution in its preamble, contained two
important provisions: art. 1 obliges the ratifying parties to make the trade in human
beings for exploitation in prostitution punishable by law; art. 2 relates to the
penalisation of on the one hand people who finance, assist in the financing or run a
house of prostitution, and those who rent or knowingly let a house used for prostitution
The Sex Trade Act of April 13th 1995
In Belgium, public interest in the illegal sex trade was renewed after a series
of articles and a book under the title "Ze zijn zo lief, meneer" (‘They’re so sweet, you
know’), written by journalist Chris De Stoop for Knack magazine, were published. The
book, coupled with the unwavering efforts of Patsy Sörensen in exposing the
international mechanisms behind this illicit trade and the terrible exploitation of the
victims that goes on behind the scenes, has kept the problem on the public agenda.
In the wake of strong public reaction, Minister Vande Lanotte requested the
formation of a special investigation committee in the House of Representatives,
charged with examining proposals for a structural policy on combating the international
trade in women. After being amended by the Justice Committee and reviewed in the
Chamber, the proposal towards setting up a special parliamentary investigation
committee - charged with investigating proposals for a structural policy on combating
and eradicating the illegal sex trade - was approved on November 26th 1992 at a full
meeting of the Chamber. The work of the investigation committee led to the act of
March 27th 1995 allowing the insertion of article 380quinquies into the penal code and
the removal of article 380quater, subsection 2, from both the penal code and the act of
April 13th 1995 concerning the fight against the illegal sex trade and child
pornography. Since the establishment of the parliamentary investigation committee, a
number of additional measures were taken which together with the new law guarantee a
coherent policy in combating/the fight against the sex exploitation trade.
As far as the new law is concerned, it should be remarked that the legislator
- has made a clear distinction between the trade aimed at sexual exploitation
and that aimed at economic exploitation;
- has given particular attention to the protection of minors and to the social
position of prostitutes;
- has made every effort to make life as difficult as possible for those who
benefit financially from all kinds of sexual abuse and exploitation.
Article 11, § 5, as enforced by article 11 of the Royal Decree from June 16th
1995 explaining the task and competence of the Centre for Equal Opportunities and
Against Racism in matters regarding the international sex trade, and the
implementation of article 11, § 5, of the act of April 13th 1995 1995 concerning the
fight against the illegal sex trade and child pornography, states that certain public
welfare societies and organisations are entitled by royal permission to go to court in all
cases resulting from the implementation of the new law.
Not withstanding the fact that article 11 of the aforementioned Royal Decree clearly
states that the decision on granting or withholding the special permission should be
made clear to the applicant within six months after the application date, we have still
not received any reply from the Minister of Justice despite several notices by registered
mail. At the time of writing - January 1997 - we had just been informed that special
permission had been granted; it had been a long time in coming. In 1997 we will have
to decide if and when to make practical use of it. Gaining special permission is one
thing, having/getting the necessary financial means to use it is another!
5. Relief work performed by Saralek
Initial contact with the victims comes about in a variety of ways:
- Through intermediaries: a friend/client/acquaintance informs us that a
particular woman finds herself in difficulties; we will then try to make an
appointment with her.
- Through incarceration: a woman ends up in prison after a razzia. One of our
collaborators will look her up to assess the situation and inform her about the
possibilities for assistance available to her.
- Some women will phone us or look us up themselves.
- A considerable number of women has ended up at Saralek through coming
into contact with the police, the gendarmerie or the judicial police. In 1996
the government decided that the fight against the illegal sex trade would fall
under the jurisdiction of the gendarmerie. Good co-operation with the state
police forces will therefore become even more important in the future.
For women seeking refuge and protection we try to arrange a place in a safe
house or in the Asmodee shelter, Payoke’s own refuge facility.
Here, the woman is safe and free to tell her story. We try to find out whether
she wants to return to her own country as quickly as possible or whether she wants to
initiate legal procedures in this country. In most cases we try to convince the woman to
put down a formal complaint with the police so they can initiate action.
If she decides to return to her country, we will try to prepare her as best as
- administratively : make sure she has all the necessary papers to go back to
- financially : we offer to pay for the journey home or put in a request for
repatriation by the International Organisation for Migration (I.O.M.).
- psychologically : we try to prepare them for possible reactions from family
members and relatives on their return. Many of those who migrate to the
West are expected to come back a rich person; most victims’ families are
unaware of what has happened to their wife, sister or daughter. Often,
victims have to keep quiet about what they’ve been through for fear of being
The women who stay in Belgium receive our help and support in bringing
charges and in their contacts with the police services. We will also put in a request for a
temporary residence permit and support them in their dealings with the municipal
Since 1994, Saralek is authorised to give O.C.M.W. (Public Centre for Social
Welfare) benefit support to those women who have no means of support and do not
receive financial help from elsewhere.
In brief, the system works as follows :
Saralek makes an initial decision on whether or not a victim qualifies for
support benefit. If we decide that there is a genuine need, we will pay out a fixed
monthly allowance set by the Ministry of Health. Each month we send a copy of the
official papers of the victim to the health department together with a complete run-
down of the case. They then evaluate each case separately on its merits. However, our
applications for benefit support are virtually always successful.
In the first instance we pay out the amount to the victim after which we are in
turn reimbursed by the Ministry. Medical bills are refunded in the same way. This
system of reimbursement posed great difficulties during 1996. Because the Ministry of
Health was extremely slow in repaying the money we had advanced, Payoke
experienced severe financial difficulties during the summer of 1996. To compensate for
these late payments, Saralek was forced to borrow money from other relief sections;
after many deliberations the Antwerp O.C.M.W. branch was also found willing to grant
us a loan, allowing us to keep paying out the victims into the month of September.
Following pay-out rates apply :
- in a family situation : 27.341 Belgian Francs
- for a single mother with underage children : 27.341 Belgian Francs
- for a single person : 20.505 Belgian Francs
- for someone living with another person : 13.670 Belgian Francs
The women are also offered language courses and several recreational
activities are provided for. By having conversations with them we try to clarify their
situation and offer them a new perspective. This is very important because many
victims are faced with a difficult dilemma.
If they decide to return home they have to face up to the fact that their family
is often completely unaware of what they have been through. The victims themselves
often feel ashamed about themselves, which further complicates a possible return.
During their stay with us it is important that these women are offered a useful
occupation in order to promote a more positive self-image.
Our possibilities of providing useful aid and assistance depend to a large
extend on decisions taken by the government. During 1996 our contacts with the
Immigration Service at the Ministry of the Interior in Brussels proved to be very
There are still a number of obstacles left in getting rapid permanent inscription
into the immigration register. This decision is dependant on the advice of the office of
the public prosecutor handling the complaint. Because this process is extremely slow,
this means that many women are obligated to renew their ‘declaration of arrival’ every
two months. They can therefore only plan for the immediate future, bringing serious
insecurity with it on the part of the victim as well as severe difficulties for Payoke in
providing good social and psychological counselling for the woman in question.
We have good co-operation with the ‘vice squad’ of the B.O.B. in Antwerp
(the Belgian Detective Division is a special investigation unit within the gendarmerie
dealing with serious and organised crime). This gives us the opportunity to fully
prepare the complaint of each separate woman.
We have been doing follow-up work on certain women over a period of
several years. Some women are visited at regular intervals or visit us at our
administrative premises in the Zirkstraat.
As was already the case in 1995, during 1996 the emphasis in treating cases
shifted more and more from quantity to quality. The stories of the women are carefully
checked in order to prevent and eradicate all possible abuse or misuse of the system. In
doing so, we hope to gain the trust of our target group, i.c. the genuine victims of the
illegal sex trade, and provide them with better care and counselling.
Saralek’s sole function, now and in the future, is precisely the giving of
material and moral support to the victims of the sex trade. We want this to be
absolutely clear. We do not aspire to powers beyond this area. At every initial
interview with a suspected victim of the sex trade, we will try everything to ascertain
whether or not he/she is telling the truth; Saralek does not and does not want to
intervene on the part of asylum seekers or people who are still active in voluntary
To end this chapter, here follows a list of the cases handled by us in 1996.
Total number of cases handled : 97
Country of origin Number of cases
The Philippines 5
Ivory Coast 1
Czech Republic 1
Of all female victims, twelve were repatriated on their own request during
1996: 1 Ecuadorian and 1 Albanian woman; 2 Brazilian, 3 Ukrainian and 5 Hungarian
6. Legal residence papers for victims of the sex trade
Victims of the sex trade are legally entitled to the following official
- An authorisation order granting the victims an official rest period of forty-five
days after leaving the prostitution milieu; in practice this means that the victims
are officially ordered to leave Belgian territory within a forty day period. During
this period we allow the victim as much rest as possible and through conversations
try to assess with her (him) whether or not she (he) should bring charges or file a
- A "declaration of arrival" for two or three months is granted if the victim decides
to bring charges before a court of law or file an official complaint or declaration
with the police within the aforementioned forty-five day period. As long as there is
no decision from the prosecution service on whether to go to trial, the declaration
of arrival can be permanently renewed.
- If the prosecutor's office decides to withhold the complaint, a three month
authorisation order to stay in the country will be granted, which means that the
victim is recorded in the Immigration Register (B.I.V.R.: a ‘temporary staying
order’, granted by the Immigration Service). Not many victims have as yet
benefited from these provisions. When a temporary staying order is granted, it
usually takes the form of an extended six month authorisation order which can be
prolonged by a further six months.
For any of these permits to be granted, the victim’s case has to be handled by
an officially recognised and specialised help service such as: Payoke, Pag-Asa or
Sürya; an official certificate issued by one of these organisations constitutes an
- The victim concerned can apply for a staying order of unlimited duration, if the
person against who the complaint has been lodged is summoned to appear before a
court of law. The staying order is only granted if it can be ascertained that the
declaration or complaint made by the person concerned played a meaningful part
in bringing the case.
In practice however, it is unfortunately still regularly the case that consecutive
two month extensions of the declaration of arrival are issued instead; this puts great
strain on the women. Several request for entry into the Immigration Register have
already been send in by us; some were successful.
7. Employment programmes
Policy proposals on this issue are made by the federal Ministry of
Employment. We refer to a circular letter sent out by the federal Ministry of the
Interior and the Civil Service in conjunction with the federal Ministry for Labour and
Employment, concerning the issuing of staying, residence and work permits (work
cards) to foreign victims of the sex trade, as published in ‘Het Belgisch Staatsblad’
(official weekly publication of newly passed laws) dating from the 7th of July 1994.
The role of the Board for Migration and Employment Policy is limited to the
execution of federally imposed policy laws.
Because of the complexity of the problems involved in trying to get a work
card, we would like to clarify certain of the issues involved: if an employee of foreign
nationality wants to work in Belgium, he needs a work card or a so-called ‘permission
to work’. The employer has to be in possession of a work permit in order to employ a
worker of foreign nationality.
A work permit allows an employer to take on a particular foreign worker for a
specified period of time, in most cases twelve months. When a work permit is granted
to the employer, a work card type B is automatically granted to the employee.
A work card type B is a document which allows a foreign employee to work
for a fixed period of time - usually twelve months - for a specific employer or in a
particular branch of industry. The work card type B is granted for a period equal to the
one issued for the work permit.
A work card type A is a document which allows a foreign employee to take on
paid work with any employer. Furthermore, a work card type A is valid for an
indefinite period of time. A work card type A is only granted to those foreign
employees who have relatively close links with Belgium.
In principle, the permission to work for workers of foreign nationality has to
be applied for by the employer; in practice Saralek will often carry out the whole
procedure. The application requires filling out a special application form issued by the
Subregional Employment Services. In case of a work permit the form has to be
returned to the employment service closest to the place of work, in case of a work card
type A the employment service closest to the place of residence of the foreign worker is
the right address to send the form to. The Subregional Employment Service will then
make over the applications to the proper territorial migration authority. If all legal
requirements are met, the Territorial Migration Authority will approve the application,
and the work permit will be sent to the employer. The work cards are handed over to
the local authority where the foreign worker has his residence.
- Persons who have been ordered to leave the country (‘forty-five day period’) have
no right to employment.
- Persons in possession of a declaration of arrival have the right to take up
temporary employment. In this case, the employer receives a provisional work
permit issued by the competent region. To facilitate the finding of a job, victims of
the sex trade can obtain a special certificate from the Flemish Minister for
Employment and Social Affairs, confirming the person’s right to take up
- Persons authorised to stay in this country for longer than three months (Certificate
of Entry in the Immigration Register - B.I.V.R. ‘temporary staying order’) can be
employed with a work card type B by the same employer who got them their work
permit from the competent region (Flanders, Brussels, the Walloon provinces). To
facilitate the finding of a job, they can obtain a special certificate from the Flemish
Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, confirming the person’s right to take
This procedure allows the person to start working immediately, with the sole
condition that within a three day delay an official application is filed with the proper
authorities. The work permit is delivered to the employer, the work card is send to the
So much for the theory. Already in previous annual reports we complained
about the serious practical problems we’ve had to contend with : various women in the
care of Payoke have only been granted a two month declaration of arrival. At every
renewal of these short-term declarations, it takes about four weeks before all the
administrative paperwork is done and the woman in question is allowed to work again.
In practice this means that she can not work for more than four weeks at a time. After
that the declaration of arrival has to be renewed again, which means that the employer
has to contend with another four weeks during which his employee is unable to work.
Little wonder then that many employers are scared off by this and refuse to (further)
employ these people. This clearly shows how practice can differ from theory. Victims
of the sex trade are allowed to work in theory, but are unable to find work in practice.
To try to solve this problem, we were invited in 1996 for talks at the Ministry
of Employment. After these meetings it was agreed that Payoke would send in all
requests for renewal four weeks early. Because it takes about that period of time for the
papers to get through the administrative mill, this would suggest that from then on the
whole procedure should run smoothly and without any further problems. In practice,
however, it turns out that this is (still) not the case. Despite meeting all administrative
requirements on our part, we rarely obtain confirmation of any decision having been
taken by the Ministry of Employment. Frequent telephone calls to the Ministry of
Employment have shown that they themselves are apparently often unaware of why
decisions in certain cases take so long. For 1997 we are planning to take another close
look at this problem.
Employment is a very important part of the assistance we provide to the
people in our care. Employment often contributes to the creation of a more positive
self-image and a more structured and therefore more stable life for the victim.
REPORT ON THEME C: PREVENTION AND AWARENESS-RAISING:
THE ROLE OF NGOS
By Ms Elvira NIESNER (Germany)
I would like to elaborate on the prospects and tasks in awareness-raising and
prevention work through NGOs. Before discussing this point, setting the framework of
the issue of trafficking in persons in the overall social context is required. I will speak
from the view of an NGO-representative (Ecumenical Asian Group - a counselling
office for migrant women in Frankfurt) at the same time being a sociologist
(Frankfurter Institut für Frauenforschung - a gender research institute). I consider
myself committed to critical assessment.
I. Setting the Framework of the Issue
Trafficking in persons is a complex problem which concerns and affects a
variety of interests within society. The term covers crimes against sexual self-
determination committed against foreigners, though mostly against migrant women.
For several reasons, it is difficult to get the issue on the political agenda:
(a) The victims of trafficking in persons are underprivileged, legally as well as
economically. Looking for a better life abroad, women leave their home country.
Abroad, certain restrictive migration laws force them to become illegal aliens, they
no longer possess a legal permit to stay, not to mention the absence of a permit to
work. These are marginalised women who have no way of exercising influence on
the society of the country to which they have migrated.
(b) The demand for trafficking in the countries to which the women migrate is related
to men’s sexual wishes and desires. Since such demands are meant to be satisfied,
we can assume that at least half of society is surely concerned to ensure that this
issue remains a taboo.
(c) Trafficking in persons forces us to look into international economic inequalities, to
relationships of exploitation and dependence between privileged and
underprivileged countries. This is another reason for keeping trafficking taboo, in
order to avoid mentioning structural conditions which might otherwise have to be
In the NGO movement, trafficking is what is known as a "women’s issue"
because the movement primarily developed out of international solidarity among
women. At the same time, there has always been a concern that spanned party politics
and sex boundaries to abolish trafficking. Here, it is a form of moral indignation which
oversteps borders and even institutions (GOs, NGOs) that people regardless of cultural
and religious affiliation, as well as political and institutional groupings, are willing to
combat trafficking in human beings as a form of slavery in the modern age.
The issue and the problem of trafficking in women lies in its being socially
taboo on the one hand and in moral indignation on the other. The first makes it difficult
to get political action taken, the second suggests that allies can be found even in
government organisations. At the same time, the prospects for NGOs of exercising
political influence do exist, firstly because they are in touch with the affected women,
secondly because they have acquired a specialised know-how. Finally, they undertake
networking partly at the interdisciplinary and international levels. NGOs partly succeed
in becoming experts and co-operative partners of GOs in fighting the traffic in human
beings (co-operation between the police and the public prosecutor with counselling
centres, conferences and round tables etc.).
II. What are the tasks of NGOs concerning the issue, what can be done in
relation to awareness-rising and prevention?
To put it briefly, NGOs are supposed to free the phenomenon of trafficking from
its being taboo, they ought to take up the structural problems by scrutinising the
background and causes. Having gained enough data, they should then initiate appropriate
measures and means in order to tackle the problems. The NGO's function is to inform
society about unpleasant social phenomena.
What is the overall actual situation regarding trafficking, from which the
NGOs derive their evaluations for the awareness-rising and prevention? (I have to
ignore regional differences):
The positive sides:
· Trafficking has now become a public issue and is at the same time (often) not a
· A small number of social facilities for women’s affairs have been established in
the host countries as well as in the respective countries of origin. (Counselling
Centres, projects supporting programmes for those who intend to return to their
· In the countries of origin, NGOs have occasionally been successful in setting up
prevention programmes (e.g in Thailand). Awareness-raising programmes have
sometimes taken place in co-operation with the host countries (for example
information brochures at the embassies.
· Networks connecting NGOs on a national and international level have been set up;
at the regional and national levels, co-operation with GO-representatives exists
occasionally (flow of information, working concepts).
The negative side:
· Traffic in human beings still exists, the number of cases has not declined; the
countries of origin are rather varied.
· Measures by the state against trafficking are confined to strategies in fighting the
problem, the issue of prevention is left out. The economic situation in the countries
of origin, as well as the demand existing among men, are not considered in the
measures. Only the symptoms are being treated, not the roots.
· Interest in criminal prosecution dominates state action whereas the protection of
the women concerned (physical and mental protection, life prospects, residence,
work, income) is hardly taken into account at all. The risk involved in evoking
restrictive measures concerning the campaign against trafficking should not be
underestimated (more prosecution, more border control, in this context, sham
marriage will be discussed in Germany).
· The many and varied conditions under which migrant women live are largely
unknown to the public at large because the issue of traffic in human beings is so
predominant. But, there is also prostitution by own decision, and the use of
international marriage brokers may also be a woman’s own decision. Putting
trafficking on the political agenda - NGOs fought a long time for this goal - takes
place at the expense of a stigmatised group of migrant women.
The "Negative Side" illustrates existing tendencies and also dangers of NGO
movements being instrumentalised. Of course, NGOs are not in a position, and nor do they
have the power, to determine action strategies by the state concerning how to cope with the
problem. On the contrary, the NGOs are simply financially dependent on those in power,
and at the same time they are dependent on public opinion.
NGO participation in relevant social bodies indicates democratic conditions.
They resemble economic bodies which are ready to execute measures. It is exactly this
aspect which can endanger the NGO concept in which specialist know-how of the NGOs
could collaborate with the dominating global concepts. NGOs could become
instrumentalised and at the same time a part of the global capitalist system and of its global
Considering these "dangers", it should be of primary concern for the NGOs to
reflect constantly upon their work and to develop, reinforce and maintain their political
activities from the grass-roots level despite the fact that their actions are not in
conformity with society. The following questions should be raised: What is successful
lobbying? Is there any power in order to deliver new definitions and concepts, are
priorities identified and applied? Considering the shortage of resources, what should be
NGOs can strengthen their profile worldwide, if they improve their networks by
becoming professional. This requires:
(a) Attaining a certain degree of generalisation concerning the data and analysis
gained in the basic work. Therein lies the challenge to co-ordinate the work on
the local, national and international levels; thinking and acting locally and
(b) Pursuing the establishment and the cultivation of idealistically motivated work.
The following conduct is to be maintained: Swimming against the mainstream;
insistence on participation and on being heard and being patient.
(c) Removal of substantial (various aim conceptualisation etc.), personal (mistrust
etc.) and structural (undistinguished decision making structures etc.) conflicts.
We will push it forward.
At present, prevention and awareness-raising are the most difficult tasks
confronting NGOs, while they face globalisation on the one hand and we witness how
NGOs are fragmenting on the other.
By Ms Georgina ASHWORTH (United Kingdom)
1. The role of a general rapporteur is to reflect the actions, experience,
perspectives and recommendations of the Seminar participants, in relation only to the
subject of the seminar. Thus the focus of this report follows the title of the event:
Action Against Traffic in Human Beings for the Purpose of Sexual
Exploitation: the Role of NGOs
2. The main objectives of the Seminar were set out in the Explanatory
Memorandum (EG/NGO/SEM (98) 2) in the following way:
- “To define the different combatants in action against traffic in human
beings, and in particular women, so that contacts can be made and
networks established or strengthened. The dialogue between NGOs of
different countries should be facilitated in order to exchange information
more easily regarding, for example, the most successful methods and
possible common projects. It is particularly important that contact be
established between NGOs of different countries which face different but
complementary problems, be they countries of origin, transit, or
destination. The data available show that trafficking concerns mostly
women and participants will be invited to examine this issue in particular.
- To strengthen the work of NGOs as well as the Council of Europe,
through an exchange concerning their mutual activities. By being better
informed of the work of the Council of Europe as concerns, in particular,
its efforts to prepare legal instruments, the NGOs in question could count
on closer co-operation with the Council.”
3. Discussion took place in the following thematic working groups:
A. Participation of NGOs in the action against traffic in human beings:
objectives, roles, tasks and main obstacles encountered
B. Implementing the actions of NGOs on the national and international
levels: evaluation and prospects
C. Preventive actions and awareness-raising: the role of NGOs
4. The Rapporteur has, according to her role, not to impose her own views or
interpretation, but where she did feel that additional comment should be made, these
comments are added and clearly noted as such.
5. Participants in the Seminar included representatives of 36 member States, 3
observer States, as well as members of the Bureau of the Steering Committee for Equality
between Women and Men (CDEG), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe, the Committee of Ministers, the Steering Committee for Human Rights and the
Council of Europe's Multi-Sectoral Group on Action Against Trafficking in Human
Beings for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation (EG-S-TS). Human Rights INGOs having
consultative status with the Council of Europe, IGOs including Europol, Interpol and the
Nordic Council of Ministers, and special guests were also present.
6. The overall ethos of the Seminar was the affirmation of the equal dignity of
human beings, and the equal exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental
freedoms, marked this year 1998 by the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, which provides a context for extra impetus on the subject. The
documentary context for the Seminar included the recent work of the Council of
Europe on Trafficking (1991 to 1997), the Final Report and Plan of Action of the
Group of Specialists on Violence Against Women (1997), the Final Declaration of the
Council of Europe Heads of State and Government of the October 1997 Summit, the
Declaration adopted by the 4th European Ministerial Conference on equality between
women and men (Istanbul, 13-14 November 1997), the Proceedings of the
“International Seminar on Promoting Equality: A Common Issue for Men and Women”
(1997) as well as the recently published report by the Council of Europe on Gender
Mainstreaming. In addition, numerous NGO publications were available.
7. Papers introducing the themes were presented by the Rapporteurs Lin Chew
(Netherlands), Vincenzo Castelli (Italy), Irene Kurolenko (Ukraine), Veronique Grossi
(Belgium) and Elvira Niesner (Germany). The keynote speakers were Lily Boeykens
(Belgium), Caroline Mechin (France), Nina Karpachova (Ukraine) and Hiroko
Hashimoto (Japan). The sessions were chaired by members of the Bureau of the CDEG
and members of the EG-S-TS (Ludmila Bojkova (Bulgaria), Elsa Thorkelsdottir
(Iceland), Eberhard Desch (Germany), Justice Joseph Filletti (Malta) and Agnete
Andersen (Denmark)) (See Programme). All of these, and the participants in general,
contributed to the debate in plenary and to the discussions in the working groups (the
outcome of which is recorded in this report) and to the recommendations. The reports
should be regarded as intrinsic to the content of these conclusions, and the issues and
perspectives they raise have not been repeated here.
8. The discussion in response to the introductory reports paid some attention to
the relevance and meaning of the terms ‘traffic’ and ‘trade’, but focused on the realities
of the buying and selling of human beings, in the context of countries of origin,
transit and destination (also recognising that some countries fell into two or all of these
categories). The general discussion dealt to a lesser degree with the structures and
networks responsible for modern trafficking, although it recognised the scale of the
sums of money involved, and how these were often greater than the funds available in
the formal economy: for example, the figure of 7 billion US dollars per year was given
for Ukraine and a figure for Latvia was given which was treble the annual budget for
the administration of the city of Riga. These amounts can be intimidating and
disempowering, because they also represent the financial power of this form of
organised crime and its capacity to pervert justice.
9. The overall discussion dealt even less with the clients, actual and potential,
although there were some overall recommendations that the issues of gender equality
needed to form the basis of education of boys in order to encourage respect for women,
and to prevent men from developing a sense of women as sex objects and disposable
half-humans. There were several trends in the discussion, with some participants
wishing to focus on prostitution rather than on trafficking for the purposes of sexual
exploitation, and/or on the difference between the ‘abolitionists’ and ‘regulators’ and
the ‘realists’. It was agreed, however, that any migration should be based on informed
consent, and that genuine employment was the best form of prevention, especially
since poverty - combined with patriarchy - was thought to be the major cause of
10. Beyond these preliminary discussions, participants agreed to condemn
trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, which constitutes
a flagrant violation of human rights and an offence to individual dignity.
11. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are very diverse, and this diversity is
reflected in their activities, resources, origins and evolution and their structures. For
example, there are very large and wealthy NGOs such as the Save the Children Fund,
which has belatedly begun to put its considerable resources into combating the trafficking
and sexual exploitation of girls on different continents. There are international or regional
networks dedicated to the broad issues of women’s human rights, from which they may
have developed a specific interest or expertise in trafficking. There are campaigning and
public education organisations, sometimes linked to the experience of the needs of service
provision and to create space for victims or survivors to speak for themselves. There are
also those organisations which provide specific services (legal, housing, shelter, medical
treatment, etc) only to victims. Then there are a variety of professional associations: formal
(such as the International Bar Association of lawyers, or FIDA), informal (such as some of
the nascent women’s legal service providers) and quasi-formal. Finally, there are coalitions
of NGOs, often formed to ensure that complementary skills are available on a subject,
where no one NGO can possibly be expert in all areas or mobilise the resources necessary
for all the different aspects of the work.
12. The activities or roles of NGOs will differ with the location, for example
whether a country is one of origin, transit or destination, although there may well be
common areas of work. NGO networking along the chain of the traffic is extremely
important, as the Seminar participants noted. There are also other variables, such as the
honesty of the police, and therefore the extent to which it is possible to work with
them. Relations with governments vary, often according to the extent to which
governments recognise NGOs formally or informally. These activities, roles and tasks
will also evolve and grow, often to meet growing needs or as the problem seems to
relocate itself, or as they identify different dimensions to the issues, and sometimes in
response to donor pressure. Some NGOs, as has been said, give space and a voice to
those who are otherwise marginalised, some act as catalysts in the formation of
campaigning or service-providing coalitions or collaborative programmes, for example,
between the police, the judiciary, the immigration authorities, legal advice services,
welfare and health service providers (which were more rarely discussed during the
13. As some participants noted, NGOs have to be open, transparent and
accountable to the people to whom they provide services or for whom they work, and
not only their donors, to evaluate their priorities, programmes, activities and evolving
structures to ensure that they also have good governance and are responsive to the
needs expressed. There has been a considerable move in Western Europe, away from
the organisation of services and the voicing of issues by professionals who direct the
activities for the ‘beneficiaries’ without consulting them, towards a more self-
organising, democratic style where the victims/survivors/beneficiaries speak for
14. In this context, Victim Support in different forms was a major activity and
responsibility of many of the NGOs. This takes many practical forms:
- following up personal, police, client or associate referrals;
- immediate and medium-term protection;
- relief and rehabilitation;
- helping to get residence permits;
- helping victims to return to their country of origin;
- helping to prosecute the traffickers;
- lobbying the police for witness protection.
15. The examples of Belgium, a country of destination, and Ukraine, a country of
origin and transit, were particularly relevant models for this debate. In particular, the
Ukrainian situation was described and commented by Ms Nina I. KARPACHOVA,
National Ombudsman of Ukraine. Ukraine was facing a severe social and economic crisis,
which affected women in particular (the rate of women’s unemployment reached 80%).
This situation, combined with the geopolitical position of Ukraine, originated a massive
increase in trafficking in human beings. The Parliament of Ukraine adopted on 24 March
1998 a law amending the Criminal Code and providing for sanctions of imprisonment for a
period up to 15 years with or without confiscation of property (for further information, see
Ms Karpachova’s keynote speech). Both, the examples of Belgium and Ukraine should be
studied with the objective of adapting them in other countries, although in neither are
NGOs fully satisfied about the workings of the new legislation.
16. Other principles and ideas exchanged and emphasised by the participants
- The principles adopted in The Hague Ministerial Declaration on European
Guidelines, April 1997 (European Union) are a useful support, particularly because
they are potentially attached to different funding programmes of the European
Commission, such as Daphne, Tacis, Phare and Lien;
- The ECPAT Code of Conduct for sex tourism, evolved in the context of Southeast
Asia, can also be adopted for use in other countries where tourism is being
- NGOs can lobby Governments to implement the recommendations given below
under the section Recommendations to Governments;
- Use the Year Against Violence Against Women, which the European Commission
intends to initiate in 1999;
- Collaborate with Europol and Interpol, supplying them with information and data,
and requesting their co-operation;
- Collaborate with the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) either through
the head office in Geneva (for general standards and measures) or through the
country offices which exist in most countries.
17. There are very real dangers for NGO workers, sometimes from direct threats
and direct action (cars pushing them off the road) from the traffickers (or their
representatives), against which there is no real protection from the police or otherwise.
There is also the danger of burnout, particularly caused by the strain of providing services
24 hours a day, and dealing with both victims and perpetrators of the most dreadful forms
of violation, abuse, torture, corruption and perversion. The General Rapporteur urged
NGO workers to avoid burnout and to be able to continue their valuable work.
Recommendations to NGOs
18. Contribute to stimulate a political debate on the issue of trafficking in human
beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation at local, national, European and
international levels and in particular:
a Stress that equality between women and men should form the basis of preventive
education in the long-term, to reshape male behaviour and stereotyped perceptions
of women, and to bring about real change in the patriarchal ideology and structures
with which we live at present;
b Stress that NGOs can learn from successes and examples of NGO activities in
other countries (and the identification and elimination of obstacles). For example,
NGOs need to have media and communication strategies to combat trafficking in
women, based on testimonies and real evidence, without instrumentalising the
victim, data, success stories, systemic media monitoring, boycotts etc.;
c Reach out to the "mainstream" international human rights organisations, such as
Amnesty International, International Human Rights Law Group, Human Rights
Watch, etc, since they should recognise their responsibility to become involved.
Also, they have resources, including international lawyers to help define the
parameters of international action, as well as widespread networks;
d Use the "mainstream" UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the
Convention on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Slavery Convention
and the Torture Convention, as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), since these have the force of
international law, and should be interpreted in the interests of women (See
e Use the UN Commission for Human Rights to "mainstream" awareness of the
issue of trafficking and the need for concerted action, and also use the monitoring
committees of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the Human
Rights Committee), the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the
Committee on Torture (and the Special Rapporteur on Torture);
f Continue to lobby for an open complaints procedure under the potential Optional
Protocol to the CEDAW and other instruments, since direct access for women to
complain about human rights violations, particularly in private, are still extremely
g Continue to expand witness protection arguments and methods, with local police,
Europol (from 1 January 1999) or Interpol (and possibly adapting the nascent
methods used for the International War Crimes Tribunal, adds the General
h To create awareness of the dangers in potential victims, NGOs can:
§ show them proper labour contracts, so they demand these when offered ‘jobs’;
§ inform women of their rights under national and international law;
§ provide them with addresses of contact points in different countries where
they might be going;
i To create awareness of the malign realities of trafficking among the public:
§ foster co-operation between NGOs and women journalists;
§ set up prevention and awareness-raising programmes, if necessary in co-
operation with the host country;
§ use existing materials such as the exhibition on sex tourism, cartoon books, or
create their own material;
§ organise actions in schools and advise girls who will be leaving soon of the
dangers, through films, videos and case studies;
§ distribute information brochures at the embassies;
j To co-ordinate their work on the local, national and international levels: thinking
and acting locally and globally;
k To promote and lobby for employment programmes and serve as an intermediary
to obtain residence and work permits;
l To reinforce victim support activities.
19. It is essential that Governments recognise their responsibility to ensure the
protection of all persons from violence and violation of their human rights, whether by
state, legal or illegal commercial bodies, or individuals.
Recommendations to Governments:
20. Governments should:
a Endeavour to treat the main causes of trafficking, which include the economic
situation in the countries of origin as well as the demand existing among men.
With poverty being such a pervasive and direct cause of the vulnerability of girls
and women to the traffickers, economic and migration policies must address the
real reasons for poverty, rather than assume that it is natural phase in economic
restructuring, or transition to a market economy, within the global economic
system (the United Kingdom has introduced the Eradication of Poverty as a
priority for the new Department for International Development, and hopes other
member States of the European Union will follow suit; however, DID has no new
b Take co-ordinated action using a multidisciplinary approach involving all the
sectors concerned (social, judicial, criminal, administrative, customs, law
enforcement, mass media) and NGOs;
c Penalise and close down travel agencies which assist or organise trafficking in
d Sensitise immigration offices to the issue, with the objective of identifying systems
of obtaining visas for groups of young women, false passports etc.;
e Sensitise the judiciary to the scale and diverse dimensions of the problem, so as to
understand also the violation of women’s human rights which is entailed and to
recognise the need for witness protection, to ensure that sentencing of perpetrators
is effective, etc.;
f Sensitise civil marriage centres/registry offices to potential false marriages for the
purposes of sexual exploitation by gaining citizenship;
g Increase awareness, information and education and in particular organise public
campaigns with a gender perspective and underlining the negative effects of
trafficking; these campaigns should target the public (potential clients and victims)
as well as prostitutes;
h Organise awareness-raising actions targeting more specifically local and national
politicians, about the issues and scale of trafficking in human beings for the
purpose of sexual exploitation and its links with negative media images which
accept violence against women;
i Organise special training for members of law enforcement agencies and social
workers from public bodies in the new skills they need to identify victims of
trafficking, advise and protect them;
j Compare systems of punishment and sentencing between different courts and court
systems, for the purposes of ensuring the greatest penalty and thus prevention
k Introduce new criminal law or amend the existing law in order to criminalise and
l Amend immigration laws and administrative practice (e.g. duration of stay, right to
residence and paid work in countries of destination) in order to allow victims to
stay and work in countries of destination at least throughout the duration of the
m Provide full support, assistance and protection to victims who must be guaranteed:
· Access to reception centres or other similar facilities set up by the Government;
· Access to legal and linguistic assistance;
· Access to social protection or benefit from social measures;
· Their right of return to their country of origin and to rehabilitation;
n Introduce or reinforce employment programmes for victims of trafficking in order
to contribute to their rehabilitation;
o Provide sufficient financial resources to all the organisations and NGOs involved
p Facilitate wider national and international networking.
III. COUNCIL OF EUROPE
21. The action of the Council of Europe, as a pan-European organisation, which
upholds the values of human rights, could be instrumental in fighting trafficking and
creating awareness in the member States about this issue. With this in mind, the
participants identified a number of actions, which could be undertaken by the Council
of Europe, or with its co-operation and assistance.
Recommendations to the Council of Europe:
a The issue of trafficking in human beings for purposes of sexual exploitation should
be considered and treated as a mainstream human rights issue;
b The extent to which member States are proactive in promoting equality between
women and men, and in combating trafficking in women should become part of
the reporting/monitoring system of the member States of the Council of Europe.
This recommendation is also made to the European Union;
c The teaching of equality between the sexes as a human rights issue in schools
should be encouraged through the appropriate channels, in order to reaffirm the
human dignity of girls and women, an element which is often missing from
curricula and shapes boys into thinking that women are secondary and disposable
d There should be more collaboration with the United Nations human rights system
on the question of trafficking, as well as with other IGOs;
e A small "Think Tank" of selected NGOs and researchers should be formed with
agreed minimum areas on trafficking and sexual exploitation, to discuss specific
and workable actions against trafficking (above and beyond those outlined within
this document), particularly effective preventive measures;
f NGOs should be granted access to the steering committees of the Council of
Europe and not only to the Parliamentary Assembly, thereby developing the
positive relations pioneered by the CDEG;
g The European Youth Centre, and its network of associations, should be involved in
preventive actions against trafficking;
h The Council of Europe could develop a database of NGOs involved in different
forms of work on the issue of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual
exploitation, in order to facilitate continuous exchange, especially across borders
along the different chains between countries of origin, transit and destination;
i The Council of Europe should make every effort to work towards the adoption of a
Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights enshrining the right of
women and men to equality;
j The Seminar supported the work presently undertaken by the Council of Europe in
the fight against trafficking in human beings, and in particular the Group of
Specialists which, under the authority of the CDEG, is preparing a draft
recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to the Member States.
k Research should be facilitated, both to assess the scale of the problem, and also to
move into more effective prevention by uncovering the causes, both in terms of
conditions (economic and social) and the vulnerability or predisposition of certain
women to trafficking and the methods, for example of recruitment of young girls,
and channels (including the Internet). Research could be conducted on a multi-
disciplinary basis by academics and research institutions in collaboration with
§ identify the structure and networks of trafficking, including links with other
criminal activities, abuse of the Internet (and any other evolving technological
system), and use of other "innocent" participants (e.g. airlines) where
preventive measures can be introduced;
§ collate data and statistics for each country of origin, transit and destination, to
understand the scale of the problem;
§ identify the core points of demand for sexual exploitation, and anticipate
trends (e.g. a policy shift regarding tourism);
§ demonstrate to states where they are allowing traffickers to run their activities
and/or states which are eventually benefiting from these violations of human
§ identify and network other preventive measures based on the research.
22. Governments and the European Union should also note this
Selected references from international Human Rights instruments, other than
those explicitly concerned with trafficking and exploitation, which may be used to
combat trafficking in human beings for purposes of sexual exploitation
Note to non-lawyers: a Convention is a legal instrument and has the force of law in
those countries (“States parties”) which have signed and ratified it (that is, adopted it in
principle), although many countries have not subsequently passed domestic laws to
transfer the international into national legislation, or reviewed existing laws to see
whether they are in conflict with the international, which should override domestic law.
A Declaration is not a legal instrument but has a moral force, which can be used for
lobbying and persuasion in a political context, and sometimes Declarations propose
plans of actions, which can provide strong arguments for government administrative
and legal action.
CONVENTIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS
The Slavery Convention (1926)
For the purpose of the present Convention, the following definitions are agreed upon:
(1) Slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the
powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised
(2) The slave trade includes all acts involved in the capture, acquisition or
disposal of a person with intent to reduce him to slavery; all acts involved in
The Slavery Convention (1956)
Considering that freedom is the birthright of every human being ... no one shall be held
in slavery or servitude
Each of the States Parties shall take all practical and necessary legislative and other
measures to bring about progressively and as soon as possible the complete abolition or
abandonment of the following institutions and practices, where they still exist and
whether or not they are covered by the definition of slavery contained in article 1 of the
Slavery convention signed at Geneva on 25 September 1926:
(c) (i) Any institution or practice whereby a woman, without the right to refuse, is
promised or given in marriage on payment or for a consideration in money
or in kind to her parents, guardian, family, or other person or group.
(ii) The husband of a woman, his family, or his clan, has the right to transfer her
to another person for value received or otherwise; or
(iii) A woman on the death of her husband is liable to be inherited by another
(d) Any institution or practice whereby a child or young person under the age of
18 year is delivered by either or both of his natural parents or by his
guardian to another person, whether for reward or not, with a view to
exploitation of the child or young person or of his labour.
1 The act of conveying or attempting to convey slaves from one country to
another by whatever means of transport or being an accessory thereto shall be a
criminal offence under the laws of the States Parties to this Convention, and persons
convicted thereof shall be liable to very severe penalties.
(a) States parties shall take effective measures to prevent ships and aircraft
authorised to fly their flags from conveying slaves and to punish persons
guilty of such acts.
(b) States Parties shall take all effective measures to ensure that ports, airfields
and coasts are not used for the conveyance of slaves.
1 The act of enslaving another person or inducing another person to give
himself or a person dependent upon him into slavery..... shall be a criminal offence...
International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (1966)
Recognising that these rights derive from the dignity of the human person....
No one shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
1. No one shall be held in slavery; slavery and the slave-trade in all their forms
shall be prohibited.
2 No one shall be held in servitude.
3 (a) No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
See also the Convention on Torture
International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)
b States parties shall undertake to guarantee that the rights enunciated in the
present Convention will be exercised without discrimination of any kind as to race,
colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth or other status.
Further articles may contribute to underline economic causes of trafficking
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
States parties shall take all appropriate measure, including legislation, to suppress all
forms of traffic on women and exploitation of prostitution of women.
For the purposes of the present Convention the term discrimination against women
shall mean any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has
the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise
by women, irrespective of their marital status, on the basis of equality of men and
women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social,
cultural, civil of any other field.
Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
States parties undertake to ensure the child such protection as is necessary for his or
States parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the
care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by
competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health and in the number and
sustainability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.
States parties shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of
States parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and
educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence,
injury, abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including
sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who
has care of the child.
Article 21 (a) Take all appropriate measures to ensure that, in inter-country adoption,
the placement does not result in improper financial gain for those involved in it.
States parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and
sexual abuse. For these purposes take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral
measures to prevent
(a) inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity.
States parties shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to
prevent the abduction of, the sale of and traffic in children for any purpose or in any
CONVENTIONS OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
European Convention on Human Rights (1950)
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
The enjoyment of the rights and fundamental freedoms shall be secured without
discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or
other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property,
birth or other status.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND DECLARATIONS
Recommendation No R (91) 11 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of
Europe on sexual exploitation, pornography and prostitution of, and trafficking
in, children and young adults.
See in particular measures listed below:
1. Recommends that the governments of member States review their legislation
and practice with a view to introducing, if necessary, and implementing the following
A. General measures
a Public awareness, education and information
b Collection and exchange of information
c Prevention, detection, assistance
d Criminal law and criminal procedure
B. Measures relating to pornography involving children
C. Measures relating to the prostitution of children and young adults
D. Measures relating to the trafficking in children and young adults
The 1993 Declaration on Violence Against Women
For the purpose of this Declaration, the term “violence against women” means any act
of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or
psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or
arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the
(b)...trafficking in women and forced prostitution.
States parties should condemn violence against women... should pursue by all
appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating violence against women
and, to this end, should:
(c) Exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with
national legislation, punish acts of violence against women...
(d) Develop penal, civil, labour and administrative sanctions in domestic
legislation to punish and redress the wrongs caused to women...
(k) Promote research, collect data and compile statistics... relating to the
prevalence of the different forms of violence against women...
by Ms Jane Dinsdale, Deputy Director of Human Rights
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the privilege to address this closing session after a very intensive two
days of deliberations on a subject which is so central to human rights: namely, the
violation of women’s dignity and integrity, their freedom of movement, as well as, in
some cases, their right to life. Given the Council of Europe’s principal vocation to
safeguard and promote human rights, the Council is the “natural home” for a seminar
on trafficking in human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation, a topic which
attracted the collective concern of the Heads of State and Government at the Strasbourg
Summit held in October last year.
It is a significant fact that the Heads of State and Government collectively
expressed their determination to combat the sexual exploitation of women. It bears
witness to the fact that the trafficking of women is just as much an intra-European
phenomenon as a global one.
It is equally significant that this seminar, which initially was to have been a
small working forum, has attracted almost overwhelming interest from the part of
would-be participants and the media. This is a positive element in what would
otherwise be a rather gloomy overall picture. It is a signal that society, increasingly, is
no longer immune to these unacceptable violations of human rights and is no longer
ready to sit back as passive spectators thereof. As NGOs working at grass roots level
and as media representatives with a powerful tool of communication at your disposal,
this is the message you have to convey to civil society: society cannot and must not
tolerate the intolerable.
Through your concrete actions in the area of prevention, support and
rehabilitation of victims of trafficking and through your reports and comments in the
media, you can do far more to mobilise public opinion than any speeches or
declarations, my own included.
That is why I am particularly pleased that the seminar, notwithstanding its
enlarged format, has been a genuine working meeting. Through the wealth of
proposals submitted, it has set an agenda for action not only for international
organisations like the Council of Europe, but above all for those working with this
issue at the national level, be they policy-makers, legislators, grass roots organisations
or media representatives like many of you here today.
Although my other commitments have only allowed me to follow the seminar
at a distance, I have been struck by the rich and varied ideas and suggestions that have
For this, we must pay tribute to all those who have contributed to the success
of the seminar, in particular the keynote speakers and the rapporteurs, who set the tone
for your discussions; the Presidents of the sessions and working groups, who skilfully
directed the work. My special thanks go to Ms Georgina Ashworth who has just
summed up in such a masterful manner the debates on this very complex issue. I am
confident she will take your additional comments into account when preparing the final
version of the conclusions, which will be sent to you over the summer. Last, but not
least, I should like to thank all of you for your most valuable input into the debates.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This is the first time the Council of Europe has invited national NGOs
working directly with the victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation to discuss, to
compare experiences and to network. I am glad that your reaction has been so
encouraging and I hope that, over and above the seminar’s discussions, you have made
many useful contacts, that you have learnt from each other’s experience and that you
have built bridges. I feel it is so important for NGOs working on the terrain in difficult
– and sometimes dangerous – conditions not to feel isolated in their own particular
struggle. It is crucial to know that others are engaged in a similar combat, that they,
too, have known similar success stories and similar failures and, above all, it is
important to share problems and good practices. Seen from this angle, the seminar has
also assumed a facilitating function. In such areas, I personally believe that the
Council of Europe, increasingly, has to act as a facilitator within civil society if it wants
to transpose its declared ambitions into reality.
The seminar has amply demonstrated the importance of your work. You have
been pioneers in action against trafficking. You have been instrumental in breaking the
taboo around trafficking and in getting it on the political agenda. That is where it should
be and where it should remain. It is thanks to pressure from groups like you that some
countries have recently adopted legislation in this field. But legislation is only half the
story, albeit an important half because it sends a political signal to society. The other half
of the story is much more difficult, namely achieving effective results. And this is where
many factors come into play, not least the question of attitudes. Here we must confess that
much remains to be done and that we have not yet found effective solutions. On the
contrary, the current statistics would tend to suggest that the number of cases of trafficking
pursues an upward trend. Countries of origin are increasingly diverse and traffickers are
becoming more and more effectively organised in international configurations. These
powerful international networks are increasingly mobile as they take advantage of the
fluctuations in the economic and social situation in a number of European countries. This
means that trafficking is an extremely dynamic phenomenon capable of adapting rapidly to
changing circumstances in terms of both geographic scope and methods employed. This is
also borne out by the fact that the trafficking networks were among the first criminal
networks to use new information technologies as a backbone for their activities.
As I said earlier, trafficking for sexual exploitation is the ultimate violation of
women’s human rights. It impinges on women’s rights to control their own body, to life,
to dignity, as well as on their freedom of movement, and their right to be free from
violence and coercion. As such, it is a mainstream human rights problem and NGOs
combating this phenomenon would do well to place their action squarely in a human rights
perspective. At this juncture, I should express my own disappointment that certain
mainstream human rights do not, as yet, seem fully concerned by trafficking as a human
rights issue. I would strongly urge them to feel concerned and to become more actively
involved in combating trafficking. They can serve as an essential support for the work of
the specialised grass roots organisations by constantly reminding Governments that they
are ultimately accountable for human rights violations and by pressing for effective
national policies to counter trafficking. Moreover, since mainstream human rights
organisations are not perceived as “women’s NGOs” - contrary to the specialist grass roots
organisations - they can do much to get this issue out of the women’s ghetto and
demonstrate that this is an issue of concern for society as a whole. Since “mainstreaming”
is a fashionable word at the moment, the role of the human rights NGOs can be to
mainstream this issue into the human rights concerns of society.
I shall not claim to pick up all the ideas advanced at this seminar but I would like
to say a word or two about follow-up in the Council of Europe, including proposals
addressed specifically to it.
I would particularly stress the idea of establishing a database of
international and national NGOs combating trafficking for sexual exploitation,
the vital need for public information campaigns, as well as co-operation with
journalists and other media professionals. All these ideas will be discussed further
within the competent bodies of the Council of Europe.
Furthermore, the work on this issue will be pursued as already planned: a
workshop for media professionals will be held on the subject in Strasbourg at the end
of September 1998 and the Multisectoral Group of Specialists on trafficking in human
beings for sexual exploitation is actively preparing a draft recommendation to be
adopted by the Committee of Ministers. It will contain guidelines for national
legislation and policies in countries of origin, transit and of destination.
At this stage, we anticipate that the Recommendation will put emphasis on
prevention. To date, combating trafficking has mostly involved assisting the victims of
trafficking. As one of the seminar reports has eloquently explained, the “symptoms” of
trafficking have been treated, but far less has been done to prevent it from happening.
Much more research is needed on the root causes of trafficking and much more action
must be taken in the field of prevention, information, awareness-raising. I very much
hope that the future Recommendation will set the tone for a much needed change of
Finally, to conclude, I would merely stress that, if we are seriously to tackle
trafficking, there is a need for concerted action at intergovernmental, governmental and
non-governmental levels. The traffickers are able to adapt quickly: those who work
against trafficking must join forces and follow suit.
Thank you for your attention.
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
1. MEMBER STATES OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Ms Jeta KATRO BELULI, President of the Women’s Development Association, TIRANA
Ms Lajla PERNASKA, Programme Director, Fédération de la Femme albanaise, Rruga Mihal
Grameno Nr 55, TIRANA
Mme Sara RODRIGUEZ-TORAL, LEFÖ, Lateinamerikanische Emigrierte Frauen in Österreich,
Ms Silvia VIDMAR, Office of the Minister for Women's Affairs and Consumer Protection,
Ballhausplatz 1, A-1014 VIENNA
Mr Stephan MÜLLER, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, Hessgasse 1, A-1010
Mme Martine CHAUMONT, Collaboratrice, Cabinet du Ministre de l'Emploi, du Travail et de la
Politique de l'Egalité des Chances, 51-53 Belliardstraat, B-1040 BRUXELLES
Mme Annie DE WIEST, Responsable, Service Egalité des Chances, Ministère de la Culture et
des Affaires sociales, Communauté française, 44 Bd Léopold II, B-1080 BRUXELLES
M. Pierre DUMONT, 17 rue de Tongre, B-4340 OTHEE
Ms Ankica SELAK, Collaboratrice, SÜRYA, Organisation spécialisée pour l'accueil,
l'accompagnement et l'hébergement des victimes de la traite internationale des êtres humains, 7
rue Hors-Château 28, B-4000 LIEGE
Mr Johan WITTERS, PAG-ASA, ASBL, rue St Christophe 38, B-1000 BRUSSELS
Ms Vessela DJAROVA, Vice President of the Bulgarian Women's Union, Dondukov Blvd 9,
Ms Jivka MARINOVA, Bulgarian Centre for Human Rights, Rakovski Str 163, PB 433, SOFIA
Ms Martina BELIC, Vice-co-ordinator, B.a.B.e., Women’s Human Rights Group, Prilaz Gjure
Dezelica 26/II, 10 000 ZAGREB
Ms Lovorka MARINOVIC, Women's Group of ToD, Republike Austrije 19, 10 000 ZAGREB
Ms Soteroulla CHARALAMBOUS, General Secretary of the Women's Department of the
Pancyprian Labour Federation, 31-35 Archermos Street, PO Box 1885, NICOSIA
Mrs Joanna PILAVAKI-ACHILLEOS, Assistant General Secretary, Women's Bureau of the
Democratic Labour Federation of Cyprus, Byron Avenue, PO Box 1625, 1090 NICOSIA
Ms Maria TAPPA, Cyprus Workers' Confederation, Women's Section, 11 Strovolos Avenue,
2018 Strovolos, NICOSIA
Ms Bärbel BUTTERWECK, LA STRADA, Post Box 18, CZ - 150 00 PRAGUE 5
Ms Kira APPEL, The Danish Equal Status Council, Tordenskjoldsgade 273, PO Box 1519, DK-
1020 COPENHAGEN K
Ms Nina ELLINGER, Danish Association for Development Co-operation, Borgergade 14,
DK1300 COPENHAGEN K
Ms Dorit OTZEN, "REDEN", YWCA's Social Work, Gasvaerusvej 24, 1656 COPENHAGEN
Ms Merle KRIGUL, Family Planning Association, Vabaduse Square 7, EE0001 TALLINN
Ms Riina KÜTT, Women's Training Centre, 21 Sütiste Tee, EE034 TALLINN
Ms Teresita RUUTU, Finnish Filipino Society, Ukonkivenpolku 3 E, 016010 VANTAA
Mme Monique BOUAZIZ, Conseil Européen des Fédérations WIZO,100 rue de Rennes, F-
Mme Isabelle COLLOT, Permanente, Responsable, Mouvement du Nid, 1 Quai St Jean, F-67000
Mme Bernice DUBOIS, Secrétaire Générale adjointe, Conseil Européen des Fédérations
WIZO,100 rue de Rennes, F-75006 PARIS
Mme Nicole GAYET, Educatrice, Responsable, Mouvement du Nid, 1 Quai St Jean, F-67000
Mme Michèle HERVIEUX, Adjoint au Représentant Permanent, Représentation Permanente de
la France auprès du Conseil de l'Europe, 40 rue de Verdun, F-67000 STRASBOURG
Mme Catherine LAURENT, Préfecture, 5 Place de la République, F-67000 STRASBOURG
Mme Anne-Marie LEDEBT, Mouvement du Nid, 8 bis rue Dagobert, BP 63, F-92114 CLICHY
Ms Meredith McGOWAN, Mouvement pour l'Abolition de la Prostitution et de la Pornographie
(MAPP), BP 215, F-75226 PARIS CEDEX 05
Mme Malka Claire MARCOVICH, Présidente, Mouvement pour l'Abolition de la Prostitution et
de la Pornographie (MAPP), BP 215, F-75226 PARIS CEDEX 05
M. Benoît OMONT, Coordinateur national, Mouvement du Nid, 8 bis rue Dagobert, BP 63, F-
92114 CLICHY CEDEX
Mme Brigitte POLONOVSKI VAUCLAIR, Représentante auprès des Nations Unies à New
York et Genève, Coalition against Trafficking in Women (CATW), 64 route de Diekholzen, F-
Mme Anny ROUCOLLE, Fondation Scelles, 14 rue Mondetour, 75001 PARIS
Mme Elisabeth SALVARESI, Coordination Française pour le Lobby européen des Femmes,
CLEF, 100 rue de Rennes, F-75006 PARIS
M. Philippe SCELLES, Président, Fondation Scelles, 14, rue Mondétour, F-75001 PARIS
M. P. Marcel SCHAEFFER, Responsable, Mouvement du Nid, 1 Quai St Jean, F-67000
Mme Danielle SARFATI, Conseil Européen des Fédérations WIZO,100 rue de Rennes, F-75006
Mme Sophie WIRTZ, Fédération européenne pour la disparition de la prostitution (FEDIP), 8
bis, rue Dagobert, BP 63, F-92114 CLICHY CEDEX
Ms Lea ACKERMANN, Solwodi – Solidarity with Women in Distress, Propsteistr 2, D-50154
Ms Nivedita PRASAD, BAN-YING, Anklamer Str 38, D-10115 BERLIN
Mme Iphigénie KATSARIDOU, Hellenic General Secretariat for Equality on the Sexes, Ministry
of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation, 20 Kaniggos Square, 10677
Ms Lenke FEHER, "Escape", c/o Institute for Legal Administrative Sciences of the Hungarian
Academy of Sciences, Orszaghas u. 30, POB H-1250 BUDAPEST 1
Ms Klara MINYA, Women’s House, Villanyi ut 11-13, 1114 BUDAPEST
Ms Ásta ÁRNADÓTTIR, Organisation pour des abris pour les femmes victimes de violence,
Samtök um Kvennaathvarf, Laekjargata 10, 101 REYKJAVIK
Mme Stefania SCODANIBBIO
M. Giuseppe GIULIA, Caritas Italiana, Via Baldelli 41, 00146 ROME
Mr Andris BERZINSH, President, Latvia Children's Fund, 310-75 Brivibas avenue, LV - 1006
Ms Tatjana KUROVA, President, Latvian Gender Problem Centre, Puškina 1a, LV - 1050 RIGA
Ms Gabriella JANSEN, INFRA, Im Bretscha 4, FL-9494 SCHAAN
Mme Brigitte LEUTHOLD KRADOLFER, Frauenhaus, Postfach 437, FL-9494 SCHAAN
Ms Daiva GRIDZIUSKAITE, Family Support Center of Missing Persons, Association of Human
Rights, A. Jaksto St. 9 - 207, LT - 2001 VILNIUS
Ms Ona GUSTIENE, Coordinator, Family Support Center of Missing Persons, Association of
Human Rights, A. Jaksto St. 9 - 207, LT - 2001 VILNIUS
Mme Marie-Anne RODESCH-HENGESCH, Fondation "Maison de la Porte Ouverte", 2 rue du
Fort Elisabeth, L-1463 LUXEMBOURG
Mme Joëlle SCHRANK, Femmes en Détresse asbl, Boîte Postale 1024, L-1010
Ms Nora MACELLI, Planner, Social Welfare Development Programme (SWDP), 70 Capuchins
Street, FLORIANA VLT15
Madame Arina KRAIJDAN, La Femme pour le Salut de l'Enfant, 1 rue Alecsandri, Ministère du
Travail, de la Protection Sociale et de la Famille, MD 2000 CHISINAU
Ms Aasta B. HAALAND, Network in the North against Prostitution and Violence, Ulsbergkitet
Mr Arne RANDERS-PEHRSON, Assistant Manager, Pro Sentret, Tollbugt 24, N-0157 OSLO
Ms Bjorg SKOTNES, Royal Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, Postboks 8036 Dep N-
Ms Eva STOMNER, The Women's Front (Co-ordinating Organisation for The Coalition against
Trafficking in Norway), Bokeveien, 1771 HALDEN
Ms Teresa BOCHWIC, The Institute for Civic Education and Promotion of Women, Pl. Wilsona
4/87, 01-627 WARSAW
Ms Dalia RODRIGUES, "O Ninho", rua da Atalaia No 68-3, 1200 LISBON
Ms Lucia BRISCAN, Liga pro Europa Trandafirilor N 5, Etaj III, 4300 TG MURES,
Mme Paula IACOB, L’Association des Femmes de Carrière Juridique, Bul Dacia N. 1,
Mme Carmen STANESCU, La Fondation "Omenia", Bvd Unirii, nr 64, Bl K4, ap 142,
Mme Svetlana AIVAZOVA,Women's Movement of Russia, 3/5 Ukrainskiy Bulvar, 121248
Ms Jana MAJERCIKOVÁ, Vice-Chair, Women's Union of Slovakia, Stefanikova 4,
Ms Kristina KOSTKOVÁ, Demokratická únia zien Slovenska, Štefanikova 4, 817 60
Ms Romana ZIDAR, Women's Counselling Service, Masarykova 24, 1000 LJUBLJANA
Mme Rosario CARRACEDO BULLIDO, Comision para la Investigacion de Malos Tratos a
Mujeres, c/Almagro 28, BJ, 28010 MADRID
Mme Asunción MIURA, Directora General de la Mujer, Comunidad de Madrid, Plaza Carlos
Trias Bertrán, 7-5a Planta, 28020 MADRID
Ms Eva Hassel CALAIS, Forum for Co-operation of Women in Sweden, c/o ROKS, National
Organisation for Women's Shelters in Sweden, Box 11099, S-10061 STOCKHOLM
Ms Nina STRANDBERG, Projet Manager, Women's Forum, Kungsgatan 65, S-11122
Ms Martina CARONI, Institute of Public Law, University of Berne, Hochschulstr 4, CH-3012
Ms Maritza LE BRETON BAUMGARTNER, FIZ, Quellenstrasse 25, CH-8005 ZURICH
Ms Doro WINKLER, FIZ, Quellenstrasse 25, CH-8005 ZURICH
"THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA"
Ms Biljana BEJKOVA, Centre for Urban and Media Action of Macedonia (UMAM), St Maksim
Gorki 14-9, 91000 SKOPJE
Ms Özen ALTAN, Mor Cati Kadin, Siginagi Avkfi, Inönü Mah Nisbet Sok, Pinarbasi Apt No
6/5, 80230 Elmadag, TAKSIM
Ms Nina KARPACHOVA, National Ombudsman of Ukraine, 4 Shelkovychna Str, KYIV
Ms Larysa KOBELYANSKA, Head of the "League of Ukrainian Women - Voters 50/50", 3
Panasa Myrnogo Apt 21, 252011 UKRAINE
Mr Vlodymyr YEVINTOV, Director, Ukrainian Centre for Human Rights, 36/1 Melnikova Str,
Apt 436, KYIV
Ms Margaret O'GRADY, Anti-Slavery International, Thomas Clarkson House, The Stableyard,
Broomgrove Road, GB-LONDON SW9 9TL
2. NON-MEMBER STATES OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Ms Marina MISHUK, Belarusian Children's Fund, 31 F. Skoryna Avenue, MINSK 220029
Ms Zinaida VALOVICH-GRIGORYEVA, Deputy Chair of the Belarusian Union of Women, 2
Kommunisticheskaya Str, MINSK 220090
Mr Irakli OKRUASHVILI, Head of the Consultative Programme of the Georgian Young
Lawyers' Association, TBILISI
Mr Lasha TCHIGLADZE, First Secretary of the International Law Department of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of Georgia, 4 Chitzadze Street, TBILISI
Ms Hiroko HASHIMOTO, Associate Professor, Jumonji University, c/o Consulat Général du
Japon, "Tour Europe", Bureau 1.013, 20 Place des Halles, F-67000 STRASBOURG
M. Kunio SHIMIZU, Consul Général, Consulat Général du Japon, "Tour Europe", Bureau 1.013,
20 Place des Halles, F-67000 STRASBOURG
M. Ken SHIMIZU, Consul, Consulat Général du Japon, "Tour Europe", Bureau 1.013, 20 Place
des Halles, F-67000 STRASBOURG
Ms Seiko YAMASHITA, Stagiaire, Consulat Général du Japon, "Tour Europe", Bureau 1.013,
20 Place des Halles, F-67000 STRASBOURG
3. GENERAL RAPPORTEUR
Ms Georgina ASHWORTH, Change, 106 Hatton Square, 16 Baldwins Gardens, GB-LONDON
4. KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Ms Lily BOEYKENS, International Women's Council, 109 Bd du Triomphe, B-1160
Mme Caroline MECHIN, Présidente du CDEG, Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité, Service
des Droits des Femmes, 31 rue le Peletier, F-75009 PARIS
Ms Agnete ANDERSEN, Special Adviser, Ministry of Labour, Holmens Kanal 20, DK-1060
Ms Ludmila BOJKOVA, Deputy Head of the Department of Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Alexandre Gendov 2, 1113 SOFIA
Mr Eberhard DESCH, Regierungsdirektor, Bundesministerium der Justiz, D-10104 BERLIN
Mr Justice Joseph FILLETTI, Mr Justice Joseph A. FILLETTI, Superior Courts, Law Courts,
Republic Street, VALLETTA, MALTA
Mme Caroline MECHIN, Présidente du CDEG, Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité, Service
des Droits des Femmes, 31 rue le Peletier, F-75009 PARIS
Ms Violeta NEUBAUER, Counsellor, Women's Policy Office of the Government, Tomšiceva 4,
Ms Elsa THORKELSDOTTIR, Equal Status Council, P.B. 996, IS - 121 REYKJAVIK
Mme Athanasia TSATSAKOU, Union des Femmes de Grèce, 22 rue Mitropolitou Yossif, GR
Mr Vincenzo CASTELLI, Association "On the Road", Via Aldo Moro 88/90, I-64014 MARTIN
Ms Lin CHEW, Foundation against Trafficking in Women, Pernambucodreef 27, 3563 CS
Mme Véronique GROSSI, Payoke, Zirkstraat 27, 2000 ANTWERP
Ms Irene KUROLENKO, International Women's Club, 1 Mykhylivska Sq, KYIV 252 018
Mme Elvira NIESNER, Frankfurter Institut fur Frauenforschung, Elbinger Str 3, D-6000
7. INVITED GUESTS
Ms Elena ERSHOVA, The Consortium of Women's Non-governmental Associations, Olimpijksy
prospekt 16, office 2383, MOSCOW 129090
Mme Marie-Victoire LOUIS, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS, 71 rue St
Jacques, F-75005 PARIS
Mr Sven-Axel MÅNSSON, Department of Social Work, Box 720, S-40530 GÖTEBORG
Ms Elena TJURJUKANOVA, Institute of Socio-Economic Problems of Population, MOSCOW
8. COUNCIL OF EUROPE BODIES
PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
M. Jerzy JASKIERNA, Président de la Sous-Commission des Droits de l'Homme, Ul Wiejska 6,
Mme Lydia MAXIMUS, Membre de la Commission sur l'égalité des chances pour les femmes et
les hommes, Sénateur, Moutstraat 12, B 2830 WILLEBROEK
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
Ambassador Riza TÜRMEN, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe, 23
boulevard de l'Orangerie, 67000 STRASBOURG
CONGRESS OF LOCAL AND REGIONAL AUTHORITIES OF EUROPE (CLRAE)
9. EUROPEAN UNION BODIES
Ms Françoise MULFINGER-VAUPRÉ, Secrétariat Général, Task-force "titre VI du traité
(coopération dans les domaines de la justice et des affaires intérieures)", Adresse administrative:
N 9, 6/15, Commission européenne, 200 rue de la Loi, B-1049 BRUXELLES
Mr Paul NIJS, Coordinateur Général pour le secteur "Lutte contre la Traite des Etres Humains",
Centre pour l'égalité des chances et la lutte contre le racisme, Rue de la Loi 155 (8e étage), B-
COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
Mme Mathilde VAN DEN BRINK, Comité des Régions de l'Union européenne, 79 rue Belliard,
Mr Christian BRATZ, Bureau Trafficking in Human Beings, Europol, Raamweg 47, THE
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION (ILO)
INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION FOR MIGRATION (IOM)
Mr Heikki MATTILA, Research Officer, Division of Research and Forum Activities, External
Relations and Information, IOM International Organisation for Migration, 17 route des
Morillons, CP 71, CH-1211 GENEVA 19
M. Erwin DE WITTE, INTERPOL, Organisation Internationale de Police Criminelle, 200 quai
Charles de Gaulle, F-69006 LYON
NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
Mr Nils-Petter KARLSSON, Senior Adviser, Nordic Council of Ministers, Store Strandstraede
18, DK-1255 COPENHAGEN K
ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (OECD)
ORGANISATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE)
UNITED NATIONS ORGANISATION FOR EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND CULTURE
UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND (UNICEF)
UNITED NATIONS DIVISION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN
INTERNATIONAL NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS/
EUROPEAN ECUMENICAL COMMISSION FOR THE CHURCH AND SOCIETY
EUROPEAN WOMEN'S LOBBY
Mme Cécile GREBOVAL, Lobby européen des Femmes, rue du Méridien, 22, B-1210
EUROPEAN UNION MIGRANT'S FORUM
INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF WOMEN
Anje WIERSINGA, International Alliance of Women, PO Box 614, 3700 AF ZEIST
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Mme Séverine BOURSIN, Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme, 17 rue
de la Main D'Or, F-75011 PARIS
M. Pierre BOULAY, Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme
Mme Marguerite BLANCKE, Présidente, Regroupement Egalité-Parité-Femmes-Hommes, 139
Bd Brand Whitlock, B-1200 BRUXELLES
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES
INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT AGAINST ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AND
Ms Atsuko TANAKA, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism
(IMADR), UN Office, 150 Route de Fernay, CP 2100, CH-1211, GENEVA 2
Ms Ulrika EKLUND, Youth Forum LSU, Kunsgatan 74, S-11122 STOCKHOLM
MEMBERS OF THE BUREAU OF THE CDEG
Ms Ludmila BOJKOVA, Deputy Head of the Department of Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Alexandre Gendov 2, 1113 SOFIA
Mme Iphigénie KATSARIDOU, Hellenic General Secretariat for Equality on the Sexes, Ministry
of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation, 20 Kaniggos Square, 10677
Mme Caroline MECHIN, Présidente du CDEG, Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité, Service
des Droits des Femmes, 31 rue le Peletier, F-75009 PARIS
Ms Elsa THORKELSDÓTTIR, Equal Status Council, P.B. 996, IS - 121 REYKJAVIK
MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE’S MULTISECTORAL GROUP ON ACTION
AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS FOR THE PURPOSES OF SEXUAL
Ms Agnete ANDERSEN, Chair of the EG-S-TS, Special Adviser, Ministry of Labour, Holmens
Kanal 20, DK-1060 COPENHAGEN K
Mr Eberhard DESCH, Ministerialrat, Bundesministerium der Justiz, D-10104 BERLIN
Ms Adina DRAGOTOIU, General Director for Social Assistance and Family Policies, Ministry
of Labour and Social Protection, 2 Dem I. Dobrescu Street, BUCHAREST
Mr Justice Joseph FILLETTI, Mr Justice Joseph A. FILLETTI, Superior Courts, Law Courts,
Republic Street, VALLETTA, MALTA
Mme Catherine MARCHI-UHEL, Direction des Affaires juridiques, Sous-Direction des droits de
l'Homme, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, 37, quai d'Orsay, 75007 PARIS
Ms Violeta NEUBAUER, Women's Policy Office, Government of the Republic of Slovenia,
Tomsiceva 4, 1000 LJUBLJANA
Mr Hans Christian KRÜGER, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Mr Bosse HEDBERG, Special Adviser, Private Office of the Secretary General
Ms Jane DINSDALE, Deputy Director of Human Rights
Mr Hanno HARTIG, Head of Division II, Directorate of Human Rights
Mme Ólöf ÓLAFSDÓTTIR, Head of the Section Equality between women and men, Secretary
Mme Sophie PIQUET, Administrator, Section Equality between women and men
Ms Karen PALISSER, Principal Administrative Assistant, Section Equality between women and
Ms Penelope TURPIN, Principal Administrative Assistant, Directorate of Human Rights
Ms Amanda RAIF, Administrative Assistant, Section Equality between women and men
Mme Béatrice ANDLAUER, Administrative Assistant, Section Equality between women and
Ms Christina NICOLAIDOU, Administrative Assistant, Directorate of Human Rights
Mme Nadine SCHAEFFER, Administrative Assistant, Directorate of Human Rights
Ms Sophie MAGENNIS, Trainee, Section Equality between women and men
Mme Danièle LEVY-PUECH, Administrator, Social Charter
Mme Claire DUBOIS, Administrator, Social Charter
Ms Susie MORGAN-CUNY, Principal Administrative Assistant, Social Charter
Ms Lanna HOLLO, Stagiaire, European Commission against Racism
Mr Sraso ANGELESKI, Administrator, Directorate of Legal Affairs
Mr Geza MEZEI, Head of NGO Section, Directorate of Political Affairs
Mr Tim LISNEY, Principal Administrative Assistant, Committee of Ministers
Mme Dorothy WARNER, Elle, 149 rue Anatole-France, 92534 LEVALLOIS-PERRET CEDEX