United Nations

A/51/309


General Assembly

 Distr. GENERAL
27 August 1996
ORIGINAL: ENGLISH


Fifty-first session
Item 105 of the provisional agenda*


                             ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN

                          Traffic in women and girls

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                   CONTENTS

                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION ..........................................   1 - 2       3

II.   NATURE OF THE PROBLEM .................................   3 - 18      3

      A. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action .......     3          3

      B. Concept of trafficking ............................    4 - 6       4

      C. Trafficking of children ...........................    7 - 14      5

      D. Quantitative estimates of the dimensions of the
         problem ...........................................   15 - 18      7

III.  NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEGAL NORMS REGARDING
      TRAFFICKING ...........................................  19 - 33      7

      A. National legal norms ..............................   20 - 22      8

      B. International legal norms .........................   23 - 33      8

IV.   CURRENT APPROACHES AND MEASURES TO ADDRESS TRAFFICKING   34 - 53     11

      A. Commission on the Status of Women .................   35 - 36     11

      B. Commission on Human Rights ........................   37 - 42     11

      C. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal
         Justice ...........................................   43 - 45     13

      D. National measures .................................   46 - 53     14

 V.   RECOMMENDATIONS ON FURTHER MEASURES FOR REPORTING .....  54 - 61     16

     *    A/51/150

                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   In its resolution 50/167 of 22 December 1995, the General Assembly
requested the Secretary-General to submit at its fifty-first session a
comprehensive report on the implementation of the resolution, with due regard
for possible measures to improve the reporting procedure.

2.   The Secretary-General considers that the present report is comprehensive
in seeking to deal with all aspects of the issue.  In order to prepare it, he
has built on his report to the General Assembly at its fiftieth session
(A/50/369), which was also made available to the Commission on Human Rights at
its 1996 session.  In order to assess implementation of resolution 50/167, a
note verbale was addressed to all Member States requesting information on
implementation.  As of 22 August 1996, replies were received from 19 Member
States. 1/  The information contained in these replies has been incorporated
into the various sections of the present report.  Information was also
requested from organizations of the United Nations system and that received
has also been incorporated into the report. 2/


                          II.  NATURE OF THE PROBLEM

                A.  Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

3.   While the issue of trafficking has been a matter of international
concern for many years, concern for it is growing.  The Platform for Action
adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women at Beijing on
15 September 1995, 3/ states:

     "The effective suppression of trafficking in women and girls for the sex
     trade is a matter of pressing international concern.  Implementation of
     the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of
     the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others [General Assembly
     resolution 317 (IV), annex], as well as other relevant instruments,
     needs to be reviewed and strengthened.  The use of women in
     international prostitution and trafficking networks has become a major
     focus of international organized crime.  The Special Rapporteur of the
     Commission on Human Rights on violence against women, who has explored
     these acts as an additional cause of the violation of the human rights
     and fundamental freedoms of women and girls, is invited to address,
     within her mandate and as a matter of urgency, the issue of
     international trafficking for the purposes of the sex trade, as well as
     the issues of forced prostitution, rape, sexual abuse and sex tourism. 
     Women and girls who are victims of this international trade are at an
     increased risk of further violence, as well as unwanted pregnancy and
     sexually transmitted infection, including infection with HIV/AIDS."

In its strategic objective D.3, "Eliminate trafficking in women and assist
victims of violence due to prostitution and trafficking", 4/ the Platform
calls for the following actions to be taken by Governments of countries of
origin, transit and destination, regional and international organizations, as
appropriate:

         "(a)  Consider the ratification and enforcement of international
     conventions on trafficking in persons and on slavery;

         "(b)  Take appropriate measures to address the root factors,
     including external factors, that encourage trafficking in women and
     girls for prostitution and other forms of commercialized sex, forced
     marriages and forced labour in order to eliminate trafficking in women,
     including by strengthening existing legislation with a view to providing
     better protection of the rights of women and girls and to punishing the
     perpetrators, through both criminal and civil measures;

         "(c)  Step up cooperation and concerted action by all relevant law
     enforcement authorities and institutions with a view to dismantling
     national, regional and international networks in trafficking;

         "(d)  Allocate resources to provide comprehensive programmes designed
     to heal and rehabilitate into society victims of trafficking, including
     through job training, legal assistance and confidential health care, and
     take measures to cooperate with non-governmental organizations to
     provide for the social, medical and psychological care of the victims of
     trafficking;

         "(e)  Develop educational and training programmes and policies and
     consider enacting legislation aimed at preventing sex tourism and
     trafficking, giving special emphasis to the protection of young women
     and children."


                          B.  Concept of trafficking

4.   What is encompassed within the concept of trafficking and the
exploitation of the prostitution of others is set out in articles 1 and 2 of
the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the
Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. 5/  That Convention refers to
actions both national and international, indicating that the phenomenon must
be seen at both levels.  The concern of the United Nations is primarily at the
international level, but there are clear links with national action.  It
should be noted, however, that since 1949 the concept of trafficking has been
extended to include trafficking for the purpose of other forms of exploitation
of women.  Thus, for example, article 6 of the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women states:  "States Parties shall
take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of
traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women". 6/

5.   This wider view of trafficking and exploitation is reflected in the
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which also includes forced
marriages and forced labour within the concept, and it is the wider view that
is used in the present report.

6.   As noted in the Platform for Action, concern for the issue of
trafficking has been heightened by a number of factors.  First, the increasing
ease of international travel and the growing phenomenon of temporary migration
for work 7/ have meant that opportunities for trafficking have increased. 
Second, the increasing gaps between rich and poor both within countries and
between regions 8/ have meant that many women have become more subject to
trafficking in view of their economic circumstances and their hopes for
increased income for themselves and their families.  Third, the growth of
transnational crime involved in a variety of trafficking, including of drugs,
has meant that these networks have also expanded into trafficking for the
purpose of prostitution and other forms of exploitation. 9/


                          C.  Trafficking of children

7.   There has also been a rapidly growing international concern to deal with
the specific problem of trafficking in children, in part because the problem
is clearly a major violation of international human rights law.  Trafficking
in children, for any purpose, is explicitly prohibited under articles 34 and
35 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (General Assembly resolution
44/25, annex) and is universally condemned.  The prohibition clearly extends
to the girl child.  The perceived dimensions of the problem have led Member
States to begin work on a draft optional protocol to that Convention to deal
explicitly with the sale of children, child prostitution and child
pornography.
 
8.   The problem of traffic in girls is regularly considered by the Committee
on the Rights of the Child in its dialogue with States parties to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly in terms of articles 34
(protection of the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual
abuse) and 35 (prevention of the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in
children).  The Committee, when considering reports submitted by States on the
implementation of the Convention, has on many instances expressed in its
concluding observations its concern about this problem and made
recommendations including legislative measures (such as the reassessment of
the effectiveness of present regulations on exploitation of children in child
pornography; the encouragement to ratify the Convention for the Suppression of
the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others);
studies into the root causes of sexual abuse; the development of
awareness-raising and educational measures to prevent the occurrence of the
problem; the training of professionals involved in the issue, in particular
law-enforcement officials and social workers; the need to accord high priority
to the investigation of cases involving child prostitution; and the
development of rehabilitation and reintegration measures for children victim
of sexual abuse and exploitation.  The importance of international
cooperation, particularly technical assistance and advice, has also been
stressed by the Committee in that connection.

9.   In addition to its consideration of reports by States parties, the
Committee on the Rights of the Child has also devoted attention to the problem
of child trafficking in the framework of its thematic discussions, in
particular those devoted to the economic exploitation of the child, the role
of the family in the promotion of the rights of the child, and the girl child.

It has participated in the preparatory work of the World Congress against the
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children scheduled to take place at
Stockholm in August 1996.  It has also participated in the work of the working
group of the Commission on Human Rights on the elaboration of a draft optional
protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children,
child prostitution and child pornography, and has stressed in this context the
need for increasing cooperation between the different United Nations
mechanisms competent in the area.

10.  In addition, the Secretary-General has submitted to the Commission on
Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its fifth session a report on
children as victims and perpetrators of crime (E/CN.15/1996/10).  That report
included the views of Member States on the elaboration of an international
convention on the illicit traffic in children.  In its resolution 1996/26 of
24 July 1996, the Economic and Social Council, inter alia, requested the
Secretary-General to continue to gather the opinions of Governments on the
elaboration of an international convention or conventions on the illicit
traffic in children and to conduct a survey, on the basis of existing
international conventions, analysing the extent to which children are
protected from becoming victims of illicit international trafficking, for
submission to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its
sixth session.

11.  The International Labour Organization (ILO) has undertaken some research
into aspects of the problem of trafficking in children.  In its reply to the
Secretary-General's request for information, it notes that in Asia there have
been reports in recent years of children from Cambodia, China, the Lao
People's Democratic Republic and Myanmar being trafficked to Thailand and
forced to work in brothels or sweatshops.  ILO indicates that it is not sure
whether the increase or reporting on the problem is a reflection of the fact
that the problem is growing or whether it is a result of increased attention
to the problem at national, regional and international levels.  It goes on to
state that there are reasons to believe, however, that Asia's tremendous
economic growth in recent years may have contributed to the aggravation of the
problem.  ILO indicates that its research shows that, in the short term,
development is likely to increase migration, both legal and illegal by nature,
rather than to reduce it.

12.  ILO, under its International Programme on the Elimination of Child
Labour, has developed a programme proposal that it expects to begin in a
preparatory phase in August 1996, to address the prevention of trafficking in
children in Asian countries.  It will develop and implement a comprehensive
programme to tackle trafficking in children at the country and subregional
level.

13.  The comprehensive programme to stop trafficking in children in Asia will
include:

     (a) Action oriented research to improve an understanding about the
nature and magnitude of the problem; review the ongoing responses and design
strategies to prevent trafficking in children at country and subregional
levels;

     (b) The investigation of the practice, rescue operations, provision of
multidisciplinary rehabilitation programmes (health care, counselling,
education and training, social integration);

     (c) Conducting awareness campaigns at local, national and regional
level;

     (d) Setting up common inter-country mechanisms to tackle the trafficking
problem in both the sending and receiving countries, including the provision
of safe and protective repatriation programmes, and bringing those involved in
trafficking to prosecution;

     (e) Creating the environment for a social movement at the national,
regional and international levels to stop trafficking.

14.  The programme has two main objectives:

     (a) To prevent trafficking in children by launching a comprehensive
programme to stop trafficking in children at country and subregional levels;

     (b) To increase the capacity of governmental and non-governmental
organizations to stop cross-borders trafficking in children in Asian countries
by developing policy to prevent child trafficking and implementing
demonstrative projects at local, national and subregional levels.


          D.  Quantitative estimates of the dimensions of the problem

15.  As has been noted in the case of trafficking of children, there are
almost no reliable estimates of the number of women who are trafficked, from
where and to where they are trafficked.  Trafficking as such is not reported
as a category in crime statistics collected by the United Nations, for
example.

16.  However, many countries are beginning to collect information on the
phenomenon.  For example, the reply of Ukraine to the Secretary-General's
request for information indicated a number of cases of international
trafficking to Western Europe and to other countries in Central and Eastern
Europe.

17.  In its reply, ILO stated that although limited information was
available, over the last 10 years, there were regular reports of girls and
women from Nepal being sold to brothels in India.  ILO went on to note that
the Government of Nepal had estimated in 1992 that not less than 200,000
Nepalese women and girls were working in brothels in India.  A considerable
number of them had been either forcefully abducted or tricked into going to
India and sold to the brothels.  According to Child Workers in Nepal, a
non-governmental organization cited by ILO, between 40,000 and 50,000 Nepalese
women and girls were being forced to work in brothels in Bombay and Calcutta. 
Other examples were noted in earlier reports on violence against women migrant
workers. 10/

18.  The difficulties of addressing the problem without adequate information
on its incidence have been noted by Governments.  For example, the Government
of Kenya, in its reply, suggested that further research was needed for
establishing the magnitude of the problem to form the basis of future action.


      III.  NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEGAL NORMS REGARDING TRAFFICKING

19.  At both national and international level, trafficking in women and girls
is proscribed in laws and treaties.

                           A.  National legal norms

20.  All of the replies received from Governments indicated that steps had
been taken to ensure that national laws penalize trafficking.  This is
consistent also with reports provided by States parties to the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women with regard to
article 6 of that Convention, in which all of those reporting indicate that
legal measures have been taken.

21.  From replies received for the present report, trafficking in women and
girls is variously covered by provisions of the national constitution and the
penal code in Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Colombia, Cyprus, Germany, Greece,
Iceland, Kuwait, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Spain, the Syrian
Arab Republic, Turkey and the United States of America.

22.  Several countries extend the jurisdiction of domestic law to cover
actions of their citizens in other countries when those actions would be
penalized if undertaken nationally, particularly with regard to engaging in
sexual conduct with minors.


                         B.  International legal norms

23.  As noted in the report of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly
at its fiftieth session (A/50/369), there are two major international
conventions that address the issue of trafficking.

24.  The 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of
the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others continues to be the main
international convention on the subject.  Consideration by States to ratify or
accede to this Convention has been a feature of many resolutions on
trafficking, as well as on recommendations made by the Commission on Human
Rights and its subsidiary bodies and by the Fourth World Conference on Women. 
However, after 47 years, only 71 States have become party to the Convention. 
Between 1949 and 1960, 27 States became party; between 1961 and 1970, 11
States; between 1971 and 1980, 10; and between 1981 and 1990, 11.  Since 1990,
12 more States have become party, although 7 of these were successors to
States that had previously been party.  During the period from 1 August 1995
to 22 August 1996, only two additional States (Azerbaijan and Zimbabwe)
acceded to the Convention.

25.  States that are party to the Convention are required to adopt the
necessary legislative and other measures to ensure its application.

26.  For others, ratification is problematic because of the apparent effect
of some provisions of the Convention.  For example, in its reply, the
Government of Australia notes:

         "On the suppression of the traffic in persons and of the
     exploitation of the prostitution of others, although this Convention
     does not require that acts of prostitution be criminalized, several of
     its provisions have the indirect effect of making the practice of
     prostitution illegal.  Such provisions run counter to the legislation in
     some States and territories.  In its views, these provisions also blur
     the distinction between voluntary and coerced prostitution.  To consider
     voluntary sex work and coercive prostitution as the same issue, and
     therefore demand the outlaw of prostitution per se, is to view
     prostitution as a moral issue and to consider sex workers as people
     unable to make informed decisions on their life.  Such a view is
     paternalistic and raises serious human rights implications.  Further,
     criminalization of the voluntary sex industry fosters conditions of
     violence against women sex workers.  It facilitates the underground sex
     industry, leaving women with little or no legal redress for abuse
     experienced during work and militates against such workers seeking
     police intervention in abusive situations.  In terms of industrial
     matters, criminalization of voluntary prostitution also creates the
     conditions for women to be exploited in terms of pay and conditions by
     employers as industrial regulation is prohibited.  This is particularly
     critical in relation to occupational health and safety laws,
     particularly given the danger of sexually transmitted diseases."

27.  The 1949 Convention does not include a regular monitoring system for
compliance by States parties.  Under its article 21:

     "The Parties to the present Convention shall communicate to the
     Secretary-General of the United Nations such laws and regulations as
     have already been promulgated in their States, and thereafter annually
     such laws and regulations as may be promulgated, relating to the
     subjects of the present Convention, as well as all measures taken by
     them concerning the application of the Convention.  The information
     received shall be published periodically by the Secretary-General and
     sent to all Members of the United Nations and to non-member States to
     which the present Convention is officially communicated ..."

28.  In practice, the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery of the
Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination against Minorities of the
Commission on Human Rights has undertaken to review information received under
the 1949 Convention at various points.

29.  In addition, the Secretary-General, in the context of the implementation
of Economic and Social Council resolution 1983/20 of 26 May 1983 on the
suppression of the traffic in persons, has submitted a number of reports on
the subject containing information provided by Member States, United Nations
organizations and other intergovernmental organizations in 1985, 1990, 1991,
1992, 1993 and 1994.  Over 40 Member States provided information of some sort
in these reports.

30.  As noted previously, article 6 of the Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination against Women deals with trafficking.  In
reviewing reports of the some 153 States parties to that Convention, the
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has the authority
to ask questions regarding State compliance with article 6.  During the period
1991-1996, 63 periodic reports were submitted by 58 States.  Of the 63
reports, 80 per cent provided information on elements of article 6.  However,
slightly less than half of the reports mentioned trafficking at all and less
than a quarter provided information on measures taken to address trafficking. 
A larger number of reports mentioned prostitution without reference to
trafficking.

31.  As an example of the type of analysis of trafficking that can be
included in a State party report, the combined first and second periodic
report submitted by Belize in 1995 to the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW/C/BLZ/1-2) noted that there were laws to
deal with both prostitution, as a misdemeanour, and in terms of
brothel-keeping.  The report, however, stated that "there is no direct
legislation that specifically prohibits trafficking in prostitution or the
exploitation of prostitutes.  An exception is the detention of sex workers who
are illegal migrants in Belize, and this action is by virtue of their illegal
residency and employment, rather than due to the nature of their activity". 
The report examines some of the economic factors that lead to the existence of
prostitution, including tourism and the existence of military bases.

32.  In its constructive dialogue, on several periodic reports considered by
it at its last session, the Committee mentioned trafficking only briefly as an
element of prostitution.  It did not pursue the issue of trafficking per se. 
The Committee, however, adopted general recommendations 12 and 19 on violence
against women.  While general recommendation 12 does not mention trafficking,
in its comments on article 6, general recommendation 19, 11/ notes that:

     "14.  Poverty and unemployment increase opportunities for trafficking in
     women.  In addition to established forms of trafficking there are new
     forms of sexual exploitation such as sex tourism, the recruitment of
     domestic labour from developing countries to work in developed countries
     and organized marriages between women from developing countries and
     foreign nationals.  These practices are incompatible with the equal
     enjoyment of rights by women and with respect for their rights and
     dignity.  They put women at special risk of violence and abuse.
     
     "15.  Poverty and unemployment force many women, including young girls,
     into prostitution.  Prostitutes are especially vulnerable to violence
     because their status, which may be unlawful, tends to marginalize them
     ...

     "16.  Wars, armed conflicts and the occupation of territories often lead
     to increased prostitution, trafficking in women and sexual assault of
     women, which require specific protective and punitive measures."

33.  In its specific recommendations, 12/ the Committee recommends:

     "...

     "(g)  Specific preventive and punitive measures are necessary to
     overcome trafficking and sexual exploitation;

     "(h)  States parties in their reports should describe the extent of all
     these problems and the measure, including penal provisions and
     preventive and rehabilitation measures, that have been taken to protect
     women engaged in prostitution or subject to trafficking and other forms
     of sexual exploitation.  The effectiveness of these measures should also
     be described."


          IV.  CURRENT APPROACHES AND MEASURES TO ADDRESS TRAFFICKING

34.  Over the past year, a number of United Nations bodies have addressed the
issue of trafficking and from this new approaches and measures are emerging. 
The Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Human Rights, the
Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and ILO have all
undertaken various initiatives.


                     A.  Commission on the Status of Women

35.  At its fortieth session, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted
resolution 40/4 13/ on traffic in women and girls.  In that resolution, the
Commission called for the implementation of the Platform for Action of the
Fourth World Conference on Women 14/ by Governments of countries of origin,
transit and destination and regional and international organizations, and
reiterated the actions contained in paragraph 130 of the Platform for Action.

36.  In the same resolution, the Commission encouraged Governments, relevant
organizations and bodies of the United Nations system, intergovernmental
organizations and non-governmental organizations to gather and share
information relative to all aspects of trafficking in women and girl children
in order to facilitate the development of anti-trafficking measures, and to
adopt appropriate measures to create wider public awareness of the problem,
and called upon them to take appropriate measures to prevent the misuse and
exploitation by traffickers of such economic activities as the development of
tourism and the export of labour.  It decided to remain seized of the matter
and to examine, at its forty-second session, the reports of the Special
Rapporteurs and relevant organizations and bodies, with a view to making
appropriate recommendations to the General Assembly at its fifty-third
session, through the Economic and Social Council.


                        B.  Commission on Human Rights

37.  The Commission on Human Rights, at its fifty-second session, adopted two
resolutions that are particularly pertinent to the issue of trafficking in
women and girls.  In its implementation of, and follow up to General Assembly
resolution 50/167 on traffic in women and girls, the Commission had before it
the report of the Secretary-General from the fiftieth session of the General
Assembly (A/50/369).  The Commission welcomed, in its resolution 1996/24,
initiatives and action taken by other intergovernmental bodies and events.  It
concurred with the conclusions on the issue contained in the Platform for
Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, and called upon
Governments to implement the actions contained in paragraph 130 (a) to (e) of
the Platform. 14/ It also invited relevant intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations to provide advisory services to Governments,
upon their request, in planning and setting up rehabilitation programmes for
victims of trafficking and in training, particularly human rights training for
personnel who will be directly involved in the implementation of these
programmes.  The Commission will continue consideration of the issue at its
fifty-third session, and requested that the report of the Secretary-General on
the implementation of Assembly resolution 50/167, which will be before the
Assembly at its fifty-first session, be provided to it.

38.  In its resolution 1996/61 entitled "Contemporary forms of slavery", the
Commission approved the draft programme of action for the prevention of the
traffic in persons and the exploitation of the prostitution of others, which
had been prepared by the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery at its
twentieth session in 1995 (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/28/Add.1).  In approving the
draft programme, the Commission took note of differences between States in the
scope of applicability of their criminal legislation with regard to, inter
alia, prostitution and the production, distribution and possession of
pornographic material.  The Commission also invited all Member States to
consider the possibility of taking appropriate action for the protection of
particularly vulnerable groups, such as children and migrant women, against
exploitation by prostitution and other slavery-like practices, including the
possibility of establishing national bodies to achieve this objective.

39.  At its twentieth session, from 19 to 28 April 1995, the Working Group on
Contemporary Forms of Slavery had considered the issue of trafficking in women
and girls within the context of traffic in persons and the exploitation of the
prostitution of others.  The members of the Working Group examined views and
comments on the problem and discussed the issue based on information received
from several organizations including ILO, Anti-Slavery International (ASI),
International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) and Action for Children
Campaign (ACC) on the implementation and follow-up to the Convention on the
Abolition of Slavery and the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in
Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.  The members of
the Working Group, pursuant to paragraph 13 of Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1995/27, 15/ reviewed the draft programme of action for the
prevention of traffic in persons and the exploitation of the prostitution of
others from many perspectives and expressed the view that traffic in persons
and the exploitation of the prostitution of others must arouse the concern of
the international community not only because they remained rife in various
parts of the world but also because they were acquiring new forms and were
being pursued on an industrial scale to a dangerous extent and that it was
necessary to develop a political and social will to combat and eliminate the
problem.

40.  The Programme of Action for the Prevention of Traffic in Persons and the
Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/28/Add.1), which
was approved by the Commission in its resolution 1996/61, proposed that, in
order to prevent the traffic in persons and exploitation of the prostitution
of others, international cooperation must be strengthened and concerted
measures adopted with respect to information and economic and technical
assistance in order to promote the establishment of development and
rehabilitation programmes at the national, regional and international levels. 
Likewise, legislative measures must be adopted and enforcement of existing
legislation must be strengthened.  In this regard, it recommended that
coordination of the programme of action should be carried out by the Centre
for Human Rights in cooperation with the other sections of the United Nations
Secretariat, and in particular the Division for the Advancement of Women, the
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Division
of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and with concerned intergovernmental
agencies, particularly the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), ILO, the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the
World Health Organization (WHO).  It also recommended that cooperation should
be strengthened with the International Criminal Police Organization
(INTERPOL).

41.  The Programme suggests measures relating to information and education,
legal measures and law enforcement, rehabilitation and reintegration and
international coordination.

42.  On the question of regulations and international action, the Programme
states (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/28/Add.1, paras. 39-42):

     "39.  The States parties to the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of
     the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of
     Others should take all necessary steps to ensure its implementation. 
     They should be encouraged to transmit regularly reports to the
     Secretary-General on the implementation of the Convention.  States which
     were not yet party to the Convention should examine the possibility of
     acceding to it.

     "40.  All States should take necessary steps to implement the standards
     and principles that prohibit and punish the traffic in persons and the
     exploitation of the prostitution of others and report on their national
     legislation and enforcement in practice of such standards and practices.

     "41.  All United Nations bodies that consider questions connected with
     the traffic in persons and the exploitation of the prostitution of
     others should examine the problems involved in the application of the
     standards and principles relating to these practices.  To that end, a
     seminar should be organized by the Centre for Human Rights, with the
     participation of experts from various parts of the world,
     intergovernmental organizations (WHO, UNESCO, INTERPOL, ILO, UPU and
     ITU) and non-governmental organizations, as well as United Nations
     bodies such as UNICEF, the Committee on the Elimination of
     Discrimination against Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women
     and the [Division for] Prevention and Criminal Justice ...

     "42.  The Human Rights Committee, the Committee on Economic, Social and
     Cultural Rights, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
     against Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as
     other bodies established under human rights treaties, should be invited,
     when they examine reports submitted by States parties, to pay all due
     attention to the elimination and suppression of the traffic in persons
     and the exploitation of the prostitution of others."


            C.  Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

43.  The Secretary-General submitted a report on measures to combat smuggling
of illegal migrants (E/CN.15/1996/4 and Add.1) to the Commission on Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice at its fifth session.  The report was the
third of a series on the matter, the first report of which (A/49/350 and
Add.1) provided a comprehensive overview of the background and scope of the
problem of alien smuggling, as well as information on measures and initiatives
taken and envisaged to combat the smuggling of aliens; its second report
(E/CN.15/1995/3) as well as its third provided additional information on
measures, drawing on feedback provided by Governments.

44.  During its discussion of the issue, 16/ the Commission reviewed some of
the manifestations of and trends in the smuggling of illegal migrants in
different parts of the world.  The Commission found that an increasing number
of States were being used as transit points for such activity; and that the
time it took for smuggled migrants to move on from the transit points was
becoming longer.  In some countries of destination, violence against migrants
was reported to be an increasingly serious problem, manifested in racist and
xenophobic crimes.  There were also increasingly serious problems involved in
the trafficking of women, including violence against trafficked women who did
not turn to authorities for assistance, for fear of discovery and deportation.

45.  A draft resolution on criminal justice action to combat the organized
smuggling of illegal migrants across national boundaries was withdrawn by the
sponsors, but work on this topic will continue in the next session of the
Commission, on the basis of previous mandates.


                             D.  National measures

46.  In paragraphs 2 to 6 of its resolution 50/167, the General Assembly
requested Governments to undertake measures to address the issue of
trafficking in women and girls.  In analysing the responses of the 19 Member
States responding to the request for information on the implementation of this
resolution, the comments and views of Governments have been considered in
terms of prevention, protection and rehabilitation and other actions.

Prevention

47.  In paragraph 2 of resolution 50/167, the General Assembly appealed to
Governments to take appropriate measures to address the root factors,
including external factors, that encourage trafficking in women and girls for
prostitution and other forms of commercialized sex, forced marriages and
forced labour.  In paragraph 3, the Assembly invited Governments to combat
trafficking through nationally and internationally coordinated measures.  Most
of the countries replying identified the need to take preventive measures
against trafficking through legislation.  While a few countries indicated that
they had initiated studies on the causal factors with the aim of developing
appropriate preventive legislation, others referred to the constitution and
penal code as providing measures to deter traffickers.  However, the replies
suggest that these laws focus largely on traffic in and prostitution of
minors.

48.  Several countries identified what they considered to be the root causes
of trafficking in their replies and fewer indicated that they had taken
measures targeted at eliminating the root factors.  Only a few countries
reported setting up both national and transnational preventive measures to
deter their citizens from trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation
and commercialization of women and girls both within and beyond their country.

Most of the countries indicated that they had established bilateral, regional
or multilateral agreements to address the problem of trafficking or indicated
a willingness to support international cooperative and coordinating efforts to
address the issue of trafficking.

49.  Only two of the countries responding had considered preventive measures
that addressed the broad spectrum of activities that constitute trafficking
including forced marriages, forced labour, sex trade, sex tourism and other
forms of exploitation of women and girls.  A few countries indicated that they
had strengthened criminal codes to penalize nationals who had engaged in
sexual exploitation of minors in other countries.

Protection and rehabilitation

50.  Recognizing the need to protect and assist victims of trafficking, the
General Assembly, in paragraphs 3 to 5 of resolution 50/167, invited
Governments to establish or strengthen institutions for the protection of the
victims of trafficking in women and children, and to ensure for victims
necessary assistance, including legal support services that were
linguistically and culturally accessible for their full protection, treatment
and rehabilitation.  It further invited Governments to consider the
development of standard minimum rules for the humanitarian treatment of
trafficked persons, consistent with human rights standards, and to support
comprehensive practical approaches by the international community to assist
women and children victims of transnational trafficking to return home and be
reintegrated into their home societies.

51.  While many of the countries replying referred to national laws that
protect their citizens from exploitation, only a few indicated that they had
taken measures to provide assistance to victims of trafficking by organizing a
documentation and weekly inspection programme for aliens, counselling/drop-in
centres, safe residence/home or pilot rehabilitation project.

Other actions

52.  Many of the countries providing information indicated renewed efforts to
strengthen existing national legislation, training of police and other law
enforcement agents to identify and respond to the growing problems of
international trafficking.  While a few countries indicated that they had set
up task forces to address the problems of trafficking, many indicated a
willingness to support internationally coordinated measures, while a few were
studying the problem with a view to developing national measures that would
address the issue of trafficking for prostitution.

53.  A number of Governments indicated, inter alia, that there was a need to
review, enact and enforce laws against trafficking, to institute stiff
penalties for trafficking, including asset forfeiture, to share information
regarding known and suspected trafficking and to mount public information
programmes on the issue in source and destination countries.  A few suggested
the need for regional cooperative approaches to combat organized large-scale
trafficking.


             V.  RECOMMENDATIONS ON FURTHER MEASURES FOR REPORTING

54.  In its resolution 50/167, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-
General to make recommendations on possible measures for improving the
reporting procedure.  Reporting on the implementation of international
instruments is an important means of encouraging and monitoring State
compliance with international norms.

55.  It can be observed that, in terms of the two main international
conventions that address trafficking in women and girls, the 1949 Convention
for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the
Prostitution of Others and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women, the current reporting process does not
adequately monitor either the dimensions of the issue or State compliance with
international norms.

56.  The 1949 Convention lacks a monitoring body to which reports should be
sent and, moreover, involves less than half of the States Members of the
United Nations as parties.  The question might fairly be asked why this
Convention is not succeeding in its original purpose.  There are clearly
elements in the treaty itself that make it difficult for many States to sign,
ratify or accede to it.  It may be opportune to consider the possibility of
revising the treaty with a view to making it more effective in terms of both
increasing the numbers of States parties and the creation of a regular
reporting and monitoring mechanism.

57.  It should be recognized, however, that the revision of such a treaty, as
is often the case with international conventions, is a long process since it
would imply a degree of renegotiation, the difficulty of which cannot at
present be assessed, followed by a process of ratification.  As an interim
measure, Member States may wish to request the Secretary-General to seek
information from States parties to the 1949 Convention, as well as to
publicize and analyse the information provided as a means of encouraging
further implementation by those States.

58.  With regard to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women, where a regular reporting and monitoring
mechanism exists, the issue is to ensure that States parties to that
Convention report on measures taken to suppress trafficking.  This type of
reporting could, as in other areas where the treaty itself is not explicit as
to the types of measures that should be taken, be assisted by guidance from
the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, as the
monitoring body.

59.  Responsibility within the Secretariat for supporting these two
conventions is divided between the Centre for Human Rights for the 1949
Convention and the Division for the Advancement of Women with respect to the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  A
regular exchange of information on reporting by States as part of the annual
joint work plan between the two Secretariat units, as called for in Commission
on the Status of Women resolution 39/5 and Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1996/48 could assist the Centre in its support to the
implementation of the Programme of Action for the Suppression of the Traffic
in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.

60.  As is the case with traffic in children, which by definition includes
the girl child, there is little reliable empirical information available on
the extent and location of the problem of trafficking.  At the international
level, this could be addressed in part by including trafficking as one of the
categories for reporting by Member States in the context of crime statistics.

61.  Much of the existing information on trafficking has been assembled by
concerned non-governmental organizations.  Under existing procedures, these
organizations should make this information available to the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women in the context of monitoring
reports of States parties to that Convention, as well as to the Commission on
Human Rights and its subsidiary bodies, in the context of monitoring the
implementation of the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in
Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others and other
related conventions.


                                     Notes

     1/  Australia, Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Colombia, Cyprus, Greece,
Germany, Iceland, Kenya, Kuwait, Malta, Mexico, Philippines, Spain, Syrian
Arab Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America.

     2/  Division for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Centre for
Human Rights, the Department for Development Support and Management Services,
the Institute for Research and Training for the Advancement of Women, the
United Nations Population Fund and the International Labour Organization.

     3/  A/CONF.177/20, chap. I, resolution 1, annex II, para. 122.

     4/  Ibid., para. 130.

     5/  Article 1 states:

               "The Parties to the present Convention agree to punish any
         person who, to gratify the passions of another:

               "1.  Procures, entices or leads away, for purposes of
         prostitution, another person, even with the consent of that person;

               "2.  Exploits the prostitution of another person, even with the
         consent of that person."

     Article 2 states:

               "The Parties to the present Convention agree to punish any
         person who:

               "1.  Keeps or manages or knowingly finances or takes part in
         the financing of a brothel;

               "2.  Knowingly lets or rents a building or other place or any
         part thereof for the purpose of the prostitution of others."

     6/  General Assembly resolution 34/180, annex.

     7/  Trends in temporary migration were documented by the
Secretary-General in his reports on violence against women migrant workers
(A/49/354 and A/50/378).

     8/  See, for example, the analysis of growing income differentials both
within and between States in the 1996 Human Development Report.

     9/  See Naples Political Declaration and Global Action Plan against
Organized Transnational Crime (A/49/748, annex, sect. I.A) approved by the
General Assembly in its resolution 49/159, especially the second and third
preambular paragraphs, and paragraph 12 of the Declaration and Global Action
Plan.

     10/ See, for example, Asia Watch and the Women's Rights Project, "A
Modern Form of Slavery:  Trafficking of Burmese Women and Girls into Brothels
in Thailand", New York, Human Rights Watch, 1991.

     11/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-seventh Session,
Supplement No. 38 (A/47/38), chap. I, paras. 13-16.

     12/ Ibid., para. 24.

     13/ Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1996,
Supplement No. 6 (E/1996/26), chap. I, sect. C.2.

     14/ A/CONF.177/20 and Add.1, chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.

     15/ Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1995,
Supplement No. 3 (E/1995/23 and Corr. 1 and 2).

     16/ Ibid., 1996, Supplement No. 10 (E/1996/30), para. 23.


                                     -----

    	

 


This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last updated: 06 December 1999 by DESA/DAW
Copyright 1999 United Nations