ADVANCE UNEDITED VERSION
22 August 2000
Advancement of women
Trafficking in women and girls*
Report of the Secretary-General
Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/116 of 9 December 1998, the present report provides information about steps taken within several forums of the United Nations, as well as regionally and nationally, to implement the recommendations for action contained in that resolution. The report identifies areas where further efforts are needed.
* Late submission as a result of late inputs to information requested by the Secretary General
|II. National measures|
|III. Measures taken within the United Nations system|
|A. Twenty-third special session of the General Assembly on Beijing +5|
|B. Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders|
|C. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice|
|D. Commission on Human Rights|
|E. Sub-Commission on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights|
|F. Draft Convention against Transnational Crime|
|G Human rights treaty bodies and other human rights mechanisms|
|H. Activities of United Nations regional commissions, specialized agencies and other entities|
|IV. Activities of other international bodies|
- The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/116 of 9 December 1998 on trafficking in women and girls in which the Assembly requested a report at its fifty-fifth session on the implementation of that resolution. The report is based, inter alia, on information contained in the replies to a request of the Secretary-General for information on the issue circulated during 2000 to Member States, specialized agencies and other United Nations entities, as well as other intergovernmental organizations.
- Since the adoption of the resolution, trafficking in women and girls has been the focus of attention within the United Nations system, as well as regionally and nationally. Trafficking has been the subject of a large number of governmental and non-governmental organization consultations, including a regional consultation of the ten ASEAN countries, international and regional intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations held in Manila, Philippines in March 2000 under the auspices of the Asian Regional Initiative against Trafficking in Women and Girls (ARIAT). International and national non-governmental organizations and other parts of civil society have been responsible for the creation of education campaigns to prevent trafficking and sensitize communities to the existence of the issue and in the provision of assistance and support to victims of trafficking. Trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation has also been addressed in a number of reports and monographs, including the Final Report of the International Organization for Migration on the "Analysis of Data and Statistical Resources Available in the European Union Member States on Trafficking in Humans, Particularly in Women and Children for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation" issued in June 1998 and the United States Department of Central Intelligence Analyst Program Monograph on "International Trafficking in Women to the United States: A Contemporary Manifestation of Slavery and Organized Crime" published in April 2000.
- The 1999 Human Development Report identified the trafficking of women and girls as one of the criminal activities which had increased with the globalization, while the Global Report on Crime and Justice published by the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention in the same year suggested that although statistics were limited, trafficking in women and children particularly affected countries of Asia, Europe and Latin America, and to a lesser extent countries in Africa. The attention that the issue has attracted over the last two years has led to the introduction of concrete measures at national, regional and international levels to confront the issue. Nevertheless, further action is required at all levels to address what appears to be a growing problem. In particular, a mechanism is required within the United Nations system to coordinate actions. In addition, the compilation and dissemination of successful interventions and strategies to confront the various dimensions of the problem as called for by the General Assembly in its resolution 53/116 should be a priority.
II. National measures
- Measures introduced by Member States to address trafficking in women and girls were summarized in the report of the Secretary-General on review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action submitted to the third session of the Commission on the Status of Women acting as the preparatory committee for the special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century".
- This report, based predominantly on replies of Member States to the questionnaire of the Secretary-General on implementation of the Platform for Action, draws attention to education campaigns directed at potential victims which have been implemented in several countries, and the establishment of national committees, task forces or plans of action to address the issue. Training for front-line agencies on how to address trafficking in women and children, and the development of procedures in this context have also been introduced by several Member States, as have projects on counselling, guidance and support of women affected by trafficking.
- The report also indicates that protective measures, including repatriation and airport assistance have also been introduced by a number of countries, with one member State having put in place pre-deployment programmes for those seeking to migrate to work, as well as mandatory orientation programmes on migration in elementary and secondary school curricula. New laws, which address trafficking, including through promises of employment or arranged marriages have also been introduced by several States, with a number having amended their immigration legislation to grant victims of trafficking the possibility of limited residence permits for humanitarian reasons and so that they can be available as witnesses during prosecution of traffickers, and file civil claims against them. Information is also provided in the report on the implementation of the Hague Ministerial Declaration on the European Guidelines for Effective Measures to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Women for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation adopted in 1997, including in the Netherlands and Sweden where, pursuant to the Declaration, a national rapporteur on trafficking has been nominated.
- Information provided by Member States in response to the Secretary-Generals request with regard to resolution 53/116 also indicated that several Member States have created or continue to support coordinating bodies which address trafficking in persons.
- Belgium reported that, in 1999, new general instructions were issued by the Minister of Justice to ensure application of earlier directives concerning trade in human beings and child pornography. The general instruction was aimed at ensuring the development of uniform policies in this context, and also envisaged the creation of a national database on trafficking based on standard data collection forms. Information on trafficking contained in the database will be made available to the Central Unit on Trade in Human Beings of the Central Bureau for Investigations which has been operative since 1992.
- In Denmark a public and international hearing on trafficking organized by the Equal Status Council and the issuance by the Copenhagen police in 1999 of an operation plan to combat crime related to trafficking in women and prostitution, have been followed by the establishment by the Minister of Equality of an interdepartmental working group to strengthen and coordinate efforts in this area. In 1999, the Belarus Ministry of Internal Affairs created a new department responsible for issues such as trafficking. Since its establishment, an international seminar on trafficking in women and girls was convened by this department and it has become involved in gathering statistical information on the problem.
- In Thailand, a Memorandum of Understanding on Common Guidelines of Practices for Agencies concerned where Women and Children are Victims of Human Trafficking was agreed in 1999 with the aim of assisting women and children victims, including through the provision of temporary shelter and rehabilitation in their home countries. The Thai Department of Women also created a National Secretariat on Trafficking in Women and Children in the Mekong Sub-region. An interagency national committee was created in 1998 by the Mexican Government to carry out the Plan of Action against Sexual Exploitation, which seeks inter alia to prevent trafficking in children and reintegration of victims.
- A number of Member States have developed strategies to assist victims of trafficking. In Austria, a victim protection facility has been established which supports trafficked women in psychological, health, legal and family matters and with respect to their return to their countries of origin. In Belgium, for example, officially-subsidized reception centers, offering psychological and social assistance , as well as legal aid, have been established in each region.
- Eighty-four reception homes have been set up in Thailand and provide psychological assistance to victims for a six-month period. In addition, welfare protection and vocational development centres for women, which provide assistance and vocational training, including assistance for the victims reintegration into society operate in Thailand, while short vocational courses for vulnerable young women and ex-prostitutes are also provided as a preventive measure. Job-placement assistance is also provided, as are loans for income-generating projects.
- Through its National Programme of Action for Children, Mexico has provided assistance to repatriated minors, including through ensuring the safe and orderly return of those who migrated over the border. A network of shelters for minors has been established, and Mexican consulates have increased their protection efforts for women and children. In Ecuador, a pilot project with qualitative and quantitative investigation, prevention and assistance, law reform and social mobilization elements has been followed by the production of various outputs to combat trafficking. These include an investigation protocol, a model for investigation, including a video portrayal of investigation and the inclusion of sexual crimes in the new code on children and adolescents.
- In September 1998, the Ukraine Cabinet of Ministries adopted a special programme to prevent trafficking in women and girls. Programme components include awareness-raising campaigns directed at vulnerable young women conducted through social service centres, and the establishment of hot-lines. More crisis centres are being established, and Ukraine has entered into an agreement with the International Organization of Migration (IOM) on assistance to victims and information exchange. Agreements with border States have also been reached with regard to the exchange of information, coordination of activity and mutual assistance to prevent trafficking.
- In addition to legislation relating to the exploitation of prostitution and related crimes, specific provisions have been adopted in several Member States to combat trafficking. Article 21 of the Paraguay Penal Code provides punishments for those involved in trafficking for the purposes of prostitution. The Paraguay Adoptions Act 1997, which entered into force in 1999, includes specific provisions to preclude kidnapping, sale and trafficking in children under cover of adoption. The Cuban Penal Code was modified in 1997 to include trafficking in persons, and in 1999 to address trafficking in minors. Amendments to the Mexican General Population Act, which entered into force in 1996, established severe penalties for trafficking of persons into and out of Mexico. In Cyprus, legislation to combat trafficking in human beings and exploitation of children was enacted in January 2000. This legislation introduces new penalties in this context, and extends the jurisdiction of Cypriot courts to hear cases and impose penalties extra-territorially. It also provides that activities connected with trafficking fall within anti-money laundering legislation. In addition, victims of sexual exploitation must be provided with provisional residence, and psychological and medical support and they are entitled to compensation.
- The Belgian Trade in Human Beings and Child Pornography Act, adopted in April 1995, introduced significant penalties for traffickers, while more recently Ministerial Directives provide for protection and assistance to victims who wish to make statements against those involved in their exploitation, which includes limited or permanent residence permission. In Austria, a new statutory crime of " exploitative trafficking" was introduced in 1997, while the 1997 Aliens Act provides for limited residence permits for victims to allow them to testify in prosecutions against traffickers and to bring civil claims. In May 1999, Luxembourg adopted provisions to reinforce existing penal provisions on trafficking in women and the exploitation of children. The Thai Measures on Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Women and Children Act 1997 allows officials to detain trafficking victims for the purposes of factual clarification and provides that victims shall be given shelter and basic necessities before repatriation. In 1998, amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine defining trafficking as a criminal activity were introduced, while recent amendments to the Belarus Criminal Code, which are not yet in force, criminalize activities relating to sexual exploitation.
III. Measures taken within the United Nations system
- In the period since the adoption of resolution 53/116, a number of United Nations bodies have addressed the issue of trafficking in women and girls, and several of them have made recommendations aimed at the prevention of trafficking and the reintegration of victims. While, in general, the activities of these bodies have focussed on the adoption of resolutions and recommendations that reflect the need to take action to address trafficking in women and girls, there have also been significant efforts by bodies of the United Nations system to translate these into action. At the operational level, United Nations action has been marked by a collaborative and cooperative approach, both with United Nations partners, and other international and regional organizations, as well as non-governmental organizations.
A. Twenty-third special session of the General Assembly on Beijing+5
- The twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century" held from 5 to 9 June 2000, adopted "Further Actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action". Building on the Platform for Action, a number of new and strengthened actions to be taken at the national level with regard to trafficking were agreed. Governments were 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 order to eliminate trafficking in women, including by strengthening legislation with a view to providing better protection of the rights of women and girls and punishing perpetrators through criminal and civil measures. Governments were to devise, enforce and strengthen effective measures to combat and eliminate all forms of trafficking in women and girls through a comprehensive anti-trafficking strategy consisting of inter alia legislative measures, prevention campaigns, exchange of information, assistance and protection for and reintegration of the victims and prosecution of all the offenders involved, including intermediaries; consider preventing, within the leading framework and in accordance with national policies, victims of trafficking, particularly women and girls, from being prosecuted for their illegal entry or residence, taking into account that they are victims of exploitation. They were also to consider setting up, or strengthening a national coordinating mechanism, for example, a national rapporteur or an inter-agency body, with participation of civil society, including NGOs, to encourage the exchange of information and to report on data, root causes, factors and trends in violence against women, particularly trafficking (104a-d).
- The special session also agreed that Governments, regional and international organizations, including the United Nations system and international financial and other actors should intensify cooperation between states of origin, transit and destination to prevent suppress and punish trafficking in persons , especially women and children, and support the ongoing negotiations on the draft protocol on trafficking which supplements the draft Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. These actors were also requested to pursue and support national, regional and international strategies to reduce the risk to women and girls, including those who are refugees and displaced, as well as women migrant workers, of becoming victims of trafficking, strengthen national legislation by further defining the crime of trafficking in all its elements and by reinforcing the punishment accordingly, enact social and economic policies and programmes, as well as information and awareness raising initiatives to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children; prosecute perpetrators of trafficking. In addition, these actors were to provide measures to support, assist and protect trafficking persons in countries of origin and destination and facilitate their return to and support their integration in countries of origin (131a-c).
B. Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders
- The Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders was held in Vienna, Austria, from 10-17 April 2000. The disproportionately adverse impact transnational organized crime, including trafficking, has on women and girls was addressed during the Congress workshop on women in the criminal justice system, while in the "Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice: Meeting the Challenges of the Twenty-first Century" adopted by the Congress, Member States committed themselves to the development of more effective ways of collaboration in order to eradicate trafficking in persons, especially women and children and established 2005 as the target year for achieving a significant decrease in the incidence of related crimes worldwide and for assessing the implementation of anti-trafficking measures.
C. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
- At its eighth session in 1999 the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice recommended the adoption by the Economic and Social Council of a number of resolutions relevant to trafficking in women and girls. These included Economic and Social Council resolutions 1999/20 on the Draft United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the draft protocols thereto, and 1999/23 on the work of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme. The latter resolution noted the Centres initiative, in cooperation with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute in developing a the global programme against trafficking in human beings, but stressed that it should be formulated on the basis of close consultation with Member States and reviewed by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
D. Commission on Human Rights
- At its fifty-fifth and fifty-sixth sessions in 1999 and 2000 respectively, the Commission on Human Rights adopted resolutions on trafficking in women and girls. In its resolution 1999/40, the Commission expressed grave concern at the increasing involvement of transnational criminal organizations and others who profit from this activity and emphasized the need for a global cooperative approach to confront the issue. It urged 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, including by strengthening existing legislation to provide better protection for the rights of women and girls and punishing perpetrators through criminal and civil measures. The resolution also called on Governments to criminalize trafficking in women and girls in all its forms, while ensuring that victims are not penalized and requested Governments, relevant intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to take specific steps to address trafficking, such as the development of campaigns or training manuals.
- Resolution 2000/44 contained many of the elements of the earlier resolution, but also encouraged Governments to work for the early finalization of the draft convention against transnational organized crime, including the draft protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children and to give the draft convention and the protocol a human rights perspective. It also noted the efforts of participating Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations at the ARIAT meeting held in Manila in March 2000 to develop a regional action plan against trafficking in persons, especially women and children.
E. Sub-Commission on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights
- The Sub-Commission on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights has continued to address trafficking through its Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery. At its twenty-fourth session, the Working Group considered the issue following two days of consultations between its members, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations system, which resulted in comprehensive recommendations, including basic principles to be observed at all levels, and on required national and international action.
- The Sub-Commissions resolution 1999/17 on the report of the Working Group, urged States to devise and adopt comprehensive national plans of action against trafficking in persons, particularly for the purposes of prostitution, based on data collection, research and analysis and in collaboration with non-governmental organizations; to collaborate with NGOs to develop national plans of action in accordance with the 1996 Programme of Action for the Prevention of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of Others to ensure coordination of laws and implementing agencies and empowerment of victims and survivors. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was requested to design guidelines for the elaboration of such national plans of action and, upon request, provide technical assistance to States in the formulation of their national plans. The Sub-Commission also encouraged Governments that were elaborating the draft convention against international organized crime, including its draft protocols fully to include a human rights perspective, taking into account work being done in other international forums.
- As its twenty-fifth session, the Working Group again took up the issue of trafficking in persons, emphasizing the vulnerability of several groups, including women and children in this context and expressing concern at the new types of trans-border trafficking and the connection between globalization, national immigration policies and trafficking. The main focus of the twenty-sixth session of the Working Group will be trafficking.
- Draft Convention against Transnational Crime
- The Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, established pursuant to General Assembly resolutions 53/111 and 53/114, which began its work in January 1999 has made significant progress in elaboration the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three additional protocols which address the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms; the smuggling of migrants by land, air and sea; and trafficking in persons, especially women and children. The latter instrument, the draft Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, is the first attempt to address trafficking in persons in a comprehensive manner.
G. Human rights treaty bodies and other human rights mechanisms
- A number of the human rights treaty bodies have considered trafficking in women and girls in their consideration of reports of States parties submitted under their respective treaties.
- In its report submitted to the second session of the Commission on the Status of Women acting as preparatory committee of the special session of the General Assembly on Beijing+5, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women identified trafficking in women and the exploitation of prostitution as serious challenges to the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, but also noted that several States parties had introduced measures to address these problems, including extraterritorial legislation to facilitate prosecution of traffickers and laws to protect prostitutes. During 1999 the Committee made specific reference to trafficking and related exploitation in its concluding comments on China, Colombia, Georgia, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal and Thailand. Its concluding comments adopted in 2000 with respect to Austria, Belarus, Germany, India, Lithuania, Moldova, Myanmar and Romania also address the issue. The concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee adopted with respect to Cambodia and Mexico , those of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights with respect to Germany and Italy and the Committee on the Rights of the Child with respect to Cambodia, Georgia, Guinea, India Kyrgyzstan, Mali,Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa and Venezuela include recommendations to combat trafficking and with regard to the provision of support and assistance for victims.
- Several of the special rapporteurs of the Commission on Human Rights have continued to address the trafficking of women and children within the context of their respective mandates. The Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences submitted a report to the fifty-sixth session of the Commission on Human Rights in 2000 on trafficking in women, womens migration and violence against women. Inter alia, the report proposes a definition of trafficking in persons, addresses the root causes of trafficking, describes trafficking patterns, Government, multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental responses to the issue and elaborates recommendations directed at the international and national levels. The Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography has considered trafficking in children, in the context of her mandate, with her report submitted to the fifty-fifth session of the Commission on Human Rights including a special focus on sale and trafficking in children, while in her first report to the Commission on Human Rights the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants drew attention to the interface between migration and trafficking. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has drawn attention to evidence of trafficking and making specific recommendations in that regard.
H. Activities of United Nations regional commissions, specialized agencies and other entities
- Trafficking has been addressed by a number of United Nations entities. In the follow-up to the review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) High-level Intergovernmental Meeting to Review Regional Implementation of the Platform, ESCAP is currently updating a database on projects to confront trafficking, and will continue to provide advisory services to countries on the issue. The Worlds Women 2000: Trends and Statistics, prepared by the Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs includes a section on "Trafficking and forced prostitution" prepared in collaboration with the Division for the Advancement of Women, while the Department of Public Information has produced several radio and television programmes on trafficking in women and girls, as well as articles on the issue.
- The International Labour Organization (ILO) addresses the issue of trafficking in women and children within the context of its work on forced labour, child labour, migrants and migrant workers and the framework of its Conventions , a number of which are directly or indirectly relevant to the issue. Notably, the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) specifically addresses trafficking in children and calls for measures to take account of the special situation of girls. The Recommendation, which supplements the Convention, provides further guidance for its effective implementation. Increasingly, trafficking, especially trafficking in children for prostitution has been discussed by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations and the ILO Conference Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations. The Committee of Experts has requested detailed information on actions taken against traffickers in individual countries, and has pointed to the importance of raising awareness about trafficking in all sectors of society. In the General Survey in the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97) and the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (143) conducted in 1998, the Committee of Experts expressed concern at the phenomenon of labour migration as an aspect of irregular migration and noted that illegal migration was becoming highly organized internationally and was linked to criminal activities including human trafficking. Pursuant to the recommendation of the Committee of Experts that the applicable legal instruments be revised and updated and perhaps merged into a single Convention so as to eliminate gaps, there was general agreement that the ILO Governing Body place the issue of migration on the agenda of the International Labour Conference.
- Other ILO action to address trafficking has taken place through its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) and the Gender Promotion Programme (GENPROM) through which assistance has been provided to countries on programme design and implementation. Two sub-regional programmes in the Mekong region and South Asia to combat trafficking in children and women for labour exploitation have been implemented. These programmes include action-oriented research in Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam.
- Activities of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) have focussed on improving data and information systems relating to trafficking in women, and the strengthening of regional and national coalitions and networks. In March 1999, UNIFEM coordinated a mission to India to collect information on trafficking from NGOs, which resulted in the establishment in Mumbai, India, of an anti-trafficking centre to facilitate data collection and exchange, and training for Government officials, including those working in law enforcement, and transport workers. In partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UNIFEM has established a South Asian regional project for prevention of trafficking in women and children which seeks to increase political and community support at different levels in high risk areas, integrate reliable data and research findings in advocacy, protection and prosecution activities and improve monitoring of existing laws on the subject. A South Asian anti-trafficking information centre will be established to facilitate the collection and dissemination of relevant information. Several of the projects funded through the UNIFEM administered Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women have also addressed trafficking in women and girls. These have included an education and NGO coalition-building project to combat trafficking of high risk girls and young women of the Russian Federation and a film for advocacy at grass-roots level in Nepal.
- In addition to supporting studies on trafficking, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) collaborates with other United Nations bodies and NGOs in several projects specifically addressing the trafficking of women and children. For example, UNICEF and ESCAP have developed a project for the elimination of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and youth in Asia and the Pacific to build the capacity of local government officials and NGOs, including through the formulation of curriculum and training materials and sub-regional training; UNICEF and the ILO International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) have collaborated on an initiative to combat trafficking in children and women for labour exploitation in the Mekong sub-region and South Asia which is developing best practice guidelines and offers economic alternatives to trafficking victims and those at risk; UNICEF supports the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) project on trafficking in women and children in the Mekong sub-region which is preparing an inventory of activities to address trafficking, assessing gaps and creating mechanisms for coordination: UNICEF is also a partner with IOM in a project on the return and reintegration of trafficked from China to Vietnam, Thailand to Cambodia and Cambodia to Vietnam which includes training components and the provision of psycho-social recovery assistance to victims and also supports a project administered by the Mekong Regional Law Centre which aims to develop a practical programme to improve legislation and law enforcement. UNICEF also supports a project on children in need of special protection on Benin which includes awareness-raising components, child-rights advocacy and the provision of educational facilities for girl domestic workers.
- Following the identification by the High Commissioner on Human Rights of trafficking as a priority issue, an Adviser to the High Commissioner on the issue was appointed, as was a Special Representative to support national and regional trafficking initiatives, who is based in Cambodia . A specific anti-trafficking programme to ensure the integration of human rights into international, regional and national anti-trafficking initiatives was created, and an intra-Office coordination group on trafficking established in order to maintain appropriate links between the various human rights mechanisms and the officers working with them. The emphasis of the programme has been on the development and promotion of legal standards and the provision of policy leadership. In this context, an Informal Note was submitted by the High Commissioner to the Fourth Session of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of a Convention against Transnational Organized Crime held in Vienna from 28 June to 9 July 1999 emphasizing that this Convention and its accompanying Protocols should not conflict with nor otherwise undermine international human rights law. An interagency statement on the Protocols was subsequently issued by the OHCHR, UNHCR, UNICEF and IOM to the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Committee held from 21 February to 3 March 2000. The High Commissioner also communicated her views on the draft South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) convention against trafficking in women and girls to Heads of SAARC Governments.
- The OHCHR has also undertaken a number of different activities at regional and sub-regional levels, In partnership with the Council of Europe, the OHCHR, is implementing a Joint Trafficking Prevention Programme for Eastern and Central Europe which is comprised of awareness-raising and training activities targeting vulnerable groups, in particular, refugees and displaced women and girls, especially from Kosovo.
- The OHCHR field office in Sarajevo has collaborated with local NGOs, the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzogovina (UNMIBH) and other organizations, including the IOM, to assist victims, facilitate the prosecution of traffickers and promote law reform and other preventive measures. In response to the growing evidence of trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNMIBH launched a formal joint initiative to address the problem. The initiative, which emphasizes the protection of victims from a human rights perspective and as a secondary component works to increase the effectiveness of State authorities in this context, dealt with 40 separate cases of trafficking or possible trafficking into Bosnia and Herzegovina involving 182 women, between March 1999 and March 2000.
- In September 1999, the OHCHR Sarajevo coordinated a round table on trafficking in Kosovo which resulted in recommendations directed at the international community on the issue in the context of reconstruction in Kosovo. OHCHR Sarajevo continues to collaborate with other actors including UNIFEM, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, the UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, OSCE and local NGOs in the development of strategies to address trafficking.
- The OHCHR organized two workshops in Nepal in March 1999 which resulted in the formulation of recommendations to the Governments, civil society and the United Nations system and the development of a pilot project on trafficking which will form part of the United Nations response to the issue in Nepal. National human rights institutions in the Asia-Pacific region have also been encouraged to address trafficking through a focal point system to facilitate the exchange of information and experiences on the issue, a strategy which will be replicated in other regions. The OHCHR has also provided travel and project grants to NGOs working on behalf of victims of trafficking through the Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.
- Implementation of the global programme against trafficking in human beings launched by the Centre for International Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) in March 1999 has advanced. The global programme, which seeks to enable countries of origin, transit and destination to develop joint strategies and practical actions against trafficking, has been planned and implemented in cooperation with international and regional organizations including UNICEF, UNIFEM, the European Union, Interpol, the International Organization for Migration and the OSCE, as well as international and national NGOs, local institutions and experts. The programme addresses the issue of trafficking generally, rather than focussing specifically on trafficking in women and girls.
- In addition to an in depth assessment of trafficking trends, the programmes components include a series of technical cooperation projects, currently being carried out or prepared in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, which will test the effectiveness of anti-trafficking measures with a view to their being included in an international strategy against trafficking in human beings. Project activities to be carried out in cooperation with national counterparts are based on an analysis of the involvement of organized crime in the trafficking of human beings. A database containing best practices will be established so that information can be available to policy makers, practitioners, researchers and non-governmental organizations.
- The first of these technical cooperation projects, initiated in the Philippines, established a national inter-agency mechanism to coordinate the activities of various international agencies that address aspects of trafficking, with information on the involvement of organized crime groups in trafficking being collected on the basis of a questionnaire developed by UNICRI. With the support of several Governments, a project to cover the Czech Republic and Poland has been initiated in Eastern Europe. Projects are being initiated in Brazil to assess routes and modalities used by organized crime groups to traffic human beings and the West African region, where trafficking flows and the existing responses of governmental and non-governmental organizations, in particular with respect to the disappearance of children believed to be sold by traffickers for slave labour, in Benin, Nigeria and Togo will be assessed.
- Although the involvement of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees on trafficking issues has been limited, it has acted as a catalyst in bringing together intergovernmental and non-govenmental organizations to address the situation of women and girls victims of trafficking in Albania. UNHCR hosts regular bi-weekly meetings on trafficking, as well as facilitating exchange of information between interested organizations.
IV. Activities of other international bodies
- The International Organization for Migration activities on trafficking include information campaigns and dissemination, research programmes, capacity building for Government and other institutions, and the provision of assistance and protection, including return and reintegration for victims of trafficking. A programme to develop and expand awareness "best practices" in statutory, governmental, non-governmental and voluntary agencies efforts on trafficking of women and girls is being implemented in Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, while assistance and protection programmes for trafficked persons exist in Albania, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Thailand and Viet Nam. IOM is also implementing a Global Assistance Programme which creates a mechanisms for rapid, case-by-case assistance to women and children victims of trafficking outside their countries of origin who require immediate protection and support.
- Within the European Union, efforts to address trafficking have included a second Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on Trafficking in Women issued in December 1998, which affirmed that the trafficking of women remained high on the European Unions agenda, and focused on the need for improved national, regional and international co-operation and co-ordination between authorities responsible for migration, justice and social affairs and NGOs, and for links to be made between international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union. The "milestones" of the European Council at Tampere, Finland on 15-16 October 1999 called for the development, in close cooperation with countries of origin and transit of information campaigns on possibilities for legal migration and the prevention of all forms of trafficking in human beings and urged the adoption of legislation, including severe sanctions, against this activity. The Council also agreed that Member States, together with Europol, should direct their efforts to detecting and dismantling the criminal networks involved, while, at the same time, securing the rights of victims, with special emphasis on the problems of women and children. The Commission of the European Union is formulating proposals on the alignment of penal provisions of Member States on the issue, including on the granting of limited residence permits for victims willing to testify. Initiatives have also continued in the context of the STOP programme which aims to promote training and cooperation in regard to the issue and the DAPHNE programme on measures to prevent violence against children, young persons and women.
- Council of Europe activity has included research, awareness-raising and information and prevention campaigns, including a campaign conducted in Albania on the risks of trafficking, and collaborative activities with other organizations including the United Nations. A multisectoral group on trafficking in human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation, headed by the Steering Committee for Equality for Women and Men, was established in December 1997, to consider means of addressing trafficking. The work of that group, whose final report was issued in March 1999, formed the background to the adoption by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of Recommendation R (2000) 11 on action against trafficking in human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation. The appendix to the recommendation includes recommendations relating to prevention, assistance to and protection of victims, penal legislation and judicial co-operation and coordination and cooperation to be considered by Member States.
- In late 1999, the Organization of American States launched a project in partnership with the International Human Rights Law Institute of De Paul University, Chicago, USA on international trafficking in women and children in the Americas. Up to eight pilot countries have been selected for analysis, with results being expected to be presented to the Assembly of Delegates in November 2000.
- Trafficking in women and girls is also a concern of the Organization of Security and Cooperation on Europe, whose Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution condemning sex traffickers and urging States to punish traffickers in July 1999. In June 2000, the OSCEs Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights presented a proposed action plan for activities to combat trafficking in human beings to a meeting held in Vienna. Participants proposed a broad range of recommendations for action, including with regard to cooperation and coordination with other international organizations, national institutions and NGOs, and with regard to support for victims.
- Although the incidence of trafficking in women and girls remains unknown, it appears to be a growing problem, both as a result of the persistence of its root causes poverty, and discrimination and inequality which prevents women from exercising control over their lives and the proliferation of trans-border organized crime networks. Strategies to address these root causes are a priority for Member States of the United Nations, as well as for United Nations and other organizations. At the same time, alternatives should be provided to women and girls who are particularly vulnerable to traffickers, as should the risks associated with informal migration.
- Measures should be adopted at international, regional and national levels to discourage traffickers. Member States should ensure that specific offences related to trafficking exist and are widely and clearly defined, and that the penalties for these offences should reflect the gravity of the crimes involved. International, regional, sub-regional and bilateral agreements should be reached so as to ensure and facilitate the prosecution of offenders, irrespective of location. States should consider the introduction of legislation incorporating extraterritorial provisions to facilitate prosecution of traffickers who may be abroad, as well as clear extradition procedures for trafficking-related offences. Judicial cooperation and information-sharing between States should be encouraged and facilitated.
- While strong measures to discourage traffickers should be introduced, victims of trafficking should be protected and assisted, including through the provision of legal, physical and psychological assistance. Measures to encourage victims of trafficking to identify traffickers and act as witnesses in criminal prosecutions. Witness protection measures should be considered, and States should examine the provision of restrictions on deportation which have been introduced in a number of Member States, as well as provisions which allow for compensation through criminal compensation schemes. The human rights of victims should be assured and steps should be taken to ensure that they are not criminalized or imprisoned. In particular, measures should be adopted to ensure the safety of trafficking victims and their families in the countries of origin, destination and transit.
- Data and information on trafficking and legislative and other strategies to address to confront this problem should be collected and shared to allow for the exchange of experience and best practices. Research into the precise scale and extent of trafficking and the modus operandi of traffickers should be encouraged so as to provide a concrete basis for legal and policy change, while experience in legal and policy change should gathered and disseminated. In this regard, successful interventions and strategies in addressing this problem should be compiled and disseminated, including through the work of the Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality.