Trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual and other forms of exploitation is a highly lucrative business, largely controlled by powerful criminal organizations. Most vulnerable to being trafficked are women and girls, as they are often subject to multiple gender-based discrimination. As regards counteracting this appalling development, there is a clear agreement that the global dimension of trafficking requires a concerted international response, which addresses the root causes and also considers the different actors involved.
Also at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995 trafficking in women and girls was a major concern. Accordingly, the Beijing Platform for Action explicitly addresses trafficking in the context of violence against women, under strategic objective D3: 'Eliminate trafficking in women and assist victims of violence due to prostitution and trafficking'.
for details on actions to be taken, as appropriate, by governments of countries of origin,
transit and destination, regional and international organizations, in order to achieve this objective.
However, trafficking in women and girls is also referred to in other sections of the Platform for Action, recognizing that the problem is multidimensional and also connected to issues such as 'women and health', 'women and armed conflict', etc.
Five years after the Fourth World Conference on Women, in 2000 the General Assembly in its twenty-third special session reviewed the implementation of the Platform for Action and adopted the further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
for selected actions.
In 2000 the General Assembly also adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children together with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
The UN Trafficking Protocol for the first time provides an internationally agreed upon definition of trafficking in persons and seeks:
- to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children,
- to protect and assist the victims of such trafficking with full respect for their human rights and
- to promote cooperation among State Parties in order to meet these objectives.
The online discussion on trafficking in women gives us an opportunity to examine what has been achieved in the fight against trafficking, and above all to openly name existing gaps and challenges as well as possible counter-productive effects of some initiatives. Ideally, the discussion will produce practicable proposals for future activities.
The selection of suggested questions is not exhaustive or compulsory and the participants in the discussion are encouraged to share their own views and experiences.
The debate will contribute to the review and appraisal of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995) and the Outcome of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly (2000) "Beijing +5" to be undertaken by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women during its forty-ninth session from 28 February to 11 March 2005.
The topics discussed will be as follows:
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