SUMMARYSLAVERY ON THE EVE OF MILLENIUM:
NGO EFFORTS FOCUSED ON ELIMINATING TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN
The article presents information about the efforts of non-governmental organization of the world focused on eliminating trafficking in women. The worldwide trafficking of persons, that has a disproportionate impact on women and children, is condemned by the international community as a violation of fundamental human rights. However, the United Nations estimates that 4 million people are smuggled into foreign countries each year; a significant number of the trafficked people are women. Women are placed in situations of abuse or exploitation such as forced prostitution, sexual slavery, battering and extreme cruelty. The problem of trafficking in women and girls as an insidious form of violence and slavery has received a great deal of attention from the world community.
In May, 1997 North American Regional Consultative Forum on Trafficking in Women was held in Victoria, Canada. The participants shared as common principles the right of women to paid work, to migrate, to safe working conditions, human dignity. They agreed that a new definition of forced labor and slavery-like practices should be adopted. The participants came to the conclusion that human rights strategies should be based on the recognition and inter-relations of all rights - economic, social, cultural, civil and political; we need to recognize both collective and individual rights within the human rights framework regardless of citizenship or legal status. The recommendations addressed to Governments and community based organizations were adopted at the forum.
In April, 1997 International Report on Trafficking in Women, Forced Labor and Slavery-Like Practices in Marriage, Domestic Labor and Prostitution was published in the Netherlands. It was prepared by the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women (STV) in the Netherlands and the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, based in Thailand (GAATW), on the request of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy. The value of the report is that it helped to compare, clarify and improve methods and strategies to work aimed at ensuring the rights of women who have become subjected to trafficking.
The crucial point in NGOs activities focused on eliminating trafficking in women was an International Conference at Andrei Sakharov Foundation in Moscow *The Trafficking of NIS Women Abroad* on November 3-5, 1997. The conference was co-sponsored by Global Survival Network (Washington, D.C.), International League for Human Rights (New York) and Sexual Assault Recovery Center *Syostri* (Moscow). Participants agreed that non-governmental organizations are the central agents for change and support for women throughout the NIS, and that all programs should be developed in cooperation with NGOs, which must be adequately supported and funded. Concluding recommendations were focused on prevention and support programs on the issues of trafficking in women and human rights. Legal responses stated at the conference included strengthening international cooperation to combat trafficking; establishing intergovernmental agreements among the countries of origin and destination; including a special provision to the criminal codes of the NIS which make trafficking a crime.
The 42nd session of the United Nation*s Commission on the Status of Women held in March, 1998 was focused on the issues of violence against women and sex exploitation in particular. The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), a feminist non-governmental human rights organization, contributed a lot to the work of the Session.
In March 1998 two important documents related to the problem were developed by the US Government: one of them is a United States Sense of Congress Resolution on International Trafficking; the other one is Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Administrator of the Agency for International Development, the Director of the United States Information Agency. Both documents were focused on steps to combat trafficking in women and girls.
This year several conferences and seminars on trafficking will be open in different cities of the world. Transnational Training Seminar on Trafficking will start its work on June 20, 1998 in Budapest. It will be coordinated by the Network Women*s Program of the Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Global Survival Network.
A Conference on Sex Tourism, Sex Work and Carribean Development Paradigms will expect participants on July 16-17, 1998. Organizers of the event are the Center for Gender and Development Studies University of the West Indies - Mona, Carribean Association for Feminist Research abd Action (CAFRA), Women*s Studies Program University of Colorado-Boulder.
Since April 1998 it is possible to refer to a facilitated international electronic mailing list dealing with human rights abuses associated with trafficking in persons, with an emphasis on trafficking in women for forced prostitution, sweatshop labor, domestic service and coercive mail order bride arrangements. The goals of the list are assisting international collaboration around human rights based anti-trafficking initiatives; increasing awareness of trafficking; increasing support for NGO work. The list is another important step in coordinating efforts of various organizations and groups focused on anti-trafficking activities.