Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

Human Rights
at home, abroad and on the way...


Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

Human Rights
at home, abroad and on the way...

Events and News


The Open-ended intergovernmental meeting of experts to discuss possible mechanisms to review the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC)


Advocacy_RecomUNTOCIn November 2009, Resolution L9[1] on a Review Mechanism was adopted at the UNCAC 3rd Conference of States Parties (CoSP) in Doha, Qatar. The Resolution was drafted in reference to article 63, paragraph 7 of UNCAC, which provides for a mechanism to assist with implementation of the Convention if the Conference deems it necessary. Similarly, the current Open-ended intergovernmental meeting of experts on possible mechanisms to review implementation of UNTOC (herein after the Working Group [WG]) takes its reference from Article 32. 3 of UNTOC, according to which the Conference is to agree upon mechanisms for effectively reviewing UNTOC.

The following recommendations are presented as additions to the text of UNCAC resolution L9, which we believe the WG will use to form the basis of deliberations on a review mechanism to UNTOC.

This note has been prepared by the Global Alliance against Traffic in Women (GAATW), a network of over 90 organisations worldwide who work on trafficking, migration and labour issues. Many of these organisations work in direct contact with trafficked persons as service providers or advocates and therefore have great experience in this field. Our recommendations are based on this expertise and are aimed at ensuring any review mechanism adopted has maximum impact in global efforts to combat human trafficking.

[1] Extracts have been taken from the unofficial un-edited document available on the UNODC website:

Human Rights Council – 12th session

Panel discussion on the human rights of migrants in detention centres

17 September 2009


Mr. President,


The Global Alliance against Traffic in Women welcomes this discussion on the human rights of migrants in detention centres and particularly the recent prioritisation of migration by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which we feel is long overdue. Whilst GAATW believes no migrant worker should be arbitrarily detained; in this statement we would like to focus specifically on the detention of trafficked persons.


Despite more than a decade of those working on human trafficking, including the OHCHR, calling for no trafficked person to be detained under any circumstances, such detentions still take place in every region of the world. Trafficked persons are often detained for not having the correct immigration documents, presumed guilty unless their innocence is proven. Consequently, not only are trafficked persons being re-victimised but, worse, in the name of anti-trafficking responses security measures have been implemented in many countries resulting in the horrific practice of mass arbitrary detentions of those people the state considers to be trafficked or vulnerable to trafficking. Many States justify such detentions as a means of:

  • Preventing trafficking: i.e. preventing people from leaving a country by detaining them at borders because they are considered vulnerable to trafficking;
  • Prosecuting trafficking: a reason given for many trafficked persons being detained in so called ‘shelters’ often against their will – in order that they can provide testimonies in criminal justice procedures; or
  • Protecting trafficked persons: many closed so called ‘shelters’ where, trafficked persons are detained for months or even years are operated as part of a States anti-trafficking framework and justified as offering protection from harm and so called ‘rehabilitation’.

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Debt bondage in the world: an underestimated and forgotten scourge

Joint written statement submitted by Franciscans International (FI), a non-governmental organization with general consultative status, Anti-Slavery International, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) and the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund, non-governmental organizations with special consultative status

Debt bondage (also known as bonded labour) is probably the most common, but least known contemporary form of slavery today. Debt bondage affects many millions of men, women and children across the world. It occurs in a variety of sectors, including agriculture, logging, construction, domestic work, brick kilns and the textile and garment industry.

A person becomes a bonded labourer when their labour is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan, often for a very small amount such as the cost of medicine for a sick child. Once in debt, the person loses all control over their conditions of work and is forced to work long hours, often for seven days a week, for very little or no pay. The value of their work is invariably greater than the original sum of money borrowed. The debt becomes inflated through charges for food, transport and interest on loans, making it impossible to repay and trapping the worker in a cycle of debt. Entire families may be bonded, including children who work alongside their parents to help repay the debt. In some cases, the debt will be passed down through generations. Bonded labourers are often subjected to other forms of coercion including violence and restrictions on their freedom of movement.

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Strategic Thematic Direction

During 2011-13, through our Power in Migration and Work thematic programme, we engaged more directly with the migrant rights and labour rights movements. During 2014-2016 our work will build on the work of previous years; we will continue to push for a human rights based approach in anti-trafficking policies and practices.  We will also deepen our engagement with the issue of migration and labour.

The three thematic strategic issues outlined below are continuations of our work during 2011-13.

ACCOUNTABILITY Increasing the accountability of all anti-trafficking stakeholders involved in the design or implementation of anti-trafficking responses, towards the persons whose human rights they purport to protect.

ACCESS TO JUSTICE Broadening spaces for trafficked persons and migrant workers to practice their human rights by improving access to justice and combating all forms of discrimination that impact women’s ability to exercise their human rights as they relate to trafficking.

POWER IN MIGRATION AND WORK Centring an analysis of women’s power in their labour and migration to better assess migration and labour policies’ impact on women, and to work towards labour and migration processes that reflect migrants’ needs, aspirations and capabilities.