EMBARGOED UNTIL: 29 September 2015
A significant new protocol on forced labour was agreed last year, which promised to strengthen national laws and actions on protection of workers’ rights. However, many regressive policies related to migration and labour persist, according to the latest issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review, published by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW).
The new issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review examines how the global community is addressing forced labour and trafficking. The journal questions whether recent efforts have done enough to stop exploitation at work.
“In 2014, governments across the globe committed to combat forced labour through a new international agreement, the International Labour Organisation Forced Labour Protocol,” says Bandana Pattanaik, GAATW’s International Coordinator, “There has been some progress in national policies and union activities, but in general governments have prioritised stemming migration over protection of workers’ rights.”
The International Labour Organisation estimates that there are almost 21 million people in the world today from whom forced labour is exacted. Authors of the journal analyse responses to this form of exploitation, including unions championing the protection of migrants’ labour rights, and governments enacting supply chain disclosure laws (for example in Brazil and the United States of America).
Many of the journal issue’s authors describe how regressive policies, such as the surprisingly widespread Kafala system of ‘tied’ visas for lower paid workers, are eroding these rights. This year, the United Kingdom affirmed a Kafala-type system for domestic workers. The new UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 retains the regressive visa system, which restricts domestic workers from changing employers or seeing redress when things go wrong.
Other authors look at forced labour and trafficking within the context of migration. Experts Hannah Lewis and Louise Waite for example stress that refugee and asylum-seeking situations are putting people in ‘hyper precarious’ situations and more at risk of exploitation. They argue that greater recognition of workers’ rights, particularly migrant workers, would reduce incidences of forced labour and human trafficking.
“Protecting rights of workers and providing them with avenues to demand a fair wage and decent working conditions, holding employers accountable, and advocating for systemic changes may help us address a range of exploitations including trafficking and forced labour,” said Pattanaik.
Notes to editors:
• Interviews are available with:
• The journal includes case studies from Brazil, Italy, India, Malaysia Thailand, USA, UK. If you are interested in interviewing any of the authors of these particular case studies please let us know.
• To arrange interviews or for an embargoed copy of the journal, please contact:
Jasmin Qureshi, Associate Editor, Anti-Trafficking Review, Bangkok, Thailand
• The journal will be freely available at www.antitraffickingreview.org on 29 September 2015.
• GAATW launched its peer-reviewed journal, the Anti-Trafficking Review, in 2012 to promote quality and critical research into trafficking, and ‘anti-trafficking’. The open-access journal explores the issue of trafficking in a broader context including gender analyses and intersections with women’s rights, labour rights and migrant rights. It offers a space for dialogue, debate, critique and discussion of best practice for academics and practitioners seeking to communicate new ideas and findings.
• The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) is a non-profit organisation that works to protect and uphold the human rights of migrating and trafficked women around the world. Representing a global network of more than 120 non-governmental organisations, we focus on the issues of migration, labour and human trafficking, with a special emphasis on women. Our activities involve research, communications and advocacy in order to hold governments accountable, increase access to justice for migrating and trafficked women and further the global debate on the issues (www.gaatw.org / @GAATW_IS).
Tuesday, 29 September, 18:00-20:00
Valley Room, Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok
The new issue of GAATW’s journal the Anti-Trafficking Review looks at ‘Forced Labour and Human Trafficking’.
Authors in this issue - both academics and practitioners - review how the global community is addressing forced labour and trafficking. In 2014, governments across the globe committed to combat forced labour through a new international agreement, the ILO Forced Labour Protocol. But are recent efforts enough?
With case studies from diverse regions and countries including Southeast Asia, Brazil, India, Italy, the United Kingdom and United States of America, this issue features a mix of academic articles, a new ‘policy and practice’ section, as well as short debate pieces which respond to the question: Should we distinguish between forced labour, trafficking and slavery?
The Review and all articles will be freely available online after 29 September at www.antitraffickingreview.org.
We are pleased to screen a new film ‘I am Not Here’, which tells the stories of three undocumented migrant domestic workers in three cities around the world.
Migrant domestic workers in an irregular situation are unseen and unheard. They work behind closed doors, at risk of exploitation by their employers or by others, but afraid or unable to complain to the authorities. They have no papers. Their stories are untold.
For more information about the event, please see the flyer.
Up to 20 journalists will receive support to participate in a four-day workshop in Bangkok on 3-6 October 2015. The proposed workshop is a part of GAATW’s efforts to bring back the focus on women migrants from victims and sensationalised objects to agents of change, and subjects of hope, determination, and self-reliance. Following the workshop in October, 8 participants will be selected by November 2015, for fellowships to publish five stories each on labour migration and human trafficking. Each awardee will be expected to produce and publish (at least) 2 x 800-word articles, and 3 x 1,200- word articles.
The workshop is open to mid-level to senior journalists from the print media in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, reporting in English or the regional languages. The cost of travel and accommodation to attend the workshop will be supported by GAATW.
HOW TO APPLY
Applications should be submitted latest by 05 September 2015. Selected applicants will be notified of their selection by 15 September 2015. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.
Provide a short profile (no more than 100 words) that summarizes your professional career including your current position (work title/news organization, if appropriate); publications that you have written for and/or other news organizations that you have worked for; journalism awards you have won; beats and issues that you cover; special interests, etc.
Send us 3 samples of published work, including publication dates, in either a single or multiple PDFs or Word documents. If your work samples are not in English, please include a summary of their contents in English.
In addition to the above, we ask you to provide us a 500-word personal statement explaining why you think you are eligible for this workshop. The note may include your journalistic experiences, values and interests that influence your decision to apply for this workshop. It should also explain how your proposed articles or course of research could have impact on bringing back the focus on women migrants as agents of change.
REPORTING LABOUR MIGRATION
As a consequence of several factors including globalisation, people are moving across borders in unprecedented numbers. Women in particular, are crossing international borders as never before in history. Across South Asia they leave their homes in search of better lives and livelihoods in the hope of improving their economic and social status. Even as international migration is increasingly feminised, women migrants often end up in low-paid, low-skilled work with few or no labour rights. Studies show that women from countries of the sub-region are employed in affluent countries of the Middle East in poorly- paid jobs including in the garment industry and in domestic work. They routinely work in the latter as nannies, having left their own children behind paradoxically to be taken care of by their own family members.
Unfortunately, exploitation and trafficking have become signature characteristics of labour migration of both women and men. The gender blind policies, high-costs, time-consuming procedures and stringent visa restrictions for emigration push the less-privileged to resort to illegal and unsafe means of travel in the form of undocumented migration; in the process, women are abused and exploited by agents and criminal employers. Sending States seem to be playing an ambiguous and questionable role in the process of labour migration; on the one hand they are promoting it as an employment option and a foreign exchange earner, and on the other, reneging on their responsibility to protect the rights of their migrant workers and citizens. Most countries of origin and destination have weak labour laws with many female-dominated jobs falling outside the purview of the labour sector and laws. When abuse is reported, many South Asian countries respond with protectionist restrictions on women’s mobility rather than stepping up measures to protect and strengthen women’s rights.
The media plays a crucial role in shaping public perception about migrants, migration regimes and state agencies that facilitate migration. As such, the role of the media is also seminal in influencing migration policies. However, journalists reporting on complex issues such as labour, poverty, migration, rights and rights violations especially of the marginalised, often portray migrants, especially women migrants, only as victims. Media reports tend to be sensational while reporting abuse, and represent women migrants as passive, powerless objects. Undoubtedly, trafficking of human beings is a gross human rights violation that requires serious media attention for often women may be in the way of grievous harm as a result of it. However, media focus should remain on providing redress to the trafficked persons with a view to restoring her rights and ending such a practice rather than on sensationalizing misery or objectifying her. It is important to also keep in mind that while reporting on migration and trafficking, the role of the media not be aimed at surveillance, regulating cross border migration and women's mobility but rather at reflecting the lived reality and diverse experience of women migrants as subjects rather than as objects. This includes the story of their entrepreneurial spirit and courage in negotiating and overcoming enormous difficulties to carve out a better life for themselves and their families.
How can media report beyond the binaries and stereotypes - women as trafficked victims and men as workers, women as sexual slaves; undesirable economic migrants and indigent refugees fleeing egregious violence? How does international capital engender pauperisation, displacement and migration? What are the links between global capitalism and migration, both legal and undocumented? Why and under what conditions do States and corporations support the demand of legal status for undocumented immigrants? What are the factors that propel women to risk their lives in order to seek a better future in the Middle East and elsewhere? Are these motivations merely economic or are they also to escape oppression in families and communities? Do these migratory flows continue when the reality at the destination point is revealed? Have we ignored success stories of migrants who have made a better life for themselves and their families? What factors contribute to these successes? Who and where are the heroes of migration rather than only “survivors” of trafficking? How can these narratives of journeys, adventures, and courage be told in ways that validate the women and their lives?
The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) is a network of more than 120 non-governmental organisations working on the issue of human rights in the context of labour migration, especially female labour migration. We began our work 20-years ago by listening to the stories of migrating women, their dreams, aspirations, fears, and frustrations. Over the years we have met many women who have gone through adverse terrible experiences in the course of their journeys and yet have not given up. It is their strength and courage that has inspired us to continue our advocacy for social change.
The proposed four-day media workshop in Bangkok is a part of GAATW’s efforts to bring back the focus on women migrants from victims and sensationalised objects to agents of change, and subjects of hope, determination, and self-reliance.
Key Criteria for selection
Deadline for Submission: 8 January 2016
The Anti-Trafficking Review calls for papers for a themed issue entitled 'Trafficking Representations.' Work that migrants do in the sex industry and other irregular employment sectors is increasingly characterised as exploitation and trafficking. Representations of trafficking and forced labour are pervasive within media, policymaking, and humanitarian debates, discourses and interventions. Of late, the notion of 'modern slavery' is on show in campaigns aiming to raise funds and awareness about anti-trafficking among corporate and local enterprises and the general public. Celebrity interventions, militant documentaries, artistic works and fiction films have all become powerful vectors of distribution of the trafficking and 'modern slavery' rhetoric. These offer simplistic solutions to complex issues without challenging the structural and causal factors of inequality. They also tend to entrench racialised narratives; present a narrow depiction of an 'authentic victim;' and confuse sex work with trafficking. Such representations play a key role in legitimising oftentimes problematic rescue operations that can involve criminalisation, detention and arrest of both non-trafficked and trafficked persons as well a justifying restrictive labour and migration laws that exacerbate migrants' precarious living and work situations.
This issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review will seek to explore the specific ways in which different forms of representation erase the complexity of the life trajectories of people who have experienced trafficking, as well as those of migrants, women, sex workers and others who are labelled as trafficked according to the rhetoric of neoliberal humanitarianism. At the same time, the special issue is interested in ways in which popular representations of trafficking and modern slavery have weakened the efforts to gain a better understanding of how social, economic and political inequalities and labour exploitation are produced and maintained in various locations.
In addition, this issue also welcomes alternative artistic, scholarly and activist attempts to produce counter-representations of trafficking and 'modern slavery' in films, literature, art, theatre and social media, as well as reflections on those.
Authors may be interested in addressing the following themes:
The Review promotes a human rights based approach to anti-trafficking, exploring anti-trafficking in a broader context including gender analyses and intersections with labour and migrant rights. Academics, practitioners, trafficked persons and advocates are invited to submit articles. Contributions from those living and working in developing countries are particularly welcome. The journal is a freely available, open access publication with a readership in over 100 countries. The Anti-Trafficking Review is abstracted/indexed/ tracked in: ProQuest, Ebsco Host, Ulrich's, Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, Directory of Open Access Journals, WorldCat, Google Scholar and CrossRef.
Deadline for submission: 8 January 2016
Word count for submissions: 4,000 - 6,000 words, including footnotes, author bio and abstract
Special Issue to be published in Autumn 2016
We advise those interested in submitting to follow the Review's style guide and submission procedures, available here.
Thematic Issue Guest Editors: Rutvica Andrijasevic, University of Bristol, and Nicola Mai, London Metropolitan University and University of Aix-Marseille (LAMES).
Editor: Rebecca Napier-Moore
GAATW-IS would like to express our deepest condolences to all those affected by the earthquake in Nepal this weekend. The loss of life, personal and public property including monuments of national heritage is unimaginable. Our thoughts and prayers are with our members, partners and friends in Nepal, WOREC, Shakti Samuha and all other members of the Alliance Against Trafficking in Women and Children in Nepal (AATWIN), Pourakhi, ABC-Nepal and People's Forum.
We are saddened at the loss of one of our colleagues, Bhawani Shiwokoti from Pourakhi. We had visited her in Dolakha recently and again met up in Godavari as part of our project work, and it is impossible to believe that someone as full of life as her is no longer with us. Our thoughts are with Bhawani's family.
Even as news of the devastation and recurring aftershocks are reaching us, we have been able to get in touch with many of our friends in Nepal. We are relieved to know that they are safe.
We commend the governments, humanitarian agencies, private companies, UN agencies, NGOs and individuals who have come forward to help people in Nepal and support them to face this disaster. We are heartened to hear the stories of volunteers who have been working day and night to rescue people, take them to the hospital or even to give them a decent cremation. It is reassuring to hear that the spirit of mutual support is strong and people are coming up with timely initiatives such as community kitchens and first aid centres.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has set up a website where you can search for the names of missing relatives and friends in Nepal.
If you would like to make a donation to help victims of the earthquake, please get in touch with aid agencies in your country. A short list is provided by the New York Times here.