A Canadian Senate committee [Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee] today begins three days of legal hearings into the proposed new legislation on criminalising the clients of sex workers, known as C-36 (Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act). There is a lot of concern that the Conservative government is rushing the new law through without adequate consultation – especially with sex workers. GAATW’s submission draws on our previously published research on the consequences of so-called “end demand” approaches (Moving Beyond ‘Supply and Demand’ Catchphrases: Assessing the uses and limitations of demand-based approaches in Anti-Trafficking, 2011)

Click here to read the GAATW Brief to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Bill C-36: Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.




 Following the Money: Spending on Anti-Trafficking

6:30-8pm, 23 September 2014

Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, Bangkok

Where does the money for anti-trafficking work come from? Who does it go to? What does it actually achieve?

The new issue of GAATW's insightful journal the Anti-Trafficking Review examines these critical questions about funding for the sector. For the first time, GAATW and journal authors attempt to look at the money spent on anti-trafficking work and reveal what kinds of organisations and work have been supported by anti-trafficking funding, and what work has been sidelined as a result.

Please join us on 23 September and hear from authors featured in the journal.

Published by GAATW, the Anti-Trafficking Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed academic journal that promotes the human rights of trafficked and migrating people.

The journal is an open-source publication with a readership in 78 countries.

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The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women welcomes the appointment of Maria Grazia Giammarinaro as the new Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro is one of the foremost experts on trafficking. Currently an Italian penal judge, and until recently the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, she was appointed in recognition of her qualifications and her experience working with a variety of stakeholders on the issue.

Human trafficking is a human rights violation that generates considerable interest from governments, NGOs, media, and other actors. In spite of this good will, too often responses are based on misinformation, politics, or moral positions, and do not respect the agency of people who have been trafficked, and their choices about their work, migration, and lives. In her work at the OSCE, Ms. Giammarinaro included critical issues for trafficked persons of decent working conditions, social inclusion, and the right to effective remedy, amongst other concerns.

GAATW looks forward to working with Ms. Giammarinaro, as we did with her predecessors, most recently Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, to push for an evidence-based approach to anti-trafficking work that is attentive to the full breadth of human rights violations associated with trafficking in persons.

The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons is one of the special procedures of the Human Rights Council. These are independent human rights experts with mandates to report annually to the Council and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. The appointment of Maria Grazia Giammarinaro as the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons was formally announced at the 26th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Friday 27 June 2014.

His Excellency Mr. Baudelaire Ndong Ella

President of the Human Rights Council, Eighth Cycle (2014) 

29 May 2014

Your Excellency,

The undersigned organisations and activists urge you to ensure that the recruitment of a new Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children (Special Rapporteur), in addition to meeting the criteria of: expertise; experience in the field of the mandate; independence; impartiality; personal integrity; and objectivity, leads to the appointment of a mandate-holder who will be attentive to the full breadth of human rights violations associated with trafficking in persons.

The usefulness of the mandate requires that the Special Rapporteur understands to apply the human rights framework and draws on a verifiable evidence base, rather than take an ideological approach to the issue of human trafficking. This mandate speaks for a group of people that are often highly marginalised as a result of multiple levels of oppression and have little opportunity to advocate for themselves. It is critical that the Special Rapporteur is able to do this without bias.

Too often this work is riven with disagreement over the issue of prostitution / sex work. However, the adoption of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Supress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especial Women and Children (Trafficking Protocol) in 2000, supplementing the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, created a definition of human trafficking that aimed to fit the violation: not limited to the sex industry/prostitution, it covers exploitation in any industry where force or fraud are used in recruitment. In the years since the adoption of the Trafficking Protocol, research by anti-trafficking activists has demonstrated that a narrow interpretation of the issue, focused on the sex sector, too often does not help individuals who have been trafficked and does harm to the human rights of other workers, including migrant workers. It is vital that the Special Rapporteur is able to address human trafficking wherever it occurs and respect individuals’ agency and choices about their work, migration, and lives.

It is important both for the credibility of the special procedures and for the people that this mandate is intended to represent, that the new mandate holder must have at least the following qualities:

  • Extensive understanding of and commitment to the breadth of the UN Trafficking Protocol and international human rights law
  • Strong knowledge of and commitment to the Office of the High Commissioner’s Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking
  • A record of high calibre, impartial and objective evidence-based research
  • A record of transparency and willingness to work with all parts of civil society, not only those organisations that share a similar position on prostitution or any other issue
  • A commitment to providing a strong voice for trafficked persons and those at risk of trafficking, based whenever possible on evidence gathered directly from these affected groups
  • High personal integrity

We look forward to working with the appointed candidate.

Yours sincerely,

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)

The International La Strada Association, a European anti-trafficking network with 8 members in Europe

FairWork, the Netherlands

Ban Ying, Germany

Supporting Women’s Alternatives Network (SWAN Vancouver Society), Canada

Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, USA

Centro de Orientacion e Investigacion Integral (COIN), Dominican Republic

Capital Humano y Social Alternativo, Perú

LEFÖ - Information, Education and Support for Migrant Women, Austria

Brigada Callejera de Apoyo a la Mujer "Elisa Martínez", Mexico

Associacao de Defesa da Mulher, da Infancia e da Juventude (ASBRAD), Brazil

Meena Saraswathi Seshu, General Secretary, SANGRAM, India

Esther Shannon, FIRST CO-founder, Canada

Victoria Nwogu, Nigeria

Liyana Pavon, Dominican Republic


GAATW2014 logo_thumbnailThe 20th anniversary of GAATW will be an occasion to take stock of our work and define the priorities for the alliance in consultation with members and friends. Together with members we will showcase and analyze current programmes and plan next steps. We will also look at emerging issues, try to define challenges and opportunities and plan our steps for engagement.




GAATW International Members Congress (IMC)
23-26 September - Bangkok, Thailand