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Human trafficking: A women's issue – Women’s Watch
September 20, 2010
comprise at least 56% of the world’s trafficking victims.
The feminisation of poverty and the feminisation of migration
mean that women from poorer and developing countries are particularly
vulnerable and the proportion of women trafficked is higher in
these countries. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal
industry in the world, and ties with the illegal arms industry
as the second largest, after the drug-trade.
more people being bought and sold at this moment than in the entire
300 year history of the Atlantic Slave Trade
is modern day slavery. Its victims are men, women and children
in search of better prospects in life. Lured with promises of
better jobs or education, they often end up in prostitution or
“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or
receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or
other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception,
of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of
the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the
consent of a person having control over another person, for the
purpose of exploitation." Note: The consent of a victim of
trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation shall be irrelevant.
Trafficking is not necessarily cross border – it can take
place within a country.
forms of trafficking in this region are:
12.3 million adults and children in forced prostitution and or
forced labour or bonded labour around the world. [Taken from the
USA Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report, 10th Edition,
report describes Zimbabwe as a country of origin, transit and
destination for men, women and children subjected to trade in
persons. “[The government] has provided anti-trafficking
training to some public servants but officials make no apparent
effort to proactively identify victims of trafficking. Some members
of government security services forced men and boys to perform
hard labour in the diamond fields.” According to the report
Zimbabwe did not record or release information on the numbers
of trafficking investigations or prosecutions, or convictions
over the past year. Public awareness seems sparse. The media does
not seem to view it as a serious threat in Zimbabwe, hence it
has received very little coverage.
in children’s rights told Women’s Watch that: “Until
it happens to someone you know, human trafficking is something
we never think of. We fight for children’s rights to education,
health and shelter among other things but we have honestly never
dwelled on the threat of human trafficking. There is no readily
available information on it. If one is privileged enough to have
access to the Internet then one has chances of stumbling onto
information about trafficking in persons. We need more information
and we need to know if there are any hotlines one can call if
they feel they are in danger of being trafficked or if one is
aware of a trafficking syndicate.”
Takes up The Fight Against Human Trafficking
ago the United Nations negotiated the international standards
against trafficking in persons. Since then, some countries that
denied the existence of trade in humans now work to help eradicate
Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: This
was adopted by General Assembly resolution on 15 November 2000,
and is the main international instrument in the fight against
transnational organized crime. It entered into force on 29 September
to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially
Women and Children: This protocol to the Convention against Transnational
Organized Crime was adopted by the General Assembly and entered
into force on 25 December 2003. It is the first global legally
binding instrument with an agreed definition of trafficking in
persons. The intention behind this definition is to facilitate
convergence in national approaches with regard to the establishment
of domestic criminal offences that would support efficient international
cooperation in investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons
cases. An additional objective of the Protocol is to protect and
assist the victims of trafficking in persons with full respect
for their human rights.
Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT)
mobilizes State and non- State actors to eradicate human trafficking
by a three-pronged approach of prevention, protection and prosecution:
both the vulnerability of potential victims and the demand for
exploitation in all its forms;
adequate protection and support to those who do fall victim;
the efficient prosecution of the criminals involved.
Can be Done in Zimbabwe
needs to sign and ratify the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and
Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children
2. Pass legislation
to outlaw human trafficking
3. Have a
clear policy on human trafficking:
statistics are kept
steps to prevent it
for the prosecution of traffickers
those who have been trafficked
Legislation against Human Trafficking in the Pipeline
Government is working on a Bill on human trafficking, but the
draft is not yet available. Women’s Watch will circulate
it as soon as it is available. It is important that the proposed
Bill addresses the issue of minimum standards required to eradicate
trade in humans.
has an anti-trafficking law, a Cabinet approved Plan of Action
and an inter-ministerial anti-trafficking committee.
Minimum Standards for Governments
of the country should prohibit severe forms of trafficking in
persons and punish such acts.
knowing commission of any act of sex trafficking involving force,
fraud, coercion, or in which the victim is a child incapable
of giving meaningful consent, or of trafficking which includes
rape or kidnapping or which causes a death, the government of
the country should prescribe punishment commensurate with that
for grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault.
knowing commission of any act of a severe form of trafficking
in persons, the government of the country should prescribe punishment
that is sufficiently stringent to deter and that adequately
reflects the heinous nature of the offence.
of the country should make serious and sustained efforts to
eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons.
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot
take legal responsibility for information supplied.
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