Press Release from GAATW Secretariat.
Human rights lawyers, victim-protection NGOs, police, prosecutors and survivors of human trafficking from 11 countries (Thailand, Cambodia, India, The Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico and the United States) met in Bangkok, Thailand, 7-9 June 2006, to work towards adopting a common plan of action to realize their vision of equal access to justice for all victims of trafficking.
Human trafficking has risen to prominence in recent years as one of the key human rights issues of our time. Governments have responded with tough criminal laws, police training, and a push to prosecute offenders. However, in practice, victims of human trafficking still find it near to impossible to access the justice system. When they do, the process is often retraumatizing and victims end up with nothing; the profits from the traffickers’ crime have vanished into thin air.
The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, a human rights-based international organisation based in Bangkok, gathered together international teams who have successfully brought trafficking cases to the courts. The meeting analyzed how the victims and their lawyers managed to obtain justice, and what the impact of the legal process was on them. Six survivors of human trafficking shared their experiences to the group.
The international gathering was a critical step forward from developing macro level policies, to designing simple practical measures that can change people’s lives. It focused on the treatment of victims of trafficking by law enforcement, and the right to receive compensation or damages for serious human rights violations. Honoring the rights of victims to a financial remedy can allow victims to start their lives afresh, reducing the risk of stepping back into the net of poverty and trafficking. The meeting also marked the start of a stronger international legal network to fight the injustice caused by human trafficking.
For more information, write to GAATW Secretariat at email@example.com
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