Subject: News: ASIA: Action sought to tackle trafficking in women
Date: Tue Feb 02 1999 - 13:34:07 EST
Action sought to tackle trafficking in women
WITH trafficking in women turning worse because of the
Asian economic meltdown, government and non-government
organisations as well as international agencies are
seeking joint action to tackle the problem.
Participants of a two-day regional conference on
trafficking in women agreed Tuesday on the need for
multilateral and multidisciplinary action and for
assistance to the women who should be treated as
victims and not illegal immigrants.
According to Mizuho Matsuda, director of the Asian
Women's Fund, which is one of the organisers, it is
the first time authorities and social workers from the
three sectors are meeting and trying to work out a
cooperation plan to combat this type of trafficking.
She hoped the meeting would come up with a code of
conduct or measures on protection, prevention and
repatriation of women. She cited a case when Japanese
workers could not assist rescued women who were taken
from Thailand to a neighbouring country. The women
then fled to Japan, but without proper documents and
recognition from any country, they were considered
Senator Saisuree Chutikul voiced a similar call in her
opening statement, saying she hoped the conference
would come up with ''practical suggestions'' to
prevent, protect or repatriate such women.
In her presentation, Siriporn Skrobanek, international
coordinator of the Global Alliance Against Women,
pointed out the magnitude and changing trend of the
problem. She said women are being recruited to work
overseas under false pretenses and most end up being
forced into prostitution.
She said trafficking and prostitution are
inter-related, but not of the same issue, and urged
the redefinition of trafficking in women, saying that
the victims were transported across the border not
just for the purpose of prostitution.
''A major concern is not fighting against migration
(legal or illegal) nor prostitution per se. Focus must
be on stopping the abusive recruitment and abusive
practices against women in private and public
domains,'' she said.
Siriporn said measures that had been formulated in
regional and international fora ended up in more state
control than promoting the basic rights of affected
women. She said tightened border crossings and
restrictions on women's freedom of movement only made
''women depend more on the abusive recruiters and
Siriporn's Global Alliance has been calling for the
creation of an international instrument to combat
trafficking networks and standard rules for the
humanitarian treatment of trafficked women.
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