GAATW March 1999 Bulletin

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Subject: GAATW March 1999 Bulletin
From: Jyothi Kanics (
Date: Tue Mar 16 1999 - 08:47:54 EST

From: GAATW <>
Subject: March 1999 Bulletin

Bulletin March 1999

              Inside this issue

                    From Forced Prostitution to Rehabilitation Centre: The
Case of Ying
                    Update on the Human Rights Standards Campaign
              From Forced Prostitution to Rehabilitation Centre: The Case
of Ying

Ying was born into a poor family in Lantsang village near the
Burmese-Chinese border. When Ying was sixteen years old, a neighbour in her
village contacted her parents to discuss taking Ying to Thailand to find
domestic work. Everyone agreed to this plan, and so Ying
accompanied her neighbour to the border of Thailand at Tachilek. After
they crossed into Mae-Sai district, the neighbour handed Ying over
to a new agent who was a Thai national. At the border, Ying was told she
was to stay overnight at this new agentís house. There, she found
three other young Burmese girls. That night and for the following two
nights, Ying and the girls were forced to have sex with Thai men.
They had no choice. After three days, Ying was sent to Bangkok with yet
another agent.

There were 30 other girls, all under 18 years, when she arrived at the
agentís house in Bangkok. Some of them were from Burma -
Keng-tung, Xib Xong Panna, and Mang Phong- whilst the rest were from
Thailand. In the morning the girls were sent to work as sex
workers in the Paris Massage Parlour in Bangkok. At night they were picked
up and returned to the agentís house. On the first day, one of
>the girls refused to work. She was beaten and confined to an unlit room
for three days with neither food nor water. All money from the
girlsí sex work went to the manager of the massage parlour; they could only
collect the tips given by some clients.

On October 12, 1998, the Thai police raided the Paris Massage Parlour, and
arrested Ying along with 22 other girls and the manager. The
girls were charged with working without a visa, and the manager was charged
with hiring illegal workers, and procuring women for the
purpose of prostitution. All the girls were immediately taken to a
government rehabilitation centre while the police collected evidence on
their case. Being young and totally ignorant of legal procedures, they were
worried about being sent to the rehabilitation centre. Some of
them were also afraid that the agents might track down their families and
try to recoup the money originally paid to their parents.

The case of Ying and her friends clearly exemplifies how essential it is
that all the parties concerned should have a proper understanding of
the situation. Cases like this are clearly dealing with victims of
trafficking and one needs to assist the women in getting legal protection and
provide them with their essential requirements.

GAATW and Foundation for Women (FFW) and the staff at the rehabilitation
centre have been working together on this case. Our
experience shows that it is not only important to impart legal training to
the victims but everyone who is in anyway involved with the cases
needs to undergo special training to provide the women with legal,
emotional and moral support. For example, the repatriation issue needs to

be handled with care. Many returned girls are retrafficked by agents who
wait at the borders. Therefore adequate measures should be taken
to prevent retrafficking and the girls should be given assurance regarding
that. We have been meeting with them in order to locate their
families. Many of these girls, including Ying had never left their village
before and as such they have little concept of their home address. In
our regular meetings with them we have been trying to raise their awareness
regarding their situation and how best they could face it. Some
of them have expressed interest in becoming volunteers so that the
information, which they have received, can be reimparted to fellow
victims. There are also others who have enthusiastically joined the skill
training programmes, which would enable them to start a new life. We
at GAATW and FFW are heartened to see this empowering process working among
the women. We also feel that a small measure of
success has been achieved in that these girls have been sent to the
rehabilitation centre and not to the detention centre. In the eyes of law,
these girls are indeed illegal immigrants and the normal procedure is to
send them to a detention centre. It is a proof of the cooperation and
understanding of concerned authorities that they have been treated as
victims and not as criminal.

However, this recognition, though essential, is only a first step. Adequate
funding should be made available so that we can assist them in
rebuilding their lives. As always, we stress that trafficked women should
not be criminalised. On the contrary, they need protection from the
criminals. And most importantly, all of us need to recognise their basic
human rights.

                           Update on the Human Rights Standards Campaign

In November last year the GAATW Working Group on Human Rights decided to
revise the existing Standard Mininum Rules for
Trafficked Persons (SMR) into a document which can be used to lobby at the
regional, national and international level for human rights
protection of trafficked persons. This document has been renamed the Human
Rights Standards for Trafficked Persons (HRS).

They are the work of several NGOs including GAATW, the Foundation Against
Trafficking in Women (STV) and the International Human
Rights Law Group in Washington, who developed the writing into a format
appropriate for inclusion into legal instruments. The HRS
includes an all-encompassing definition of Trafficking, and a set of State
Responsibilities which ensures that trafficked persons are protected
under human rights law. These responsibilities contain measures to provide
trafficked persons with access to justice, private actions and
reparations, access to the right to seek asylum, access to health and other
services, and help with repatriation and reintegration in their home

This work is particularly pertinent at the moment because the UN Crime
Commission is currently negotiating the text for a Protocol on
ìTrafficking in Women in Childrenî which will be attached to a new
Convention Against Transnational Crime. The Convention and the
Protocol should be finished by mid-2000. Currently, the US and Argentina
have proposed Draft Protocols on this issue. These will be

combined into one document for the next meeting in March in Vienna. Both
concentrate on the punitive aspects of curbing trafficking and
as such neither contain sufficient victim safeguards, and they have
different definitions of trafficking.

We are now lobbying for the inclusion of a human rights framework into the
final protocol. In the January meeting in Vienna, we distributed
two documents to this end, the HRS and Recommendations and Commentary on
the US draft protocol. In March, a staff member from
GAATW will travel to Vienna to help with this campaign. We will
concentrate on locating sympathetic delegates who would be willing to
submit official amendments to the protocol so that the definition and human
rights framework is improved.

The HRS and the Recommendations and Commentary can be read in full on our
website. You can also help in this campaign by writing or
emailing us at GAATW <> to endorse the human rights
standards. Please include your organisation name, town
and country.

Sri Lankan maid wins US$128,000 for ìslave treatmentî

LONDON, A Sri Lankan woman who fell three floors trying to escape from a
London flat where she was kept as a ìdomestic slaveî by a
wealthy Kuwaiti family has been awarded 77,988 pounds (US$128,000) in
The judge at the High Court in London, said the treatment suffered by
Sunrethra Jayasekera, 33, at the hands of her employers, Jaafar and
Khaleed Al Sayegh was ìalmost incredible ... in London in the 1990ísî
Jayasekeraís dawn escape in March 1991 from the ninth-floor flat in
central London came after 37 days of working without a single day off, any
pay, or a chance to go out. She was fed on the childrenís
leftovers, made to sleep on their bedroom floor, repeatedly kicked,
verbally abused, told she would be taken to Kuwait, and threatened with
(Source: Asian Migration News, February 1999)

Police raid sex-slave business in Toronto

TORONTO, Police made 39 arrests including several dozen Asian women who had
been held as sex slaves last night in Toronto, Canada.
Project Trade, a year-long investigation into a prostitution ring in which
women were brought from Thailand to work in brothels, massage
parlours and hotels was wrapped up after last nightís raids by officers
including those from Toronto police and Immigration Canada.
A total of 192 prostitution-related charges were laid, including keeping a
common bawdy house, procuring for the purpose of prostitution,
forcible confinement and forging documents. Police estimate that the sex
ring supplied 30 to 40 women every three months to about 15
brothels in the Toronto area. Agents would be sent to Thailand to recruit
women willing to come to Canada to work as prostitutes. The
women would arrive on a visitorís visa or with a bogus passport.
ìTonightís exercise was to target the agents ... and we were quite
successful,î said Detective Peter Yuen of the Toronto forceís special
(Asian) task force. ì I think we broke the back of the organisation.î
Yuen believes that these raids have cut the flow of Thai prostitutes into
the Toronto area for about two years. Yuen would not describe the
business as a sex-slave ring because there are contracts involved. While

under contract, brothel keepers hold all documents and the girlsí
movements are controlled. If arrested, the women are usually abandoned
by their pimps and agents and, ìleft to rot in jail,î he said.

(Source:Toronto Star and Toronto Sun, December 3, 1998)

100 Kids Abused Daily in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, The first scientific study on the scale of child sex abuse in Sri
Lanka has concluded that 100 young people are sexually abused
or exploited every day on the island. The draft report prepared by a
local organisation called Protecting Children and Environment
Everywhere found that while foreign paedophiles came to Sri Lanka to have
sex with young boys, it was girls who suffered most from
abuse within the community. The study said most foreign paedophiles came
>from western Europe but pointed out the involvement of local
agents and pimps. The authors also highlighted the plight of what they
termed the bonded children, aged from five upwards who are kept
virtual prisoners in houses run by international rings and who are used for
prostitution and pornography. In addition, the report looked at
sexual abuse within the family or community, and interviewed 100 victims,
nearly all of them girls. They found that many of them had one
parent, usually the mother, who was working abroad. The victims were easy
prey because they were unsupervised. The report found there
was no rehabilitation or counselling available for victims who are often
stigmatised by society. Currently, sexually abused children are sent
to remand or detention homes where offenders and victims live side-by-side.
(Source: STOP TRAFFIC, 12 February 1999)

Parliament Votes to Lift Brothel Ban

AMSTERDAM, The Dutch parliament has voted to legalise brothels. swayed by
arguments that proper regulation of the sex industry would
help reduce trafficking in women, exploitation of minors and drugs crime.
Only the opposition Christian Democrats and three small religious
parties came out against Tuesdayís draft law, which now passes to the upper
house for rubber stamping. If the reform becomes law, from
January 1 next year an estimated 2,000 brothels will be treated exactly the
same way as any other business. They will be required to register
their workers, meet minimum safety standards and conditions. Labor Prime
Minister Wim Kokís coalition government argues that an end to
the ban on brothels will bring a myriad social benefits, making it
difficult for criminals to use illicit sex clubs as a cover and for illegal
immigrants to find work. Under existing legislation, prostitution is legal
but brothels are not, although they are tolerated in many cities.
According to the cabinet, lifting the ban on brothels will strip from the
worldís oldest profession, the evils of drugs crime, trafficking in
women and smuggling of firearms.
(Source: Stop Traffic, 12 February 1999)

AIDS IMPACT 1999, 4th International Conference, Biopsychosocial Aspects of
HIV Infection. July 15 - 18 1999.
This year AIDS IMPACT will meet in Ottawa, Canada. Since the first
conference convened in Amsterdam in 1991, AIDS Impact has

evolved into a major international forum for the open exchange of ideas
and a place where science and practice mix.
AIDS Impact is designed to provide information on how the latest medical
research findings affect the psychosocial aspects of HIV. AIDS
Impact brings together people of diverse backgrounds including
professionals, volunteers and people living with the HIV virus.
Due to the large number of recent requests, the abstract deadline has been
extended to 15 March 1999.
For further information email, and visit the web page at:

('NETWORKING' is to provide a ëmeeting placeí for organisations concerned
with the issue of TIW and children. Interested organisations
who wish to network with others in the field can send us information on
your work, including the contact address, either by mail or through
e-mail to (subject:bulletin)

The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
The International Coordination Office,
P.O.Box 1281 Bangrak Post Office,
Bangkok 10500 THAILAND.

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