Response to: 14 Women Ministers Seek End to Human Trafficking

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Subject: Response to: 14 Women Ministers Seek End to Human Trafficking
From: Archana Tamang (
Date: Thu Oct 28 1999 - 18:42:45 EDT

Mental impoverishment, I believe, is also one of the underlying causes of
Human trafficking when people in the economically poor
countries cannot keep up with the pace of Globalisation and MNC interests.
Human Trafficking is based on the culture of greed
where "humans" are just merchandise or commodities...where a brother sells
a sister; parents sell their daughters; uncles sell
their nephews and nieces and husbands sell their wives......the color of
money is so attractive to them.....because it can buy
rose-tinted glasses!

Nepal is one of the worst hit countries in South Asia. Almost 7000 women
and girl children are trafficked from this country
every year. Many of the Indian brothels thrive on Nepali women and girls.
Most recently a woman returned in a bodybag from
Kuwait. Hundreds of women have been trafficked to the Middle-East, Hong
Kong and other parts of Asia- also to Germany. Most
recently trafficking to the Middle-East from Nepal is said to take place
via Bangladesh.....there are initiatives and there are
initiative ( against the crime) but the vicious circle continues...and
traffickers and perpetrators feast on their "pound of

I'd like to thank the 14 women ministers for coming together to express
solidarity against this crime. Due to their effort, at
least one person will be saved from being drugged, or raped, or treated
like an animal, or sold, or killed.

Archana Tamang
ActionAid Nepal

>>> "" 21-Oct-99 3:32:56 am >>>
I am very happy to hear that the 14 Foreign Ministers talk about different
types of trafficking, such as domestic servitude. Although these Ministers
are obviously interested in women, they discuss the "human beings" which I
interpret as including men and boys who are trafficked!



      14 Women Ministers Seek End to Human Trafficking

OTC 10/16/99 1:32 AM

   UNITED NATIONS (All Africa News Agency, October 15, 1999) - Fourteen
women Foreign Ministers, including US Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright, have written to UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan seeking an end
to the widespread practice of trafficking in women and children.

     "On the edge of the 21st century, it is unacceptable that human beings
around the world are bought and sold into situations - such as sexual
exploitation, domestic servitude and debt bondage - that are little
different from slavery," their letter said.

     The 14 women Ministers - who thanked Annan for focusing international
action on "this heinous practice" - were from the Bahamas, Barbados,
Bulgaria, El Salvador, Finland, Niger, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, South Africa, Sweden and the United States.

     Describing themselves as "concerned women" - the Foreign Ministers gave
their "strong support for the struggle to end the repulsive trafficking in
human beings". The Ministers also pledged to build strong links among
themselves - and called on other nations to join them. They also pledged
support for the proposed UN Convention against Transnational Organised
Crime and the protocol on trafficking in persons, both of which are
currently under negotiation. Last week, speaking on behalf of the
15-member European Union EU, Finnish Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen
expressed concern over the discrimination of women world-wide.

     Halonen said trafficking in human beings violated many of the most
basic human rights and most of the victims of this practice were women and
children. She said that concerted international action was needed in the
fight against trafficking. "The EU supports the work done to develop
international standards to prevent these crimes and to punish the
perpetrators," Halonen said. "Measures must be taken to help victims of
this type of exploitation".

     The European Union considered human rights essential in the maintenance
of international peace and security, she noted and added that the United
Nations had a primary role in the promotion of universal respect for human

     The United Nations, meanwhile, also planned to probe the appalling
working conditions of women migrant workers in the Middle East, many of
whom toiled under conditions of near-slavery. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN
Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, said that her office was
examining the possibility of a visit to the Middle East to examine some of
the problems facing migrant workers in the region.

     Currently, millions of women workers, mostly domestic servants from the
Philippines, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, were reportedly working
under horrendous conditions in Western Europe and East Asia. Other areas
include Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United
Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman. Most Middle Eastern countries have
resisted attempts to open their doors to UN scrutiny.

     In a 1995 study titled, "Punishing the Victim: Rape and Mistreatment of
Asian Maids in Kuwait", the Middle East Watch said that housekeepers of
Indian, Sri Lankan, Bengali and Philippine origin were targets of rape,
physical assault, non-payment of salaries, debt bondage and abusive work
conditions because of their nationality".

     The International Labour Organisation ILO has reported numerous cases
of maltreatment, sexual harassment and abuse, and excessive workloads.
Salma Khan of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women said abuses committed against women migrant workers were of great
concern to her Committee. "Many of the women migrant workers were being
trafficked and abused," she added.

     Publication Date: October 18, 1999
     By Stephen Mbogo in Nairobi
     Copyright 1999 All Africa News Agency. Distributed via Africa News

Melanie Orhant

***************************************************** Archana Tamang ACTIONAID Lazimpat GPO Box no. 6257 Kathmandu Nepal 44601 Tel: 436477, 419115, 421232, 410929 Fax: 977 (1) 419718 My E-mail is: *****************************************************

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