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The Bangkok Call for Justice for Women Migrant Workers

Partners in Change, Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) November 6-8, 2002, Bangkok

The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) along with several of its network members recent held a 3-day event on 6-8 November, 2002 in Bangkok. This event, Partners in Change, brought together a number of people from across Asia who have been working from their specific locations to articulate and affirm the human rights framework. This was a unique gathering in that many of our participants belong to the so called 'marginalised groups' — trafficked women, domestic workers and sex workers. However, all of them have rejected 'permanent victimhood', organised themselves, questioned the attitude of mainstream society and policy makers towards them, and claimed their rights as human beings. Partners in Change celebrated and analysed those courageous efforts, and discussed future collaborative strategies.

This letter was written by DMSC to encourage people to write to the the Chief Minister of West Bengal, the state Home Ministry, the Human Rights Commission and the National as well as State Commission for Women to demand justice for the violent beating, harassment, and discrimination against Rekha Lodh, a sex workers in the Tollygunj red-light district in Kolkata.

Abuses against sex workers and erosions of HIV prevention efforts resulting from anti-trafficking initiatives

The following is direct testimony from a Pondicherry-based NGO, Society for Development, Research & Training (SFDRT) describing exactly how anti-trafficking programmes are rolling out IN PRACTICE. Whatever the theory of anti-trafficking, UNAIDS, ILO, UNDP, USAID and others must see that in practice anti-trafficking initiatives are a direct threat to sexual health programmes and to the human rights of sex workers and migrants. – November, 2002.

It is indeed an additional burden to work with HIV/AIDS preventive programme with that of trafficking issues but at the same time it is quite evident that those of whom are working on STD/HIV/AIDS are the best to work on anti-trafficking issues too. With an example sited below where in the staff of SFDRT with four other NGOs were invited by the top officials of the police dept. in Pondicherry for a topic on anti-trafficking and NGOs support.

Making Sex Work Safe in Asia-Pasifika
Langkawe, October 2002

Recommendations

  1. Local sex worker groups be involved in implementing the resource MSWS-A.P
  2. That sex workers run their own groups and projects
  3. To support the involvement and empowerment of more HIV+ sex workers in APNSW and local groups
  4. The APNSW needs to receive support (including funding) for it to grow and fulfil the needs of sex workers in the region.
Theme: Health