Trafficking is the biggest violation of human rights and the third largest and fastest growing criminal activity in the world.

I invite you to participate, as an individual or through your organisation, in the UK Anti-Trafficking Network Platform. Trafficking of human beings has become a global criminal phenomenon and millions of young women and girls are being caught up in this destructive web of fear and violence. This massive and rapidly increasing enslavement of women and children by criminals must be opposed. ‘All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men and women to do nothing!’

WomenAid is a humanitarian aid and development agency that campaigns against human rights violations.  We took up the challenge of anti-trafficking work several years ago and are actively implementing protection and prevention strategies.  An anti-trafficking conference will take place in London in 11 March 2002.  I hope you and your colleagues will support this initiative to combat traffickers.

   Pida Ripley, MA, AKC, Founder

According to UN statistics, the vast majority of victims of traffickers are women and children. Every year, millions of women and girls are lured, abducted, sold or coerced into forced prostitution and bonded labour. The cost of communications is now so low that millions travel around the world in search of sex.  Prostitution, which used to be limited by tradition and custom, has become a global market – as has pornography.   “It is the world's biggest violation of human rights,” according to Pino Arlacchi, executive director of the UN Drug Control Program. Trafficking in the 21st Century has become a global phenomenon and provides a transnational challenge: it is a criminal activity, a human rights abuse and an economic empowerment and social justice issue.

Anti-trafficking strategies require a multifaceted and multilateral approach. Governments have realised that they cannot combat such a complex challenge alone and this has led to the establishment of a new UN Convention. Signed in Palermo in December 2000 by more than 120 nations, the Convention on Transnational Organised Crime marks a significant step forward in international cooperation on the rule of law and combating global crime. 

The Convention has three attached Protocols, one of which specifically relates to trafficking of women and children.  The basic purpose of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons is to "prevent and combat" trafficking in persons and facilitate international co-operation against such trafficking.

Although the British government has signed the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and its three attached Protocols and there is increasing awareness of the phenomenon of trafficking, there has not yet been any UK-wide mechanism to facilitate the broad cooperation of all parties.  The United Nations and the European Parliament have repeatedly stressed the indispensable role of non-governmental organisations and individuals in combating violence in all its forms and encouraged their increased involvement.  WomenAid has now established a UK Anti-Trafficking Network Platform (UKAT) to facilitate the development of appropriate strategies and action in Britain.

We cannot build a strong civil society without working together and creating associations and networks that enable us to make progress on the issues we care about or are threatened by. The growth of trafficking threatens national and global communities and collaboration is essential at all levels. 
  • Every year 2 million girls aged between 5 and 15 are coerced, abducted, sold or trafficked into the illegal sex market.

  • UN figures suggest that 500,000 women are trafficked to Europe alone every year.

  • Well over $7 billion a year is generated from sex trade trafficking.

  • Current global figures indicate 200 million people are held in various forms of slavery.

  • Some four million people are trafficked globally today: 4% of all the world’s migrants.

  • Two million children every year become victims of paedophiles and their networks as global demand for child pornography and child prostitution escalates.





“Women and children are not property, but human beings. The international community should declare, loudly and more strongly than ever, that we are all members of the human family. Slavery simply has no place in a world of human rights”.


UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan

“It is clear that governments acting individually cannot address the problem adequately”.

Antonio Vitorino, EU Home Affairs Commissioner.




Since 1993 WomenAid International has been working in the republics of the former Soviet Union (CIS) where crumbling state control has been an open invitation to organised crime. The CIS region has become the main source of young girls and women trafficked to Western Europe and the USA.

It is the world’s biggest violation of human rights.  Trafficking of human beings is growing fastest in Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union. This region now rivals such "traditional" source regions as Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. 

Pino Arlacchi  Under Secretary-General Director General, UN Office at Vienna

Executive Director, Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.

Georgia has long been recognised as a ‘transit’ country for trafficked persons and with a background of economic hardship, civil wars and increasing poverty there is increasing vulnerability of women and children to trafficking gangs. WomenAid, through its Georgian-based ‘Health and Gender Equity Centre’ took up the challenge of anti-trafficking work several years ago, implementing prevention and protection strategies. During 2000 WomenAid developed an anti-trafficking multi-media campaign, ‘Be Smart! Be Safe!’ which has now become an annual event with the Georgian government authorizing State TV and radio to broadcast public service announcements produced by WomenAid and endorsing and assisting distribution of Be Smart! Be Safe! leaflets and posters.


WomenAid International has developed and proved the effectiveness of its ‘Network Platform Concept’ in facilitating coordination and cross-sector sustainable dialogue between government, law enforcement bodies, human rights and women’s NGOs, media, and health and education professionals.  In Georgia it was essential to establish a ‘common understanding’ of the problem by all sectors of society and to introduce the issue of trafficking to the public from a broad based cross-sectoral platform. WomenAid’s innovative approach led to the establishment of a Georgian Anti-Trafficking Network Platform, which is now a broad coalition of more than 90 key players and stakeholders working together to raise awareness by providing information to the public about the threats posed by irregular migration and the trafficking of people.  It is recognized within Georgia as a central resource provider of informed and accurate data on trafficking.

WomenAid has now created a UK Anti-Trafficking Network Platform (UKAT), to focus on counter-trafficking strategies, including provision of comprehensive support and restitution for victims, promotion of effective application of legislation and the prosecution and appropriate sentencing of traffickers.


Established in 1987 as a humanitarian aid and development agency, WomenAid International was the first UK agency to focus on empowering women worldwide.  Dedicated to assisting women and children in distress caused by war, disaster or poverty, it also campaigns for human rights and supports development of civil society.

WomenAid supplies relief assistance in conflict zones and implements development projects providing resources and training which lessen the burden of poverty, unemployment and ill-health.  Supported by the public, European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), UN agencies and UK Department for International Development (DFID), WomenAid has provided over 30,000 tonnes of food, medical and other aid valued at £12 million, to more than 1.5 million vulnerable women and children. 


WomenAid International has campaigned on behalf of the rape victims in the former Yugoslavia war and since 1998 has worked in solidarity with Afghan women whose basic human rights were denied by the Taliban.

WomenAid has now established a UK Anti-Trafficking Network Platform to undertake similar work in Britain and invites participation of both individuals and organizations.

The UK Anti-Trafficking Network Platform (UKAT) aims to:

  • Facilitate the development of effective anti-trafficking strategies by building a UK network of policy makers, the police and judiciary, local authorities, faith-based groups, charities, individual experts and non-governmental organisations;

  • Promote the effective application of existing legislation and law enforcement to ensure the prosecution and more appropriate sentencing of traffickers;

  • Lobby for the creation of new UK legislation where appropriate;

  • Support prevention and protection projects targeting those most at risk;

  • Increase public awareness of the needs of victims and of the links between trafficking and poverty;

  • Campaign for funding of appropriate legal aid and provision of support services for victims as well as victim rights to restitution;

  • Develop alliances with trades unions, academia and the commercial sector;

  • Build a resource team of individual Advocates Against Trafficking.

The UK Anti-Trafficking Network Platform hosts ‘issue-specific’ Round Table Dialogues and Network Platform meetings that will explore the complex issue of trafficking of human beings and related irregular migration issues to facilitate the development of effective counter-trafficking strategies.



3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL

Tel: + 44 020 7839 1790 or

+ 44 020 7976 1032  

Fax: + 44  020 7839 2929


Regd. Charity No. 299224


UKAT Application Form ~ Anti-Trafficking Index ~ Home

© Copyright WomenAid International 2002

TEL:  +44 (0) 20 7839 1790    FAX: +44 (0) 20 7839 2929
E-MAIL:   Reg. Charity No. 299224