F A C T   F I L E:

“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.

“The UN’s code of conduct for peacekeepers is not enough.  Awareness training for peacekeepers should be an integral part of their training before being deployed. It is essential that all UN forces are held to the same standards of international human rights law as are nation states - to do otherwise creates a climate of impunity in which offences proliferate”.

Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Rapporteur on Violence against Women, commenting on the increasing trafficking of women for prostitution in areas where UN peacekeepers are stationed.





The first UK Anti-Trafficking Network (UKAT) conference, ‘Combating Global Trafficking : Approaches, Strategies and Interventions’ will be held in London on 11 March 2002 at Bloomberg L. P. TV Centre, City Gate House, 39-45 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1PQ.   Organised by WomenAid International, the conference is the first of a series of anti-trafficking conferences that will take place during 2002 with the aim of supporting the development of a UK National Strategy and Plan of Action to combat the trafficking of people, the fastest growing criminal activity in the world.

Antonio Vitorino, EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner, has frequently stated ‘governments acting individually cannot address the problem adequately’ and many governments are now taking collaborative action to counter the high level of human trafficking of women and children to and through Europe.  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.

Speakers include:

Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women

Ms Coomaraswamy opens the conference with a review of the UN response to this rapidly increasing criminal activity and has also agreed to chair a session on international counter-trafficking coordination and strategies.  Ms Coomaraswamy is  a lawyer and has been the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women since 1994 when the post was established.

The Italian Ambassador, Signor Luigi Amaduzzi,

Signor Amaduzzi has agreed to speak about the Italian perspective on the scale of the problem, the response, strategies and interventions. Italian collaborative activities outlined will including the focus on the EU-Africa Summit goal to combat the trafficking of women and girls from Africa by securing endorsement of a ‘Plan of Action’ at Lisbon in 2003.

The High Commission of Nigeria

According to the Nigerian Minister of State Justice, Mr Muso Elayo Abdullahi, about 45,000 Nigerians are trafficked to Europe each year. Some of these Nigerian girls are ending up in Britain. The Federal Government of Nigeria has submitted a bill to the National Assembly which would make trafficking a punishable offence and is cooperating with other States on the development of further action against trafficking.

Ambassador of Ukraine.

The Government of Ukraine and the Ukraininan NGO community are working together with international agencies to develop effective counter-trafficking strategies. Many young Ukrainian women are lured into the sex industry by promises of work abroad, while economic conditions within the country worsen. Many of these women are forced into prostitution on arrival in a foreign country.  They are physically prevented from returning home, their passports are confiscated,  their money is taken and they may not be able to ask for help because of unfamiliarity with the local language and customs. There is evidence of Ukrainian girls trafficked into the UK.

Mr Peter Brannen, International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Director of the ILO London office, Peter Brennan will be speaking on the invaluable work ILO/IPEC undertakes to combat trafficking in children. For almost a decade the International Labour Organisation’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child labour (IPEC) has mobilised global action to combat child labour. According to ILO, there are  some 250 million working children around the world and many are victims of the ‘worst forms of child labour – such as slavery, prostitution, pornography and bonded labour.

Professor David Barrett, Dean of Faculty of Healthcare and Social Policy, Luton University

Professor Barrett will speak about the organised trafficking of teenage asylum seekers and their coercion into the sex trade. Professor Barrett is a co-author of ‘Knowledge of Evil’ the first detailed study of the commercial exploitation of children and youth for sex.

Mr Justice Singer, Family Division, Royal Courts of Justice

Sir Peter Singer will be talking on child protection and the need for greater awareness of the issue of trafficking and the apparent absence of political will to respond to the phenomenon of women and children trafficked to and through the UK.

Inspector Paul Holmes, Metropolitan Police,

Formerly working in the Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Unit, and currently the chairman of an Interpol working group on trafficking, Inspector Holmes will provide an update on Interpol activities.

Mr Malcolm Harper, CMG,  Director United Nations Association (UNA)

Malcolm Harper will speaking about the value of NGO activities in awareness-raising and lobbying for change and why UNA is a partner organisation of the UK Anti-Trafficking Network, UKAT.

Mr William Hughes, Director-General, National Crime Squad

will speak about ‘Project Reflex’, the multi-agency task force established set up last year to co-ordinate anti-trafficking operations and to develop effective strategies. Project Reflex is a multi-agency response to organised immigration crime, including people trafficking.  Led by the National Crime Squad, Reflex brings together all the key agencies involved in the interception and prosecution of people who traffic in human beings into the United Kingdom.  The main agencies involved are the Immigration Service, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the security and intelligence agencies, Europol, Customs and Excise and key police forces including the Metroploitan police, Kent and the British Transport police.

Carol Howlett, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Howlett leads for the Association of Chief Police Officers on child protection issues and is dealing with the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation.

Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Mr Koba Narchemashvili,

It is hoped that Mr Narchemashvili will also participate in the conference as part of his official visit to the UK. 

Pida Ripley, Founder WomenAid International

Established in 1987, WomenAid International is a humanitarian aid and development agency that also campaigns against human rights violations. Since 1993 WomenAid International has been working in republics of the former Soviet Union (CIS) where crumbling state control has been an open invitation to organised crime. WomenAid, through its Georgian-based ‘Health and Gender Equity Centre’ took up the challenge of anti-trafficking work several years ago and developed a Georgian national anti-trafficking network. During 2000 WomenAid developed an anti-trafficking multi-media awareness 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.

During the development of the WomenAid anti-trafficking programme in Georgia it became very evident the ‘network platform’ is a very useful mechanism for awareness-raising of the complex issue of trafficking of persons and securing coordination and collaboration across a broad cross-section of national society.  WomenAid  believes that similar networks would be very useful in ‘receiving’ countries. Accordingly, last year WomenAid International set about establishing a UK Anti-Trafficking Network Platform (UKAT). This UK Anti-Trafficking Network conference is the first of a series of such conferences that will be held during 2002.

Attendance by invitation only. 

The conference will be held in the Auditorium at Bloomberg TV Centre, City Gate House,

39-45 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1PQ.

Registration commences at 0945 hrs.  Conference 1030 hrs. to  1730 hrs. 

For more information please contact:

WomenAid International, 3 Whitehall Court, Whitehall, London SW1A 2EL

Tel:  + 44 (0)  20 7839 1790   &   020 7976 1032

Fax: + 44 (0)  20  7839 2929 

Press line: +44 (0) 20 7925 1331

Email: conference@womenaid.org

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