6. Prevention of Trafficking in Women

Trafficking is a complex problem that requires a multifaceted approach. Frequently, anti-trafficking initiatives at the state level have focused on legal reform and prosecution. As the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) points out, however, "effective anti-trafficking strategies should never be restricted to post-trafficking criminal prosecutions. States are also obliged to take adequate measures for the prevention of trafficking." From OSCE Reference Guide for Anti-Trafficking Legislative Review.

Within the broad category of prevention, government bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should take both a short-term and long-term perspective to addressing trafficking. Short-term actions include education and awareness-raising initiatives. Medium and longer-term projects include lobbying efforts to change national laws, training and technical cooperation projects for law enforcement and the judiciary and improving the social and economic position of vulnerable women.

Education and Awareness Raising

Education initiatives may be directed toward the general public, as a form of awareness raising and information campaigns, or toward women and girls who are vulnerable to being trafficking. There are a number of ways that information can be disseminated to the public- through press conferences, media campaigns, public service announcements, distribution of informational leaflets, documentary films and email and the Internet, for example.

Regardless of the manner in which information is conveyed to the public, an effective anti-trafficking campaign should take into consideration both the audience and the message that is to be conveyed. The U.S. National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women has developed a Toolkit To End Violence Against Women which contains concrete guidelines to NGOs, community and policy leaders who are working to end violence against women in all forms. While, the toolkit does not address trafficking specifically, it does include a chapter on Educating and Mobilizing the Public About Violence Against Women with guidelines and action items on public education.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), in cooperation with the Media Materials Clearinghouse (Johns Hopkins Center for Communications Programs), has published a compilation of materials, Picturing a Life Free From Violence: Media and Communications Strategies to End Violence Against Women that includes sample campaigns developed around the world to address trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. More information about and guidelines for working with the media can be found in the Training section.

Much of the work in the area of education has been directed to providing women and girls who are at risk of being trafficked with information about potential dangers. Advice and information can be disseminated through leaflets and brochures, lecture or video presentations or through educational programs in schools and universities. La Strada Bulgaria has created a set of guidelines called "Things to Think About for Women and Girls Who Decide to Work Abroad," . The U.S. Department of State created a brochure titled, Be Smart, Be Safe, which includes information for women on how they can protect themselves when they travel to and work in the U.S. The promotion of vocational training and general education for girls is another tactic to reduce women's vulnerability to being trafficked.

Many NGOs also operate telephone hotline services, both for victims of trafficking and also to provide information to women and girls who are considering traveling abroad for work purposes. More information about the creation of a telephone hotline and training of hotline staff can be found in the Training section.

Training Programs and Technical Cooperation

Professional training programs, while educational, are distinct from the general awareness raising projects discussed above. The objective for training programs on trafficking in women is to provide technical instruction, assistance and support for professionals who are already working to address the problem. Training is geared toward law enforcement agents, prosecutors, the judiciary, lawyers, immigration officers, medical personnel and NGO representatives. Effective training, most often carried out by NGOs, requires facilitators who themselves have been educated in training techniques. Guidelines for Developing a Training Program can be found on this site. Sample training programs on the issue of trafficking in women can be found in the Training section.

Technical cooperation can also take the form of local, national, regional or international conferences. The OSCE promotes cooperation between participating States through meetings in which experts can "discuss specific needs and challenges, share approaches and best practices, and promote joint actions between origin and destination countries." Technical cooperation can be take place between small groups of experts or between one or two countries and do not necessarily have to be on the level of an international conference. The main goal of technical cooperation is to share expertise in order improve each country's ability to respond to the needs of trafficking victims and to facilitate international efforts to combat the problem. In its Proposed Action Plan 2000 for Activities to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, the OSCE recommended organizing roundtable meetings "in two to three key destination countries, with the aim of enhancing co-operation between embassy officials of the countries of origin and NGOs and officials of the destination countries around the issue of victim assistance. The objectives would be to raise awareness and to enhance international co-operation at a practical level, by improving the capacity of source-country embassies in destination countries to provide assistance and support to their nationals who become victims of trafficking."


Long-term work to prevent trafficking includes putting pressure on national governments to take the problem seriously. NGOs, at the local, national and international levels, can engage in lobbying for such changes as strengthening legislation against trafficking, the allocation of resources to combat trafficking, increased government spending on protection of and services for victims of trafficking and for government sponsored anti-trafficking campaigns. Effective lobbying requires specific strategies such as the need to clearly identify the desired change, to develop a plan of action and to gather support for the issue. More information about developing lobbying strategies can be found in the Advocacy section.

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