Conference on the Status of Women Produces Resolution on Reducing the Demand for Trafficking of Women and Girls
Monday, March 21, 2005 11:05 AM

By the close of the 10-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, governments agreed to a resolution aimed at reducing the demand for human trafficking. Early in the conference, the United States introduced a resolution that took a hard-line approach to combating human trafficking. The initial resolution sought to punish everyone involved in the global problem, including “exploiters and sex buyers who create the demand for prostitution that leads to sex trafficking” and the victims themselves.

In response to the U.S.-led resolution, numerous governments offered amendments that described trafficking as a phenomenon which encapsulates more than prostitution-related activities but also the illegal exchange of slave-type laborers, domestic servants, babies and human organs. Amendments to the U.S. resolution also sought to explain why global trafficking occurs: Poor economic conditions, official corruption, insufficient labor laws, as well as discrimination against women all work to promote environments in which trafficking thrives.

Despite their initial disagreements, governments finally reached consensus on a resolution, which includes strong enough human rights language to condemn all forms of exploitation that flows from trafficking.

According to a U.N. Press Release, the final resolution calls on governments to adopt or strengthen laws to deter both the supply and demand-side of trafficking. The resolution also asks governments to criminalize traffickers as well as take steps to protect the victims of this crime. In addition, the resolution demands that governments cooperate on regional and international levels to reduce trafficking, raise public awareness of the problem through state-wide educational campaigns and encourage the private sector, and in particular the tourism industry and Internet providers, to conduct its business with the aim to prevent trafficking. Finally, the resolution demands that governments provide training on commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking to armed forces, peacekeepers, military and civilians stationed in other countries.

To view an unofficial copy of the final resolution click here.

Compiled from:

Women's Rights Conference Reaches Fragile Consensus on Trafficking, Joanne Omang, Ms. Magazine Online, 14 March 2005

Commission on the Status of Women Adopts 10 Wide-Ranging Resolutions, U.N. Press Release, WOM/1504, 11 March 2005.