Prevention of Trafficking in Women
last updated September 1, 2005
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.
Prevention of trafficking in women requires examining the factors that contribute to the problem as well as providing education to potential victims. Both government and non-governmental programs should identify women who are at risk for trafficking and provide them with the tools necessary to find work abroad without putting themselves at risk. At the same time, more far-reaching programs that address gender inequalities in the labor market are needed to combat trafficking in women. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights produced a report entitled “Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking” in 2002. It identifies demand as a root cause of trafficking; saying, “[S]trategies aimed at preventing trafficking should take into account demand as a root cause. States and governmental organizations should also take into account the factors that increase vulnerability to trafficking, including inequality, poverty and all forms of discrimination and prejudice.”
Within the broad category of prevention, government bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should take both a short-term and long-term approach 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.