Appendix A

Definitions and ILO’s Approach


Various definitions are currently in use to describe trafficking in children and women. The definitions are similar in general, but contain different focuses and/or approaches. However, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women stated in her report (1997), after assessment of international standards and definitions on trafficking in women and children, the urgent need to reformulate international standards and to develop a clear definition covering all forms of trafficking in women and children. As the women's movement is deeply divided over this debate, straightforward definitions and answers are not yet at hand. Followings are examples of definitions used by some international organizations and the ILO/IPEC’s approach on the problem of children trafficking.
1. UN General Assembly:
The illicit and clandestine movement of persons across national and international borders, largely from developing countries and some countries with economies in transition, with the end goal of forcing women and girl children into sexually or economically oppressive and exploitative situations for the profit of recruiters, traffickers and crime syndicates, as well as other illegal activities related to trafficking, such as forces domestic labour, false marriages, clandestine employment and false adoption.
2. GAATW (Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women)
Trafficking in women refers to ‘all acts involved in the recruitment and/or transportation of a woman within and across national borders for work or services by means of violence or threat of violence, abuse of authority or dominant position, debt-bondage, deception or other forms of coercion’.
GAATW distinguishes trafficking in women from forced labour and slavery-like practices, the latter being defined as ‘the extraction of work or services from any woman or the appropriation of any woman by means of violence or threat of violence, abuse of authorities of dominant position, debt-bondage, deception or other forms of coercion’.
3. IOM (International Organization for Migration)
Any illicit transporting of migrant women and/or trade in them for economic or other personal gain. This may include the following elements:
  • Facilitating the illegal movement of migrant women to other countries, with or without their consent or knowledge;
  • Deceiving migrant women about the purpose of the migration, legal or illegal;
  • Physically or sexually abusing migrant women for the purpose of trafficking them;
  • Selling women into, or trading in women for the purpose of , employment, marriage, prostitution or other forms of profit-making abuse.
4. Focus of ILO/IPEC
Whichever of the above definitions one takes, it may also be applied to trafficking in children, in particular girl children, as more and more children around the world are being trafficked for sexual exploitation, child labour, and other forms of illegal activities and/or exploitation. For the ILO, the issue of exploitation not only addresses those who profit from the sexual exploitation of girls and women but that it also includes trafficking for the purpose of domestic labour, and other forms of work and service. The focus of ILO/IPEC with regard to trafficking in children is on children below 18 years of age, as specified in ILO's Minimum Age Convention 138 (1973).
LO’s Approach: Many organizations have developed different strategies to combat trafficking in children. At least five different perspectives can be identified on the issue: (1) a moral problem; (2) a problem of organized crime; (3) a migration problem; (4) a labour problem; and (5) a human rights problem. From ILO's perspective, trafficking in children is seen in the context of exploitative forms of child labour, ILO approaches trafficking in children as a labour and human rights problem by applying respectively Conventions 29 and 138, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Convention 29 refers to work that is exacted from a person under the menace of any penalty or for which the person has not offered himself voluntarily. Trafficking in children, as defined above, is covered under this Convention.
Minimum Age Conventions per sector have been introduced by the ILO as of 1919, and have culminated in Convention 138 of 1973 which stipulates the minimum age for admission to employment in all sectors, However, the ILO realizes that given the socio-economic situation of many developing countries and the lack of adequate resources and infrastructure, the complete elimination of child labour is bound to take time. Nevertheless, there can be no excuse for ignoring flagrant cases of child abuse, including trafficking in children. ILO is therefore in the process of developing a new Convention expressly directed against the most extreme forms of child labour. This new Convention will apply to all children under the age of 18, and will oblige ILO member States to suppress immediately all extreme forms of child labour including the sale and trafficking of children, forced or compulsory labour, and the use of children for prostitution.
The Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) sets minimum legal and moral standards for the protection of children's rights. The Convention stipulates the following general principles: Non-discrimination; best interest of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and, the views of the child.
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