End Violence Working Group

EuroPROFEM - The European Men Profeminist Network http://www.europrofem.org 


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44en_vio ... Violence

End Violence Working Group


22 - 28 APRIL 1999

Electronic Newsletter No. 3 April 24, 1999

End Violence web sites


The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) is a feminist non-governmental human rights organization dedicated to fighting all forms of sexual exploitation of women and children, especially prostitution and trafficking in women. The Coalition is composed of regional networks and affiliated individuals and groups. We work with national and international policy-makers, women and human rights advocates, and the United Nations to promote the fundamental human rights of all women to be free from sexual exploitation.

Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work 

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Responds to ILO Report "The Sex Sector - The Economic and Social Basis of Prostitution in Southeast Asia."

The sex industry has lobbied for economic recognition of prostitution and related forms of sexual entertainment as sex work. Now the ILO has become the latest and most questionable group urging acceptance of the sex industry. Effectively the ILO is calling for governments to cash in on the booming profits of the industry by taxing and regulating it as a legitimate job.

United States Proposed Legislation International Trafficking of Women and Children Protection Act of 1999

On March 16, Senator Paul Wellstone and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter introduced the International Trafficking of Women and Children Victim Protection Act, a bill that addresses the problem of "forced trafficking." Its definition of trafficking is troubling and creates a dangerous precedent for future legislation. The bill offers protection and assistance only to victims who can prove that their trafficking was carried out through "the use of deception, coercion, debt bondage, the threat of force, or the abuse of authority."

A coalition of women's rights organizations united against trafficking in women and children calls for changes in the legislation.

Making the Harm Visible - Global Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children - Speaking Out and Providing Services 
Edited by Donna M. Hughes and Claire M. Roche, 354 pages, 1999.

This volume is a ground breaking collection of writings on the global sexual exploitation of women and girls by survivors, activists and service providers. The forty-four pieces from Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, North America and the Middle East offer personal, insightful and challenging perspectives on sexual violence and prostitution.

Pimps and Predators on the Internet - Globalizing the Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children
  By Donna M. Hughes, 80 pages, 1999.

When those with power introduce a new technology into a system of oppression and exploitation, it enables the powerful to intensify the harm and expand the exploitation. This characterizes what is happening as predators and pimps, who stalk, buy and exploit women and children, have moved to Internet sites and forums for advertising, documenting and engaging in sexual exploitation.

Organizing Against Sexual Exploitation - Regionally and Globally Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Bangladesh Global Conference, Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 26-29, 1999

CATW Electronic Newsletter is produced by Donna M. Hughes, Education and Research Coordinator, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
You have permission to re-post this newsletter


Hello everyone!

The Open Society Institute Network Women's Program is pleased to announce the 1999 Translation Grants competition. The theme of this year's competition is "Women at Risk: Violence Against Women, Women's Health and Girls Issues". This competition involves a grant of $5,000 to be awarded to publishers in OSI Network countries (see below) to translate books related to the above topics (see recommended book list attachment). This competition is a means through which to spread knowledge about the above issues to women who might not otherwise have access to such information because of language barriers.

We have compiled an impressive list of authors whose themes range from: healing from sexual violence; the theoretical study of rape; domestic violence intervention; sexual harassment in the workplace; body image; AIDS; menopause; adolescence; good health; etc.

We are seeking publishers from the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Yugoslavia.

Our goal this year is to reach as diverse a body of applicants as possible. Please distribute the attached information (which include guidelines of the competition, an application, and the recommended list of books that have been selected for this year's competition) to women's NGOs, small feminist publishers, publishing houses, grassroots organizations, and translators who are familiar with gender-related terms.

If you are not able to read the attachments, please let me know so that I can send you copies within the text of an e-mail (as opposed to an attachment).

Thanks for your help! If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (212) 548-0133.

Phoebe Schreiner, Intern Network Women's Program Open Society Institute 400 West 59th Street New York, New York 10019 (212) 548-0133 E-mail: pschreiner(AT)sorosny.org

Subj: executive director search Date: 4/27/99 5:57:05 PM Pacific Daylight Time From: info(AT)sojourner.org (Sojourner: The Women's Forum)


Executive Director Wanted For Sojourner Feminist Institute

Sojourner Feminist Institute, publisher of Sojourner: The Women¹s Forum, seeks a dynamic executive director. Duties include coordinating fundraising activities, including donor campaigns, grant applications, and community events; developing financial plans and budgets; directing organizational planning and development; overseeing personnel policies and staff supervision; representing Sojourner Feminist Institute to the public, donors, and funders; and guiding Board development. The executive director is also responsible for leadership in developing the institute¹s activist/educational work on welfare organizing, young feminist journalist training programs, and the women in prison project.

Candidates must have excellent communication and organizational skills, demonstrated fundraising experience, strong interpersonal and problem-solving skills, and commitment to progressive and feminist news and opinion. Experience with nonprofit organizations is desirable. Familiarity with communities of color, feminist, and queer communities important. Publishing experience helpful.

Sojourner Feminist Institute is a nonprofit organization committed to feminist media activism for social justice. We are committed to fighting sexism, racism, homophobia, and economic injustice. SFI publishes the monthly feminist newspaper Sojourner: The Women's Forum.

This end-violence campaign on the web site of the Instituto Social y Politico de la Mujer (Argentina) contains a vast amount of information (in Spanish) on various forms of violence against women, legislation, bibliography and useful links.


This message summarizes the major discussion points made on the "end-violence" Working Group. Inevitably, many valuable points will not be captured here, and new Working Group members are encouraged to obtain past Working Group archives.  http://www.globalknowledgepartnership.org/index.cfm 



Members of the Working Group emphasized the need to enlist the media in raising awareness about violence against women and eliminating gender stereotyping in media representations of women. As an example of the powerful role of media in shaping public opinion, one member cited the positive contributions of the media to the anti-arrack (a local liquor) campaign by women’s groups in India. She detailed the role of a local daily newspaper which gave extensive coverage to the campaign and facilitated efforts by women to organize. Another member described a video and related campaign by a national women’s organization in the United States designed to raise awareness about the influence of media and its portrayals of women. Along the same lines, a member described her efforts to raise awareness among college students in the United States about the sexual objectification of women in the media.

Several members noted the reluctance of media to address violence against women or to promote representations of women that encourage respect for their human rights. One member stated that the media generally do not serve the interests of marginalized sectors of society. She proposed the following strategies for encouraging media to act in support of the elimination of violence against women: maintaining databases on cases of violence against women and the role of media in those cases; campaigning against media that are not objective regarding violence against women; building alliances with human rights groups, feminist writers and others to protest media practices; holding workshops for media on violence against women and women’s human rights; raising media awareness about the role of law enforcement; maintaining close relationships with media personnel and giving them feedback; and acknowledging positive contributions by media to ending violence against women.

Another member proposed that activists work with media professionals and academics to develop codes of conduct for media that promote positive representations of women. Her organization, an international women’s information and communications group, conducted a survey of media codes in effect in ten countries in Asia and the Pacific. The survey revealed that the codes address only general professional standards and concluded that the codes inadvertently reinforce traditional values that undermine women’s equality. Although the numbers of women in media have increased, there is no gender parity regarding their participation in decision-making. She noted that because media shape public opinion, images that devalue women contribute to gender-based violence. In addition to the development of codes of conduct, she identified the following strategies: monitoring media practices; creating awards for best practices; and involving policy-makers in media (including editors and publishers) in the review of the women and media section of the Beijing Platform for Action.

A member of the Working Group outlined factors that were identified by a newspaper reporter as the reasons for limited or non-existing coverage of violence against women, including domestic violence. The reporter, who covers crime for a major daily in the United States, explained that: 1) faced with the choice of reporting on gang violence or a case of domestic violence, he would choose the gang violence story because it is "public violence," while the perpetrators of domestic violence are a danger only to the women with them. Moreover, he stated that reporting domestic violence causes the victim shame and it is difficult to report a story when the victim is uncooperative; 2) police officers are generally reluctant to discuss cases of violence against women and reporters are not notified about these cases, as they are about other types of crimes; 3) reporters do not have the time to research statistics on violence against women if they wanted to develop the story; and 4) reporters generally have no relationship with women’s organizations that might be sources of information, but do have close working relationships with the police. In light of these rationales, the member of the Working Group suggested that women’s groups and other NGOs be more proactive with the media, by building relationships with reporters and developing statistics and other information on violence against women for use by the media.

Two feminist journalists working in North America similarly stressed the importance of developing ongoing personal relationships with media personnel and proposing ideas for stories and editorials. One noted that right-wing groups in the U.S. have secured media coverage of their views by systematically generating information for the media and cultivating relationship with reporters and other media professionals. In contrast, she noted that feminist, anti-violence and leftist groups rarely approach media with ideas for stories.

Finally, a member who works in listener-supported public radio identified public service announcements as a particularly effective educational tool. She proposed that international initiatives for the creation of "PSAs" on violence against women be undertaken through partnerships among women’s groups, media, government, educational institutions, and corporate sponsors.



A member of the Working Group reported on strategies being pursued by women’s groups in Turkey for addressing "honour killings." "Honour killings" are murders of women by their male relatives husbands, fathers, or brothers because they are perceived as having damaged family honour by engaging in extra-marital sexual activities. The perpetrators frequently escape punishment or their punishment is greatly reduced by prosecutors or courts. In Turkey, underage boys are often chosen to carry out the killing because their age will mitigate punishment. The killings are increasingly carried out in public, a fact which highlights the expectation of impunity and the desire to convey a warning to other women and girls in the community. Her organization is calling for amendments to the criminal code to allow women’s groups and individual advocates to intervene in cases and to prevent the age of the perpetrator from serving as a basis for reduced sentence. In addition, they are launching a regional imitative against "honour killings," which also occur in other countries in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.




Members of the Working Group posted information on developments at the national level, including: the decision of the General Insurance Company in India to cancel plans to offer insurance coverage for rape and other incidents of violence against women, due to objections by women’s groups to the proposal; the decision of an Israeli court rejecting an argument by a defendant in a rape case that he was not responsible for his conduct because the anti-impotence drug Viagra caused him to lose control. The court did find, however, that the drug was a contributing factor in the assault.

18 FEBRUARY - 17 MARCH, 1999

This message summarizes the major discussion points made on the <end-violence> Working Group. Inevitably, many valuable points will not be captured here, and new Working Group members are encouraged to obtain past Working Group archives. 


In response to UNIFEM’s invitation to share strategies for addressing the human rights of women who have been trafficked for purposes of economic or sexual exploitation, members of the Working Group identified several preventive and remedial strategies and debated their views on prostitution. This summary presents an overview of the debate on these issues.

Several members emphasized the need to develop strategies that: 1) address trafficking for purposes of economic, as well as sexual exploitation; and 2) focus on measures to ensure the human rights of women and girls in situations of sexual or economic exploitation. They noted that the root causes of both sexual and economic exploitation include systemic gender discrimination and economic inequalities at all levels - within the family and within local, national and global economies. International and national strategies to eliminate trafficking should therefore take into account the relationship between trafficking for purposes of economic exploitation and trafficking for sexual exploitation, situating both in the context of migration and globalization, as well as the subordination of women.

The following definition of trafficking in persons was suggested by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women and the International Human Rights Law Group:

All acts and attempted acts involved in the recruitment, transportation within or across borders, purchase, sale, transfer, receipt or harbouring of a person involving the use of deception, coercion (including the use or threat of force or the abuse of authority) or debt bondage for the purpose of placing or holding such person, whether for pay or not, in involuntary servitude (domestic, sexual or reproductive), in forced or bonded labour, or in slaverylike conditions, in a community other than the one in which such person lived at the time of the original deception, coercion or debt bondage. One member of the Working Group pointed out that the term "trafficking" is used to describe a range of activities, including: voluntary illegal crossing off borders; internal migration of persons engaged in illegal activities (prostitution); and involuntary smuggling of persons. She proposed that it be used to describe the "abusive forced or misrepresented" movement of women and men for the financial gain of others. Citing an example from Bangladesh, she stated that the enforcement of anti-trafficking laws has led to human rights abuses by the state, where the state has been licensed to "save" women and is itself anti-woman. She stressed that women who are thought to be trafficked need their own organizations to define agendas for themselves, before others seek to help them.

Regarding trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, members of the Working Group disagreed strongly regarding whether prostitution is in and of itself a violation of women’s human rights. Their views on strategies to ensure the human rights of women in prostitution differed accordingly. Several members characterized prostitution as a manifestation of women’s subordination, a tool for the perpetuation of that subordination and a form of violence. They emphasized that there is no meaningful distinction between "forced prostitution" and "prostitution." According to this view, women cannot make a "free choice"to enter prostitution since "all choices open to women are circumscribed" by the patriarchy.

These members opposed decriminalization of prostitution and the recognition of prostitution as a form of work. This approach has been detailed by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women in its Declaration of Rights for Women in Conditions of Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, which was posted by a member of the Working Group. They rejected the claim that women should have a right to sell their sexual services, noting that prostitution amounts to the sale of women’s bodies, not their services. They pointed out that societies restrict the sale of children or organs, as well as the sale of certain types of services. They argued that legalization entrenches prostitution in the economy and results in less "legitimate work for women in the rest of the economy." One member stated that conceptualizing and treating prostitution as a form of work commodifies sex and few women benefit from sex work even if it is decriminalized.

In contrast, other members of the Working Group, including women engaged in sex work, called for the decriminalization of prostitution. These members emphasized that the use of force, threat, coercion or deceit to put women in prostitution must be prosecuted and women in prostitution must be guaranteed freedom from violence and other human rights abuses. However, they argued that women can make a choice to work as prostitutes. One member questioned why prostitution should be singled out from other forms of work into which individuals may be forced due to poverty. Another stated that legalization with safeguards against violence and other abuse offers women who are self-employed as sex workers the possibility of economic self-sufficiency.

Several members who support legalization stated that women who want to leave sex work should be given assistance in doing so, but women must be allowed to make that decision for themselves rather than having others "rescue" them. It was stated that criminalization exposes sex workers to greater risk of violence and limits their access to remedies for violence. It was also suggested that opposition to decriminalization reflected, in part, societal discomfort with sex. One member emphasized that decriminalization was permissible only for adults, not children and that the term "sexually exploited children" should be used, not "child or youth prostitute" or sex worker.

In addition to proposals for and against the decriminalization of prostitution, members of the Working Group identified several general strategies for empowering women who have been trafficked for economic or sexual exploitation and women engaged in sex work, as well as measures to ensure the human rights of trafficked women and sex workers. These included: the adoption of bilateral and multilateral agreements providing for legal labour migration of women into a wider variety of jobs; support for the institutionalization of the rule of law in countries in transition or currently under military regimes; education for government officials involved in investigating and prosecuting trafficking; improved cooperation between NGOs and governments; the expansion of educational and employment opportunities for women; and the establishment of labour information centres with up to date, practical information on positive and negative aspects of migration for work.

One member outlined the 3 most important steps that her organization has called on their national government to take: 1) adoption of legislation against sale in persons, and solicitation of a woman to leave her country and migrate in order to engage in prostitution; 2) a change in national policy, to make trafficking in women a high priority for the police and to treat cases trafficking as a human rights violations rather than violations of immigration law; that is, a shift from raiding brothels and deporting women as illegal aliens, to the arrest, prosecution and imposition of stringent sentences on pimps and procurers; and 3) the empowerment of "help organizations" and funding for non-governmental organizations working against trafficking. Another member, whose organization in Thailand provides referrals to social and medical services, identified steps for providing such services.


15 APRIL - 5 MAY, 1999

This message summarizes the major discussion points made on the "end-violence" Working Group. Inevitably, many valuable points will not be captured here, and new Working Group members are encouraged to obtain past Working Group archives. 


A member of the Working Group drew attention to a publication that presents models for dealing with violence against women in the workplace. Titled Violence on the Job: Identifying Risks and Developing Solutions (1996), it is available through the American Psychological Association (US 1-800-373-2721).

Other members identified deficiencies in the sexual harassment laws in force in their countries. In Thailand, sexual harassment in private sector employment is criminalized under the 1997 Labour Protection Act, but sexual harassment in public sector (civil service) employment is punishable only by disciplinary sanctions under the Civil Service Act. In the Philippines, sexual harassment is defined in the law to cover only harassment by a person who is in a position of authority over the person harassed, and does not apply to harassment by other co-workers.

In contrast, a member from Australia explained that the sexual harassment law applies to harassment by all co-workers, not only superiors, and that survivors can pursue remedies under the civil law (of torts) in addition to the remedies available under the sexual harassment provisions of the non-discrimination legislation. The conduct may also be prosecuted under criminal law if it amounts to a criminal act.


Initiatives related to violence against women in Kosovo, including ethnic cleansing by Serbian forces and bombing by NATO, were highlighted. These included training programs for Albanian and Kosovar women to support their efforts to provide services to women survivors and document abuses, a fund to coordinate emergency financial relief, and an appeal to be presented at the Hague Appeal for Peace, May 11-15, in the Netherlands. The training program will be staffed by women form the region. It will focus on providing health care and other services for women survivors and documenting abuses using teams of lawyers and psychotherapists. The Kosovo Women’s Fund has been established to channel emergency financial support to organizations led by Kosovar women in Macedonia. The "Women’s Appeal on Yugoslavia" demands an end to ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo and the NATO bombing, a resumption of the peace process with UN mediation, reconstruction, and redress for the violation, including prosecutions before the Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia. Members of the Working Group are asked to sign and circulate the appeal, "No to Ethnic Cleansing, No to Bombing," which will be presented at the Hague Appeal For Peace.

Action to respond to violence against women in Indonesia was also highlighted. One member called for more effective action by the UN in response to the rapes of ethnic Chinese women during the riots in Jakarta in May 1998. She pointed out that in countries like Indonesia where the print and electronic media are not truly independent of the government, such abuses do not receive enough national or international scrutiny. She also requested information about the possibility of bringing the 1998 rape cases before the International Criminal Court when it is established. Another member described the creation of an e-mail list serve by women in Indonesia following the end of the Suharto regime. The email list has served as a clearing house for information from women activists. It has contributed to their efforts to promote women’s human rights and democracy by facilitating the rapid exchange of information and fostering co-ordinated action.

NOTE FROM UNIFEM: The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women conducted a fact-finding mission to Indonesia in Nov/Dec. 1998 at the invitation of the Government. She examined allegation about violence against women in Irian Jaya, Aceh and East Timor, as well as the rapes of ethnic Chinese women during the May 1998 riots in Jakarta. The report of her mission, which details her findings and recommendations, is available on the web site of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - document no. E/CN.4/1999/68/Add.3.



A member reported on a training program on violence against women for state police in Senegal, noting that the most significant feature of the training was the integration of information on violence against women into the general training and refresher courses for law enforcement. In addition, the training received the support of police officials at the highest level. It was sponsored by UNIFEM.


A member of the Working Group presented a summary of the report of an international conference sponsored by Oxfam which focused on the factors contributing to the success of various anti-violence strategies and obstacles to those strategies. Regarding law reform strategies: factors contributing to success included sustained work by the women’s movement, the increased political participation of women, and alliances among local, national and international NGOs; and obstacles included changing political circumstances and splits in the women’s movement. Regarding training: factors contributing to success included sustainability, replicability and the full participation of women survivors; and obstacles included social and political backlash. Regarding grassroots service provision: factors contributing to success included funding to ensure continuity of services; and obstacles included threats against service providers and survivors. Regarding public education and campaigning: factors contributing to success included broad media coverage and, in some circumstances, government endorsement; and obstacles included the need to maintains media attention and public visibility over a long period of time to achieve any results. Regarding research and information-gathering: factors contributing to success included linking small-scale surveys to advocacy; and obstacles included the lack of official statistics and the problems related to confidentiality of the information.

Participants in the conference concluded that, in general, service provision at the local level and advocacy at the international level are both strong, but there is a need for more action at the national level. Strategies were analyzed as fitting within a model of sanctions measures to punish perpetrators and "sanctuary" initiatives to support and empower women. Copies of the report are available from Oxfam UK (fax +44-1865-312-600).


End Violence web sites

The Global Knowledge for Development Web site

The Global Knowledge for Development Web site < http://www.globalknowledgepartnership.org/index.cfm  > provides information about the <end-violence> Working Group, as well as archives of <end-violence> messages.

The WomenWatch Web site < http://www.un.org/womenwatch  > provides the <end-violence> archives and information about the videoconference.

Also UNIFEM Web site < http://www.unifem.undp.org  > links to the <end-violence> Working Group and gives a wide range of information on efforts to end violence against women and related activities. In addition, the Development Forum on the World Bank's Web site < http://www.worldbank.org > provides access to the <end-violence> archives as well as related material and presentations.

The videoconference, "A World Free of Violence Against Women," can be seen on the Web at 


This Working Group is administered and moderated by Education Development Center, a nonprofit organization. EDC is working collaboratively with UNIFEM and is directly supported by the World Bank, the Global Knowledge Partnership, and UNIFEM for the activities in this project.


16 Days 2009 is being coordinated by Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership (GVAWP) Campaign's  Working Group.  The group includes representatives from Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community and Safety Services, Glasgow Community Planning Partners (CPP), Women's Voluntary Organisations and Culture and Sport Glasgow.



Mobilizing for a World Free of Violence against Women: Sindi Medar-Gould



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