Trafficking of women: exploring effective policies and mechanisms to prevent it through education
To commemorate the 2012 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, UNESCO, together with the Delegation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to UNESCO, is organizing a conference titled "Trafficking of women: exploring effective policies and mechanisms to prevent it through education".
Awareness raising and sensitization among potential victims of human trafficking, their families and communities, appear to be crucial to eliminate a practice that affects worldwide 2.4 million people annually, with 80% of these being women and girls and 75% under the age of 25. Trafficking is a global phenomenon that affects almost all countries: a total of 161 countries serve as origin, transit, and/or destination for the trafficking trade, with victims being trafficked in and out of an estimated 137 countries.
Trafficking is often not perceived as a crime by the trafficked women and their families or communities, at least as long as the opportunity of potential social and economic improvement is hoped for by the victims, who are therefore initially compliant. Moreover, it is often believed that trafficking affects only a small portion of impoverished people, often un- or under-educated. This misconception has seriously hindered the ability of organizations and states to combat this issue, sustaining perpetrator immunity and invariably affecting the lives of millions of girls and women.
In many countries, education, together with awareness raising, becomes a significant factor to fight against trafficking. In this framework, comprehensive and integrated efforts must be put in place that engage in effective dialogue with policy makers in receiving, transit and sending countries through formal education and communication and media. This Conference intends to further explore the links, synergies and opportunities of engaging with these elements simultaneously, based on lessons learnt and research at the European level.
Preventing gender-based violence
Statistics on the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are startling and impossible to ignore. Despite the establishment of international and regional legal and policy frameworks for the prevention of SGBV, the rates of violence are not decreasing, and in some places, are actually increasing.
Women are the primary victims of this violence, but men also suffer from various forms of sexual and gender-based violence. It is clear that what needs to be addressed is the fundamental gender inequality that exists in society in order to create new models of masculinity and femininity and thus more equal relationships.
We need to better understand the root causes of these unequal social structures and negative attitudes and address them by developing and implementing effective prevention strategies. This requires a combination of research targeted towards identifying the underlying causes and policy formulation and implementation that is responsive to the results of such research.
Our programmes aim to challenge the underlying gender inequalities that persist in society and are the key barriers to the elimination of sexual and gender-based violence. We believe that this is best done by building capacity for research, training and advocacy, to enable policy makers, civil society and women themselves to better implement strategies to combat violence. We also are committed to the idea that men and boys should be actively involved, as agents of societal change, in violence prevention plans.
Violence is not just women's problem. Men and women must all be involved in prevention.
Violence is global. It affects everyone regardless of location.
Violence results from structural gender inequalities which all societies need to address.
Violence prevents women from realizing their full socio-economic potential.
Violence takes different forms. It can be physical, psychological, economic or socio-cultural.
Everyone is responsible for taking action to prevent violence.
A UNESCO and SSRC book on the links between gender, violence and HIV
Report of a Conference organised by UNESCO in Kinshasa, DRC, March 2011
A report on existing data on gender-based violence and policies for prevention in the countries of the Great Lakes Region
Report of a conference held in Kinshasa, DRC, December 2010 (in French)
2011 - PREVENTING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: LINKING RESEARCH AND POLICY
UNESCO's work to prevent gender-based violence
- Trafficking Statistics Project
- International Workshop on Violence against Women and Children, Haifa 2012
- UNiTE to End Violence Against Women
- 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence
- The UN Secretary-General's in-depth study on all forms of Violence against Women
- Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women
- Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence