P.O.Box 1455, 3500 BL UTRECHT, The Netherlands
tel: 31-30-716044 Fax: 31-30-716084

International contact: Lin Lap-Chew

The Foundation Against Trafficking in Women (STV) was initiated in the early 80's in response to the then highly publicised issue of prostitution tourism. Women's organizations, development NGOs and various action groups, especially in de regions where mass tourism was becoming the alternative paradigm for development, were awakening to the fact that not only the natural resources but also the human resources, namely the young women, of their countries were being traded for foreign exchange.

Officially set up in 1987, STV's first campaigns were aimed at developing and refining national legislation and litigation for addressing trafficking in women. This was necessary in order to increase visibility of the problem in the Netherlands, to be able to offer support to the victims of trafficking and to build up legal jurisprudence through prosecution of traffickers.

* In 1988, a ruling was obtained under the Aliens Laws to prevent migrant women who mayhave become victims of trafficking from being evicted before investigations have been done. "Paragraph B17" of the Dutch Aliens Law now states that at the least suspicion of trafficking, a woman will be allowed time to consider pressing charges. When she has done so she will be allowed to stay in the Netherlands until the whole juridical process has been completed. In 1993 this provision was extended to witnesses who were willing to testify for the prosecution in trafficking cases.

* In 1989 the Attorney-General's office issued instructions for dealing with cases of trafficking and formulated a new legal definition. This states that a person is guilty of traffic in persons "who induces another into prostitution by violence or an act of violence or by threatening violence or an act of violence, or by using his or her authority ensuing from an actual relationship, circumstance or by misrepresentation, or who undertakes any action which he or she knows or could reasonably suspect, may bring the other into prostitution". In 1994 the relevant article in the Dutch Penal Code (Art.250ter) was changed to include this basic definition, among other specifications. The maximum sentence for trafficking was raised from 5 to 6 years. In cases involving minors, severe physical violence and organized trafficking the maximum sentence is 10 years.

STV combines elements of anti-violence programmes and pro-rights campaigns while working in the following areas:

Support and Assistance: Organizing social support and practical assistance for the victim-survivors, (safe shelter, legal aid, finances for basic needs, medical services, counselling). This forms an essential element of the programme. Through direct contact, and in the process of assistance work, first hand insight is gained into the motivations and the dilemmas of women who have been deceived or coerced into prostitution, or who find themselves working under unfree and exploitative conditions. To date, STV has assisted more than 750 women from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, South America and Central and Eastern European countries. STV has published a book describing the methodology developed for victim support work and is currently integrating the support work into the programmes of main-stream social work institutions, shelters, etc.

Advocacy and campaigning: in the fields of legislation and litigation, social policies, migrant womens' rights, (migrant) prostitutes' rights, assistance programmes and to strengthen political commitment to combatting trafficking in women. The interest and welfare of the women concerned is the basis of all advocacy work and political campaigning. Work in this area takes place at national, European and international levels.

Information and Training: Documentation and information services, tailored to inform specific relevant groups in the society are aimed at increasing public awareness of the issue. Training and consultancy services are designed to enable interested and qualified persons to participate in the various tasks of the Foundation or to initiate their own activities to address the issue.

Publications: STV publishes a quarterly magazine "Keerzijde" which carries current news and national and international developments in legislation and policies concerning trafficking in women, as well as thematic articles. Occasional publications are produced when appropriate or necessary.

Prevention: through collaboration with diverse organizations in specific countries on concrete issues, projects and cases:
* cooperating in research projects, conferences and seminars
* supporting/participating in prevention initiatives in sending and receiving countries (currently 2 such projects are in progress in Poland and the Czech Republic)
* participating in training seminars in sending and receiving countries

International Networks, in order to influence international policies and actions:
* in 1991 STV initiated a European Network against Trafficking in Women
* in 1993 STV launched an International Campaign to build up an international lobby for review of existing international instruments to prevent and combat trafficking
* in 1994 STV participated in launching the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
* in 1995 STV participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women and extended its network among human rights', migrant workers' and development organizations.

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