European Network Against Trafficking in Human Beings

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Access to Justice

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Access to Justice
Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)
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Document type(s)
Alliance News, Issue 26, December 2006, Reflection period, Residency permit, Identification, Social assistance, Victim protection, Shelter, Repatriation, Empowerment, Redress, Advocacy, Civil society, NGO, Human Rights approach, Identification (of Victims) Protection, Victims of trafficking, Trafficked persons, Integration, Social Inclusion,
In recent years, government efforts to catch and punish traffickers are receiving a good deal of funding and media attention. However, it remains unclear how trafficked people, especially women, fit into and benefit from these efforts. Are trials empowering or do they further victimize the trafficked persons? How do organisations support victims of trafficking through the legal process? Access to Justice itself is a term coined by a movement of legal activists in the 1970s, who analyzed legal systems and identified barriers that prevent many groups in society, such as people of low income or literacy, migrants, women, youth and the disabled, from accessing the legal system. The law was found to have systematic weaknesses, such as being overly expensive and time-consuming, but also exclusive in its language, rituals and inherent gender, race and other biases that played out in its rules and procedures. These findings are very relevant to trafficking cases, as trafficked persons are often highly vulnerable and, as a general group, are usually marginalized - whether as illegal and/or low-skilled migrants in destination countries, or through social stigma and poverty in countries of origin. Achieving access to justice for victims of the crime of trafficking therefore requires comprehensive social and legal support, as well as constant analysis of the legal structures in place that make it more difficult for trafficked people to enter into and be empowered by the law. In this issue we have brought together a range of articles and interviews from different perspectives of people who have worked in the legal system - from social workers who have assisted trafficked women, to lawyers and judges, to trial monitors, to trafficked women and the ùvictimsû in the cases themselves. We have also included a brief summary of the GAATW Access to Justice Consultation, which was held in Bangkok in June 2006, along with our usual activity updates and a general overview of resources available for further research on Access to Justice.
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