WILPF Advocacy Documents


Human Trafficking and Sexual Slavery of Women and Children

Human Rights | Justice and Accountability | Migration and Displacement | Militarisation | Sexual and Gender-Based Violence | Slavery and Forced Labour | Women and Girls’ Human Rights
2 August 2004
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The 28th Triennial Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, meeting 2–8 August 2004 in Gothenburg, Sweden

Trafficking in women is inseparably linked with the various conflicts around the world. Women and children are victims of atrocities and injustice, both during and after war. Armed forces ñ including peacekeeping troops- perpetuate and generate prostitution and trafficking in women and children. They buy sex, frequent brothels and there are also examples of those who are involved as ‘backers’, or ‘moneymen’ in the trafficking in women. When killing becomes legitimate, it also becomes legitimate to rape or buy and sell human bodies. In other words, military personnel have control both economically and psychologically. When the conflict is finished and the soldiers have returned home, the prostitutes are often trafficked to other countries.

2. Trafficking in women and children is violence and a violation of their human rights. There is a direct connection between trafficking in women for sexual misuse, the social acceptance of buying sexual ‘services’, and the aggressive marketing of the female body through pornography.

3. Trafficking in women for misuse in prostitution has grown by a horrifying degree during the last few years. The international mafia system behind the trafficking in women earns enormous sums of money through this criminal activity. This enormous network, which profits through trafficking in human beings, survives only because there is a willing, paying market in the receiving countries.

4. Violence against women in war areas has, according to UNDP, reached epidemic heights. The common denominator for the 90ís conflicts from East Timor to Sierra Leone, Bosnia, and Rwanda has been the comprehensive sexual misuse, forced pregnancy as a tool in ethnic genocide, kidnapping, intentional infection with HIV/AIDS and trafficking in women and children.

5. Some figures for consideration:

-Between 1995 and 2000 the global trafficking in women increased by 50%.

-Every year about two million women are transported over borders to a life in prostitution and they bring in between five and seven billion dollars to middlemen.

(Source: UNDP, UNIFEM)

6. Much must be done if this totally patriarchal pattern is to change.

We call upon sections to:

a) Intensify the cultural struggle concerned with changing the attitude that one can buy admission to the bodies of other human beings.

b) Fund research concerning the extent of buying sex by soldiers and others stationed outside their home country (including NGO representatives in foreign countries) and their role in trafficking in women.

c) Encourage legislative work against prostitution and trafficking in human beings- including the criminalization of customers of prostitutes.

d) Press for offers of treatment for women and children who have been victims of sexual misuse.

e) Ask for support to organizations who help the prostitutes to get out of prostitution.

f) Advocate for residence permission and help for women who have been trafficked.

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Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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