Donna Hughes Homepage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Report of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery

Sub-Commission Resolution 1999/17
UNEDITED VERSION


The Sub­Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights,

Taking note of the report of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery on its twenty­fourth session (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1999/17) and in particular the recommendations contained in chapter VII,

Deeply concerned at the information it contains relating to the traffic in persons, the exploitation of the prostitution of others, the exploitation of domestic and migrant workers, slave and child labour, the sexual exploitation of children, the abusive use of the Internet for the purpose of sexual exploitation, the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the role of corruption in the perpetuation of slavery and related practices,

Noting that the status of ratification of the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery of 1956 and the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others of 1949 is still unsatisfactory.

1. Expresses its appreciation to the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery for its valuable work and in particular for its continued attention to the problems submitted to it;

2. Welcomes the expression of solidarity with the victims of contemporary forms of slavery by the General Assembly which has proclaimed 2 December as International Day for the Abolition of Slavery;

I. TRAFFIC IN PERSONS AND EXPLOITATION OF THE PROSTITUTION OF OTHERS

3. Urges Governments which have not yet done so, to ratify the Convention of 1949 on the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others;

4. Recommends that the General Assembly declare a United Nations year against trafficking in persons, allowing sufficient time before the commencement of the year for the development of national and international plans of action;

5. Urges States to devise and adopt comprehensive national plans of action against trafficking in persons, particularly for the purposes of prostitution, based on data collection, research and analysis, and in collaboration with non­governmental organizations;

6. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to design guidelines for the elaboration of such national plans of action and, upon request, to provide technical assistance to States in the formulation of their national plan;

7. Encourages States to collaborate with non­governmental organizations which have expertise in the field to develop national plans of action in accordance with the 1996 Programme of Action for the Prevention of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/28/Add.1), to ensure the coordination of laws and implementing agencies relevant to the prevention of trafficking and the exploitation of prostitution and the empowerment of their victims and survivors, and to transmit such plans of action to the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery for its consideration;

8. Encourages Governments, in elaborating the draft convention against transnational organized crime, including a draft protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, fully to include a human rights perspective and to take into account work being done in other international forums, particularly the Working Group on an optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography of the Commission on Human Rights and the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery;

9. Congratulates the four non­governmental organizations that organized, immediately prior to the twenty­fourth session of the Working Group, a consultation with the United Nations and intergovernmental organizations on trafficking in persons, prostitution and the global sex industry, and for the fruitful dialogue among the various schools of thought and groups and welcomes the outcome of the consultation and the consensus recommendations which are attached to the report of the Working Group on its twenty­fourth session (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1999/17, annex II);

10. Invites States, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and intergovernmental, regional and non­governmental organizations to provide information to the Working Group at its twenty­fifth session on aspects of trafficking and the exploitation of the prostitution of others, as well as the measures taken or necessary to implement the 1996 Programme of Action;

11. Invites the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women to continue to address, within their mandates, the problem of trafficking and related practices of exploitation and to recommend specific measures to strengthen the regime against the traffic in persons and the exploitation of the prostitution of others, and also invites them to participate at the next session of the Working Group;

II. PREVENTION OF THE TRANS­BORDER TRAFFIC IN CHILDREN IN ALL ITS FORMS

12. Invites States to ratify existing international human rights and labour standards, if they have not already done so, and to ratify in a timely manner the new Convention (No. 182) on the Worst Forms of Child Labour of the International Labour Organization;

13. Calls upon States to set action against trafficking within a human rights framework, so that the victims of child trafficking are fully protected and not treated as illegal immigrants;

14. Encourages cooperation among concerned States, as well as with international agencies, international and national non­governmental organizations, in research and data collection on child trafficking and in the design and implementation of programmes of action to eliminate the practice of child trafficking;

15. Also encourages strengthened cooperation between national and international law enforcement agencies, in particular the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), responsible for detecting and intercepting child traffickers, as well as tracing the families of the trafficked children;

III. THE ROLE OF CORRUPTION IN THE PERPETUATION OF SLAVERY AND SLAVERY­LIKE PRACTICES

16. Urges all States to take adequate steps to monitor and enforce laws, particularly as they relate to slavery, slavery­like practices and corruption, including trafficking in women and children;

17. Also urges States to examine and analyse the causes and the consequences of corruption and to take steps to eradicate the root causes;

18. Encourages existing international arrangements which aim to improve the training and professionalism of law enforcement personnel as well as their respect for human rights;

19. Decides to consider further and in depth the extent and severity of corruption and the relationship of corruption to slavery and slavery­like practices, as well as the role of international debt in the perpetuation of slavery;

IV. MISUSE OF THE INTERNET FOR THE PURPOSE OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

20. Recommends that Governments, as a matter of priority, review, amend and enforce existing laws, or enact new laws, to prevent the misuse of the Internet for trafficking, prostitution and the sexual exploitation of women and children;

21. Also recommends that Governments and non­governmental organizations undertake further investigation of the misuse of the Internet for the purpose of promoting and/or carrying out trafficking, prostitution and the sexual exploitation of women and children;

22. Urges Governments to act more forcefully to eliminate the traffic in persons, the exploitation of the prostitution of others and sexual exploitation on the Internet;

23. Recommends that Governments and non­governmental organizations develop and implement educational programmes on the harm caused by trafficking, prostitution and sexual exploitation on the mental and physical well­being of women and children;

24. Requests that Governments investigate and use as evidence of crimes and acts of discrimination advertising, correspondence and other communications over the Internet to promote sex trafficking, the exploitation of prostitution, sex tourism, bride trafficking and rape;

25. Calls for new levels of cooperation among Governments and national and regional law enforcement bodies in order to combat the escalating trafficking and prostitution of women and children, the globalization of this industry, and the misuse of the Internet to promote and carry out acts of sex trafficking, sex tourism, sexual violence and sexual exploitation;

V. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTIONS ON SLAVERY

26. Expresses its appreciation to Mr. David Weissbrodt and Anti­Slavery International for their working paper containing a consolidation and review of the conventions on slavery and for the executive summary of that paper (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.2/1999/6);

27. Recommends that all States which are not parties to the Slavery Convention of 1926, the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery of 1956; and the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others of 1949; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights be called upon to become parties as soon as possible and to enact any legislation necessary to ensure that their laws conform to the terms of those treaties;

28. Requests the Working Group to focus each of its annual sessions on a particular issue of great importance for the abolition of slavery and to designate that issue two years prior to the annual session;

29. Expresses the hope that the Working Group will benefit from the cooperation of all States, particularly the most interested States, with regard to the particular issue selected;

30. Decides to invite concerned non­governmental and intergovernmental organizations to provide information and testimonies with regard to the particular issue selected for consideration at the annual session of the Working Group;

31. Also decides that if other issues arise within its agenda which the Working Group might consider to be urgent, these issues will be allotted time and receive consideration during each session;

32. Invites the authors of the review of international standards to update the review and submit it to the Sub­Commission for its consideration and eventual transmission to the Commission;

VI. MIGRANT WORKERS

33. Urges States to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families;

34. Also urges States to take necessary measures to prohibit and sanction the confiscation of passports belonging to migrant workers, in particular, migrant domestic workers;

35. Recommends that non­governmental organizations pay attention to the grave problems affecting migrant workers and provide the Working Group with information in this regard;

36. Decides to continue consideration of this issue at its next session;

VII. CHILD DOMESTIC WORKERS

37. Recommends that the International Labour Organization give more emphasis to the issue of child domestic workers, in particular girl children;

38. Also recommends that the International Labour Organization establish additional country programmes for these children within its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour;

VIII. CHILD LABOUR ­ A GENDER PERSPECTIVE

39. Welcomes the new International Labour Convention (No. 182) on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999;

40. Notes the special mention to the situation of girls in article 7, paragraph 2 (e), of the new Convention;

41. Calls upon States to eliminate all discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training and to enforce laws and regulations which ensure that no girl of primary­school age is employed as a domestic;

IX. ERADICATION OF BONDED LABOUR AND ELIMINATION OF CHILD LABOUR

42. Urges States that have not yet done so to ratify the relevant International Labour Organization conventions, in particular the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and the new Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182);

43. Requests the Secretary­General to invite all States to inform the Working Group of measures adopted to implement the Programme of Action for the Elimination of the Exploitation of Child Labour to report thereon to the Sub­Commission and the Commission on Human Rights at their next sessions;

44. Urges States to enact specific legislation to define the offence of debt bondage and to provide for the punishment of those responsible, and to ensure the rehabilitation of the victims of debt bondage through economic, social and educational programmes;

45. Recommends that the countries in which debt bondage occurs be invited to attend the Working Group in order to facilitate dialogue and the consideration of best practice;

46. Invites the International Labour Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and other international bodies to consider debt bondage when they establish their policies;

47. Recommends once again that Governments cooperate with trade unions and employers' organizations at the national level to address the problem of bonded labour and that trade unions and employers' organizations at the local, national and international levels utilize the existing structures of the International Labour Organization dealing with violations of the relevant conventions concerning forced labour, and encourages concerned non­governmental organizations to strengthen their activities for disseminating information and advising trade unions in this regard;

48. Invites international financial institutions to encourage micro­credit as a mechanism for the eradication of debt bondage;

49. Welcomes the decision of the Working Group that bonded labour and debt bondage will be its primary focus at its twenty­fifth session in 2000;

X. SALE OF CHILDREN, CHILD PROSTITUTION AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

50. Requests the Secretary­General to invite all States to continue to inform the Working Group of measures adopted to implement the Programme of Action for the Prevention of the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography;

51. Requests the Special Rapporteur, within the framework of her mandate, to continue to pay attention to issues relating to the traffic in children, such as organ transplantation, disappearances, the purchase and sale of children, adoption for commercial purposes or exploitation, child prostitution and child pornography;

52. Strongly encourages the Special Rapporteur to participate in the twenty­fifth session of the Working Group, in view of the importance of her contribution to its deliberations;

XI. MISCELLANEOUS

53. Urges States to take adequate steps better to regulate and monitor intercountry adoptions, in particular by ratifying the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption of 1993 and by enacting appropriate laws to enforce its provisions;

54. Requests the Secretary­General to seek the views and suggestions of Member States and of intergovernmental and non­governmental organizations on proposals for future action of the Working Group with a view to their replies being considered at forthcoming sessions of the Working Group;

55. Appeals to all Governments to send observers to the meetings of the Working Group;

56. Encourages youth organizations and young persons from various non­governmental organizations to participate in the meetings of the Working Group;

57. Recommends that the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child, when examining the periodic reports of States parties, give particular attention to the implementation of, respectively, articles 8 and 24 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, articles 10, 12 and 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, article 6 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and articles 32, 34 and 36 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to include in their guidelines an item concerning contemporary forms of slavery;

58. Recommends that the supervisory bodies of the International Labour Organization and the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization give particular attention in their work to the implementation of provisions and standards designed to ensure protection of children and other persons exposed to contemporary forms of slavery, such as the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, the exploitation of child labour, bonded labour and the traffic in persons;

59. Requests the Secretary­General to transmit to the committees mentioned above, the special rapporteurs concerned and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances the recommendations of relevance to them and the report of the Working Group;

60. Again welcomes the adoption by the Commission on Human Rights of resolutions 1996/61 of 23 April 1996 and 1999/46 of 27 April 1999, in which the Commission requested the Secretary­General to give effect to his decision to reassign to the Working Group a Professional staff member of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as was the case in the past, to work on a permanent basis to ensure continuity and close coordination within and outside the Office on issues relating to contemporary forms of slavery;

61. Again requests the Secretary­General to designate the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as the focal point for the coordination of activities and the dissemination of information within the United Nations system on the suppression of contemporary forms of slavery;

62. Recalls that the Economic and Social Council, in its resolution 1993/48 of 28 July 1993, approved the endorsement by the Commission on Human Rights of the recommendation made by the Sub­Commission, in its resolution 1992/2 of 14 August 1992, that the arrangements regarding the organization of the sessions of the Working Group, as contained in Commission decision 1992/115 of 3 March 1992, be repeated in subsequent years;

63. Decides to make provision in its agenda for adequate discussion near the commencement of each session of the reports of the Working Group, thereby strengthening its involvement in the activities of the Working Group.

 

33rd meeting
26 August 1999
[Adopted without a vote. See chap. VIII.]