Taking into Account:
That Trafficking and Smuggling in Women, Girls and Youth in the Latin American and Caribbean Region is a growing problem due, among other factors, to: the patriarchal relations of power; women’s situation of poverty; economic conditions that drive women into prostitution; women’s lack of opportunities; deep disparities and inequalities between women and men; and violence and discrimination that women have suffered historically in our countries often aggravated by age, ethnic origin, disabilities, and religious traditions. In several of our countries, there are no public policies, laws and programs that address the prevention, protection and combating of trafficking and sexual exploitation. In other countries of the region, laws and programs are inadequate or not enforced.
That Trafficking and Smuggling in Women, Girls and Youth in our Region, as in other parts of the world, is aggravated by internal trafficking for prostitution and commercial sexual exploitation, labor exploitation and trafficking in organs and tissues, taking advantage of the vulnerability of victims and potential victims.
That Trafficking and Smuggling in Women, Girls and Youth is a grave form of violence against women, as established by the Beijing Platform and Plan of Action, and a contemporary form of slavery.
That the consequences of exploitation suffered by Victims and their Families are irreparable. Often, the justice system also offends against victims by denying them access to reparation and remedies for the damages caused them, thus re-victimizing the victims. Justice for victims’ demands that effective action be taken against perpetrators of trafficking and sexual exploitation, that governments adhere to international, regional and national commitments and responsibilities and that corruption where it exists be confronted and not minimized or naturalized by judicial impunity for perpetrators, thus perpetuating cultural patriarchal patterns.
That faced with the expansion and increase of prostitution networks in our Region, often supported by the mass media and the providers of internet services, these media should be made publicly accountable for their complicity in helping to generate and perpetuate sexual exploitation.
That any Form of Violence against Women, including Trafficking and Smuggling in Women, Girls and Youth, is an obstacle to democracy, development and peace. It is urgent that we reject the naturalization and trivialization of these crimes and instead initiate and implement prevention, social development and security policies in our countries, thus recovering the right of women, and girls to live lives free of all forms of violence.
Therefore, We Urge our Governments:
First. To comply with the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and with the general recommendations of the CEDAW Committee and the concluding comments and remarks made after each country report. We also encourage countries that have not already done so to immediately ratify CEDAW’s Optional Protocol
Second.To implement public policies, action plans, and effective laws against trafficking and smuggling in women, girls, and youth for prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, labor exploitation, and trafficking in organs and tissues. We propose the immediate elaboration of a Framework Law for the Inter-American System that addresses prevention, victim protection, prosecution of perpetrators, and legal measures to criminalize and sanction the demand for sexual exploitation. We firmly believe that without demand there would not be exploitation.
Third.To reject and condemn corruption and the networks that protect and promote national and international organized crime involved in trafficking and smuggling in women, girls and youth. Furthermore, we reject and condemn the growing empowerment of organized crime in our Region that is becoming normal in our societies. We especially condemn the use of women, girls and youth for drug trafficking, and we urge that they be recognized and treated as victims and not as criminals.
Fourth. To ratify the 1949 United Nations Convention for the Suppression of Trafficking in Persons and the Exploitation of Prostitution of Others, and the 2000 United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its 2 additional Protocols on Trafficking in Persons (known as the Palermo Protocol) and Smuggling in Migrants. We urge governments to undertake an efficient harmonization of their domestic laws against trafficking and sexual exploitation with these treaties.
Fifth.To condemn the use of babies for oral sexual exploitation and the prostitution of girls and boys for all forms of pornography and sex tourism. We strongly condemn the use of consent as an excluding cause of crime.
Sixth. To fully comply with the Millennium Goals of social and economic development and the right to live with dignity. These goals necessitate the combating of poverty and hunger that undermine the internal peace of our nations, as well as rights to water access and security and effective measures against the destruction of earth.
Seventh.To promote justice and peace in Latin America and the Caribbean, because women, girls and youth have the right to lives free of all forms of violence and to enjoy all social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights. These rights must be institutionalized with legislation that makes violators accountable and penalized. Furthermore, we urge the immediate ratification of the Additional Protocol to the UN Pact for Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights.
Eighth. To recognize the valuable experience and input of women’s human rights defenders and experts by including these groups and individuals in the consultative and political process, especially when public policies of prevention, protection and sanctions are taken against trafficking and smuggling in women, girls and youth. All laws, actions and policies should be gender sensitive. We also urge the establishment and implementation of protection measures for those persons working in defense of the human rights of victims and potential victims of trafficking in persons, especially for prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation.
Ninth.To firmly reject proposals for legalizing, regulating and/or decriminalizing sexual exploitation and the sex industry. Such proposals promote the sex industry making these governments agents and facilitators of commercial sexual exploitation and State prostitutors and pimps. We urge the immediate repeal of any law, administrative provision or norm that regulates, decriminalizes and/or legalizes exploitation of prostitution and the sex industry. Instead, we urge countries to address and guarantee economic and social opportunities for the healthy development and integrity of women, girls and youth.
Tenth.To effectively protect, assist and reinsert trafficking victims into society. To mainstream a human rights and gender perspective so that victims are not subjected to criminal procedures, detention or fines. Therefore, whether or not victims collaborate with police and prosecutors, we urge that they be provided with witness protection, legal aid, and residency or repatriation when voluntary.
Eleventh.To investigate the cases of all women, girls and youth disappeared in democracy by international and national criminal prostitutional rings.
Twelfth.To cease police repression of women, girls and youth in prostitution situations. They are victims, not criminals, and, therefore, they should not be prosecuted or penalized for their victimization.
Thirteenth. To help fulfill the human hope to share in a world where civilization, democracy and the universal principles of human rights for women, girls, and youth flourish. We support a self-determined human sexuality that until now has been absent in the lives of women, a sexuality free from patriarchal, economic and cultural oppression, in which women are the owners of their bodies and their lives.
Feminist, Human Rights and Social Movements of Latin America and the Caribbean to collectively support our Declaration condemning trafficking in women, girls and youth for all forms of exploitation and the buying and selling of human beings for paid sex and other forms of modern slavery.
We also call upon all CATWLAC member and supporting organizations to:
1.Initiate an Annual Report on the Trafficking in Persons situation in each of our countries and one with an overall summary in the Latin American and Caribbean Region.
2.To be part of the LAC Award for the Life and Security of Women.
3.To strengthen and expand their national networks and the Latin American and Caribbean CATWLAC network, mainly in the English Speaking Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Chile.
4.To be part of the Board of Directors of CATWLAC.
5.To strengthen the political capacity of CATWLAC in all the Regional organizations: MERCOSUR, PARLATINO, CARICOM, Andean Commission, PARLACEN, OAS, Iberoamerican Summit, etc.
6.To strengthen the fund raising capacity and communication between the national, sub-regional and regional Networks.
7.To fight for the criminalization of demand; and against legalization, regulation and decriminalization of exploitation of prostitution and the sex industry that promotes trafficking in persons for purposes of sexual exploitation.
8.To help strengthen survivors’ organizations and to enlist survivors in CATWLAC programs of action.
9.To become part of the Latin American Observatory on Gender and Justice, especially its section on trafficking in persons.
10.To reject prostitution as work. Prostitution is a contemporary form of slavery, objectifies women and girls especially, and puts women and girls at grave risk.
11.To never give up, and keep dreaming of a world free of trafficking, prostitution and all forms of sexual exploitation and other forms of exploitation.
We Condemn and Reject:
Any attempt to criminalize the actions of Latin American and Caribbean women defenders of peace, justice and development, especially our sister, Violeta Delgado and other feminists of Nicaragua, and our sister, Julieta Montaño, of Bolivia.
Given in Mexico City, Mexico, on the “International Day Against Slavery and Transatlantic Trafficking,” 25 March, 2009.
For Women’s Lives!
No More Impunity! Against all Forms of Violence!
Not a Single Victim More of the Criminal Prostitution Rings!
For an Effective Combating of Poverty and Hunger!
For Human Dignity!
No Legalization of Prostitution and Prostituting Businesses!
For Women at the Center of Dialogue, Negotiation, and Decision Making!
Teresa Ulloa Z._________________CATWLACMéxico
Diana Fallena Z_________________Jóvenes contra