Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International (CATW)
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-International (CATW) is a non-governmental organization that promotes women's human rights by working internationally to combat sexual exploitation in all its forms.
Founded in 1988, CATW was the first international non-governmental organization to focus on human trafficking, especially sex trafficking of women and girls. CATW obtained Category II Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1989.
CATW is creating real and lasting changes in countries around the world by launching and supporting anti-trafficking projects in areas that few programs address: the links between prostitution and trafficking; challenging the demand for prostitution that promotes sex trafficking; and protecting the women and children who are its victims by working to curb legal acceptance and tolerance of the sex industry.
Started 2 petitions
Remove Strip Club Ads from Yellow Taxi Toppers
Yellow taxis are an integral part of New York City, worldwide symbols of the metropolis itself. Stand on any New York street and a sea of yellow cabs drive by, many with taxi topper ads on their roofs promoting events and products from Broadway shows to luxury apparel. However, approximately one in five of these ads promote strip clubs. Every day, 8.5 million New Yorkers plus commuters and tourists, who double Manhattan’s population on a daily basis, absorb publicity for Flash Dancers, New York Dolls and Private Eyes, three major strip clubs owned by the same proprietors. While legal across the U.S., strip clubs have clear links to commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking, as pimps and sex traffickers provide these places with a ready supply of vulnerable women and girls. Investigations into trafficking and prostitution in New York City have recognized these connections, including when four New York strip clubs were named in a federal organized crime case that found trafficking in these sex establishments. This relationship between prostitution, the end goal of sex trafficking, and strip clubs is also clear to sex buyers. One Yelp reviewer commented that Flash Dancers is “basically an Eastern European brothel” and hundreds of interviews with sex buyers show that men know they can always find minor girls in strip clubs. Survivors of the sex trade testify that strip clubs and lap dance parlors act as launching pads to commercial sexual exploitation. Vednita Carter, founder and president of the survivor-led group Breaking Free, states that “stripping is a gateway into prostitution; it’s the place where the training begins.” Echoing those sentiments is Autumn Burris, who heads Survivors for Solutions, an organization she founded to foster survivor-led advocacy, leadership support and engagement. Both Ms. Carter and Ms. Burris were initiated into prostitution through strip clubs. They call on the public to demystify stripping as glamorous, harmless and empowering, and underline its links to trafficking, pornography and organized crime. “[S]trip clubs are closely related to sex trafficking and in many cases, if not most, is a form of sex trafficking,” Ms. Burris says. “For me, being on or off stage, scantily dressed, was a form of violence, humiliation, degradation and even torture.” New York City’s more than 13,000 taxis make over 400,000 trips throughout the city every day and around 600,000 people a day opt to take a cab. The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) licenses and regulates New York City’s medallion taxicabs and other for-hire vehicles. The TLC also decides City policy regarding these vehicles and their drivers. Recognizing that taxi drivers can encounter situations of trafficking on the job, the TLC instituted a sex trafficking awareness and prevention program for all of its licensed drivers in 2012. Ironically, while the TLC calls on its drivers to recognize signs of sex trafficking, it allows strip club ads to promote the sexual exploitation of women and girls on taxi rooftops. The TLC must remove these ads from yellow cabs. The TLC’s influence on New York’s taxi landscape is extensive, including its ability to decide whether advertisements on taxis violate community standards. Given the evidence showing how strip clubs are part and parcel of the multi-billion dollar exploitative global sex trade, the TLC needs to recognize that publicizing them on yellow cabs run contrary to the principles of human rights that New York City holds dear. New York City values its taxis and also prides itself in ensuring equality for all women. This goal cannot be attained when the denigration, dehumanization and degradation of women are promoted on New York City’s yellow taxis every day. Please join the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women as we urge the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission to remove taxi topper ads promoting strip clubs from the City’s yellow cabs. Tell TLC Chair Meera Joshi that the City of New York values the human rights principles of equality and dignity for all, and that it will not tolerate publicity on its taxis for establishments linked to commercial sexual exploitation, violence against women and human trafficking. ____________________________________________________________ Further Reading Yellow Cabs and Strip Clubs: New York Sells Inequality by Taina Bien-Aimé, Huffington Post Inside Sin City: The Bronx Strip Club Where Anything Goes by Byron Smith, Ben Kochman and Graham Rayman, New York Daily News
Take Responsibility for Wartime Crimes of Sexual Slavery and Human Trafficking: Remember the "Comfort Women"
Prior to and during World War II, Japan's Imperial Army established a system of brothels in its zones of combat specifically designed for military use, called "comfort stations." Women and girls as young as 13 years old were enticed, kidnapped or coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military and its designated agents. Historians estimate that as many as 200,000 women and girls throughout Asia and the Pacific, the majority from Korea, were trafficked into government-sponsored military brothels. These women and girls are euphemistically known as "comfort women." While other instances of wartime sexual slavery have occurred throughout history and still do today, post-war Japan continues to have difficulty admitting to Imperial Japan's role in what is deemed the most extensive case of government involvement in human trafficking. In 1993 Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yohei Kono, issued a statement, (the Kono Statement) recognizing that "the Japanese military was, directly or indirectly, involved in the establishment and management of the 'comfort stations' and the transfer of 'comfort women'." However, the Kono statement is perceived only as a partial apology because (1) it was not issued by the Prime Minister in his official capacity, (2) it did not fully recognize the magnitude of the crime, and (3) it offered no government reparations to survivors and families of "comfort women." Today, the Japanese government is in the process of erasing this chapter of its wartime history. Despite corroboration and verification from historians and the international community, including the United Nations, that Imperial Japan engaged in systematic, government-sanctioned human trafficking for the purposes of sexual servitude, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is intensifying efforts to whitewash the history of "comfort women." Abe and his political party are leading a campaign to revise textbooks in Japan and around the world to delete or dilute the sections on "comfort women." Abe's administration is also pressuring Japanese newspapers to retract their articles covering the subject and calling on foreign governments to remove references from official documents, as well as to destroy any memorials dedicated to the "comfort women." Members of Prime Minister Abe's ruling party have reportedly stated that acknowledging atrocities committed during WWII, particularly sexual slavery, would diminish Japan's honor and national pride. The government of Japan must take the opposite position. Honor is bestowed upon governments that recognize their role in perpetuating human rights violations and in fulfilling their responsibilities as members of the international community to work toward truth, democracy and equality for all. Today, there are fewer than fifty "comfort women" survivors, well into their eighties and nineties. They are still fighting for an official and unequivocal apology from the Japanese government. We must join them to ensure that the world will never forget the women and girls trafficked, raped, physically and emotionally abused, and maintained in an institutionalized system of sexual slavery by Imperial Japan. Justice must be served. Please sign this petition urging Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Japanese Government to: Immediately end any efforts to revise, remove, or request the removal of references to the history of the "comfort women" in Japanese and foreign textbooks, newspapers, historical records, and official United Nations and other government documents. Officially affirm that Japan's Imperial Army was engaged in systematic human trafficking for the sexual enslavement of women and girls in WWII military "comfort stations" and call for prosecution of the perpetrators. Affirmatively and unequivocally apologize to the survivors and the bereaved families and accept historical responsibility for this institutionalized sexual slavery. To view this peition in Korean, please click here.