History

As we begin the 21st century, the CATW has made enormous progress in the campaign against sexual exploitation and in extending its influence worldwide. CATW has been an effective NGO presence internationally and has changed the terms of the debate over prostitution and trafficking in many regions of the globe and at the United Nations level.

Because we have Coalitions in all the major world regions and have been successful in setting up a worldwide network against trafficking and prostitution, we have the ability to work jointly and separately in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. In 1993 we had one secretariat. Today we have six. We also have national coalitions in over fifteen countries including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Chile, the United States, Canada, Norway, France and Greece.

Whereas five years ago, it looked like there was little resistance to governments seeking to legalize prostitution as a form of work, and who were considering regulating the sex industry and taxing it as a "sex sector," today this situation has changed. The CATW has influenced anti-sex industry and anti-trafficking legislation in the Philippines, Venezuela, Bangladesh, Japan, Sweden and the United States.

The definition of trafficking, in the new UN Transnational Crime Convention's Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children was launched and advocated by the Coalition. CATW organized the International Human Rights Network (IHRN), a coalition of more than 140 NGOs, to successfully advocate for a definition of trafficking that protects all victims, not just those who can prove that they were forced. Many of the measures to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and punish perpetrators were also initiated by CATW.

CATW has produced major books, reports and groundbreaking videos on prostitution and trafficking as major human rights violations of women. Our challenge, in opposition to the enormous power and resources of the sex industry that portrays prostitution as sexual liberation, work or even glamorous, has been to make the harm of prostitution visible.