Migration Gone Wrong: Linkages between Trafficking and HIV

31 Dec 2007


This study describes the linkages between trafficking and HIV have to be increasing addressed within the complex framework of unsafe migration. Internal migration is a growing phenomenon in India, in need of policy and legal frameworks that support the rights of internal migrants in order to make their journey safe.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - Trafficking and HIV/AIDS project (TAHA) is working to prevent the trafficking of women and children. The TAHA secretariat is in Delhi. In addition, State Project Management Units (SPMU) have been set up and housed within the State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) in 10 (except Orissa) of the 11 states where TAHA implements its programme. The antitrafficking goal of the programme is located within a HIV and AIDS and safe mobility framework. TAHA is supported by NACO, DWCD and DFID and is implemented in partnership with more than 70 local and national partners.

UNDP-TAHA derives its political commitment to address issues related to trafficking, safe mobility and HIV and AIDS from several UN declarations including the most recent UNGASS declaration in which Section 31 includes a commitment on the part of national Governments “to strengthen legal, policy, administrative and other measures for the promotion and protection of women’s full enjoyment of all human rights and reduction of their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS through the elimination of all forms of discrimination, as well as all types of sexual exploitation of women, girls and boys, including for commercial reasons, and all forms of violence against women and girls, including harmful traditional and customary practices, abuse, rape and other forms of sexual violence, battering and trafficking in women and girls.” In addition, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) coupled with India’s commitment to achieve zero level increase of HIV /AIDS prevalence by 2007 provide the overall context within which TAHA has been designed and is being implemented.

The TAHA programme is conceptualised within a rights based framework where it seeks to protect the right to safe migration while at the same time addressing trafficking which is one of the most profound violations of the rights of an individual. Trafficking of persons for sexual exploitation has been identified as one of the drivers of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. It is recognised that those being trafficked are vulnerable to HIV and lack support systems, autonomy and choice to be able to protect themselves from getting infected. TAHA therefore sees its anti-trafficking goals as contributing toward developing models for a long-term response to HIV. In addition, the emphasis is on a community based approach for partnership building with those who are most vulnerable to HIV and most affected by the epidemic. In addition, TAHA integrally addresses the structural issues - gender-based inequity and economic disempowerment - that result in women being disproportionately infected and affected by HIV and AIDS as well as being trafficked in large numbers.

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