It is my first day as an intern at the United Nations Regional Information Centre in Brussels. My supervisor, Fred, is giving me a tour of the office, introducing me to the multinational team and telling me about everything I would be expected to work on, including this magazine.  “By the way, do you have any lunch plans?” he asks. “Monique Coleman, the United Nations Youth Champion is coming over for lunch.” I knew from that day that my internship would be a very interesting one. Many of you who read this magazine, have met Monique during her travels these past months, and I am sure you all would agree that she is a very inspiring woman. It is reassuring that young people have such a charismatic advocate. Because even though there are
some reassuring developments, such as the recognition youth have achieved in both the climate change discussions (article on p.30) and recent improvements of the rights of children in conflict (article on p.38), the fact remains that young people are often victims to problems created by earlier generations. The global youth deserves much more than that. We are the future, and we have the power to solve any problem, if we are given the right tools to do so. Acquiring tools for the future is something we do as interns at the United Nations, and I hope this magazine will inspire many young people to apply for internships within the UN system, or to do another internship (or three more like Clara on p.26), or to volunteer through the United Nations Volunteers (article on p.24) to learn more and contribute more to the UN.

It has been a pleasure to edit Internal Voices and I encourage all UN interns who find the time to get involved in the next edition.  Enjoy the rest of the summer, and the 14th edition of Internal Voices!

Martin Karlsson
Editor, Internal Voices

Read or download the 13th edition here 

As you may have noticed, this edition of Internal Voices not only has a new topic, but also a completely remodeled template, as well as a brand new website. All change for a fresh start. Every edition of Internal Voices has focused on a specific subject; one general topic, no matter where the author was based or which part of the UN they worked for In this way, our readers were well informed on the twelve topics we have covered in the twelve editions we have published. After editing and publishing the previous edition, I asked myself which topics the magazine had yet to discuss. It occurred to me that instead of having a common subject, we could give more liberty to the authors and allow them to decide what they would like to write about, as long as the issue remains within the UN mandate. The 13th edition of Internal Voices therefore focuses on the following topic: the UN in the field, allowing for a wider range of subjects and for the reader to learn what UN agencies are doing in the field. From UNICs in Australia and Brazil to peacekeeping operations in Western Sahara, from the work of the World Bank in Angola to the actions taken by UNICEF to help protect children around the world, the 13th edition offers a wide range of subjects with one aim only: to increase public knowledge of the United Nations and its work across continents. As an intern here at the United Nations Regional Information Center, I have had the amazing opportunity, among other tasks, tobe the editor of this magazine, written by interns worldwide, put together by interns here at UNRIC and distributed to interns and other staff members of the UN worldwide. As I will be leaving UNRIC soon, this will be my final edition and I wish to truly thank all the people who contributed to Internal Voices. Thank you to my wonderful editorial team for their work, help and support; thank you to Veronica, our IT intern, without whom this new template would not have been possible; thank you to all the authors without whom there would be no magazine; and thank you to all you readers, who make this adventure possible. I invite you all to comment on any of the articles of this edition or any previous ones on our website or on our Facebook page.

Robin de Wouters,

Read or download the 13th edition here

Robin de Wouters - Editor, UNRIC Brussels

Women represent more or less half the world population… And yet, they have constantly been oppressed, discriminated, segregated, considered of less importance, even worse, tortured, lynched, killed, and forgotten. But the situation is gradually changing.
So the choice of topic was obvious. Women and men have, or should have without a doubt, exactly the same rights. It’s about time every single human being acknowledged it.
On the 8th of March, the United Nations celebrated the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day. On this occasion, UNRIC, the UN office behind this magazine and for which I work, in partnership with the recently created UN organization UN Women, launched an ad competition encouraging citizens across Europe to participate by sending an ad that says No to Violence Against Women ( This competition will run until May 31st.
After all, “To promote gender equality and empower women” is the third out of eight Millennium Development Goals.
For these reasons, the twelfth edition of Internal Voices is entirely devoted to women in general, their empowerment, their rights, and unfortunately, the violation of their rights throughout developed and developing countries.
The main topic was clearly defined, yet we embrace a wide range of subjects. The magazine spans from the situation of women in Angola to the use of social media in empowering them.
I strongly believe Internal Voices to be a magazine worth working for and thus worth reading. Before I had even set foot at UNRIC in January, I was told one of my tasks would be to edit a magazine written by and for interns of the United Nations around the world. The fact that there are already twelve editions proves that it is a success and widely read, therefore adding the thrill (and stress) of working for something that is already well in motion.
Still, everything clicked; all the steps taken, from identifying authors to the final layout, felt normal and logical. Obviously, I could not have done it all by myself, which is why I am very grateful for the work and help that was provided by the members of the editorial team, my fellow interns and, of course, the authors themselves, without whom there wouldn’t be a magazine.
I invite you to comment on any of the articles of this edition or any previous ones on our blog at
I sincerely hope you will have as much pleasure reading this magazine as I have had while editing it.

UN PhotoAlbert Gonzalez Farran

Kathryn Breitenborn, UNIC Washington DC
On January 9th 2011 the people in South Sudan voted for a separation of the country. The referendum provoked a big debate: what will be the way forward for South Sudan? This was the theme in a recent debate where three panelists who had been in various parts of Sudan during the referendum were invited to talk about their experiences. During the discussion, the panelists noted that although voting rates were high both for women and men, no women were seen working at the polling centers where they were located. When engaged further on this issue, the consensus was that women throughout Sudan, especially in the South, were not receiving education and therefore do not hold federal positions.
NO EDUCATION. It is more likely for a woman in South Sudan to die during child birth than to finish primary school, according to UNGEI. This is partly due to the fact that educational facilities are missing, but still young girls are less likely to finish school than boys. According to a UNICEF article in 2005, approximately 500 females, in a population of 7 million, finished primary school. One reason is that poor families are likely to arrange the marriage of their daughters in exchange for a dowry which is collected on the day of the wedding. Once women are married it is unlikely that their husbands will allow them to attend school. It is often believed that women should stay at home and tend to the family with no other obligations. Instead of receiving education, it is likely that the married girls will become pregnant. One fifth of all adolescent girls had a child in 2005, according to UNICEF. It is also, by some, looked upon as inappropriate when girls receive education from male teachers.
NOT ONLY VIOLENCE. The UN is playing a great role regarding gender based violence, which will be increased with the development of UN Women. Hopefully the focus will expand from gender based violence, to gender based equality. The presence of the UN in South Sudan is of vital importance and will continue to be essential in improving the quality of life and security of the people. By looking closely at the statistics, it is obvious that Sudan’s women are in a different position than their male counterparts. The UNFPA country office in South Sudan reports that literacy rates in South Sudan are at a mere 24%. If women are examined alone the literacy rate is just 12%. If the women of Sudan are to have a stronger position in their country, these differences must be dealt with.
PROPERTY RIGHTS. For many women in African countries small-scale farming is the only means of survival. Still, women are not guaranteed land in the event of death or divorce. This represents a great risk in countries similar to Sudan where mortality rates are high. As mentioned in the State of the World report for 2011 by the Worldwatch Institute, helping women and families to produce more agricultural goods so that they are capable of selling some of their products is a good way to improve their living standards. This will make families able to invest in their own production. However, this should not and cannot be the only focus when considering farming in developing countries. A press for enhanced property rights for women is also needed. In addition, it is necessary to open new doors for women in other professions. Women in Senegal have been successfully accepted and integrated into the military, and there is hope that more women will be integrated in the future. How women can attain such a status in Sudan and other African countries remains a question to be answered. Certain cultural beliefs make changes more difficult, for example, comparing women to people who can not be the protector but who need to be protected.  
START NOW. The illiteracy rate is so high for women that we need to start with the education of young girls. UNICEF works to promote the enrollment of girls in schools. They have also promoted the Girls Education Movement (GEM) in Sudan, which promotes education through mentors and peers, and reinforces the empowerment of women in Southern Sudan. This is an important step in helping creating a more stable, economically viable and gender equal society.  
However, an understanding of the importance of education also requires educating males. Men need to understand the importance of educating women. They must be able to see what potential lies in creating a more diverse work force. Putting women in government positions and positions that require education will take time, but the time to start acting in now.

Did you know?
While, according to the Human Development Index, the two countries rank closely on overall human development (at 154 and 144 respectively):
  • Disparities in gender and education ranking: Senegal at 137 while Sudan  at 162
  • Disparities in gender and labor ranking: Senegal at 108 and Sudan at 158
  • In Sudan only 21% of women hold seats in government, while Senegal has increasingly made great progress through its program to better integrate women in the summer of 2010

                                     UN Photo/Martine Perret

Mauro Santos, UNRIC Brussels

The United Nations define violence against women as any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm, or the suffering of women, including threats, acts of coercion or arbitrary                             depravation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. These violent acts can take many forms and can be performed by anyone (teachers, intimate partners, employers, family members, among others).
There are many important factors that contribute to the increase and continuity of this kind of violence such as the drawback that many women face in various societies when trying to access the educational system, the forced economic dependency, and the several religious and social repressions. It is indeed a major problem in many societies and a clear violation of human rights. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5.000 women are murdered worldwide every year by their own family members in the name of honor.
In Angola, according to the US Department of State there are 350 domestic NGOs operating in the country, 100 of which are related to human rights issues and more than 100 international NGOs also operate there. The government has never refused visas or restricted the access for international NGO observers.
Under the Angolan law and constitution women enjoy the same rights and obligations as men, but still the economic scene the country is involved in leads towards the discrimination of women. The law also provides equal salaries for equal work, although in general they hold the low-level positions of the labor market and many of them are forced to rely on the informal market.
Domestic violence against women is common in Angola and in many cases remains unpunished, and part of that is the result of the limited resources that are allocated for these matters, the lack of forensic capabilities, the judicial system and also, in part, the passiveness of society itself. In this sense, there are direct effects that this kind of crime inflicts upon the victim, such as physical and mental health, risky behavior, in addiction to the social and economic costs entailed. These crimes are reflected in all of society and represent a real problem in many social, cultural and economic aspects.
In 2007, a study about domestic violence indicated that 78 % of women were victims of some form of violence. In the following 12 months 27 % of women reported abuses in Luanda, while during the same period 62 % of them reported abuse in the outskirts of town (poorest area). In that period police recorded a total of 831 crimes. Most of these crimes are being perpetrated by the husbands or boyfriends who try to take advantage of women. Until recently, domestic violence was not illegal in Angola so on the rare occasions that it had reached court, the case was usually prosecuted under rape, assault or battery laws.
A little story told by a young housekeeper on the Diário de África blog: “This morning, she had pictures taken of her back, arms and legs; they are covered with black and purple bruises resulting from the drubbing received from her ex-husband. Armed with a stick, Amâncio eased his frustrations on Nely”( This story goes on because during the fight he cut himself and went to the police to present charges against Nely. She also presented charges towards Amâncio but in the end he was released, and Nely will have to live with all the physical and emotional traumas such violence generates. In many cases the result is death for one of the parties involved in the case, in other cases women kill their partner in order to survive or to escape these violent acts.
But not all is bad news. Although a study indicates that there were more known cases of domestic violence in 2008 than in 2007, this can for some be seen as a positive result. It means that people are starting to be aware of their rights and it is a step closer towards the end of domestic violence; women are now fighting against this violence.
There are cases in which the end is almost a “happy ending”, where the abuser is punished by the legal system for its crimes, and ends in jail serving the sentence.
According to UNDP, the rapid growth in the economy has also led to the investment in social services that have increased substantially the living conditions of many Angolans. Angola is one of the countries that is showing both will and capability to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Angola is achieving one of the targets of the MDG’s, namely the increasing participation of women in the Parliament and Government. Moreover, the gender parity in schools has almost been reached.
Also notably remarkable was the approval of the Domestic Violence Act by the Parliament in December 2010, securing the protection of women against such acts, making any form of domestic violence illegal. At a national level this was a great effort taken by the government through the inter-ministerial work spearheaded by MINFAMU, consisting of many informative campaigns and workshops.
We can conclude that there is will and that many steps have been taken, in order to change the way people and government face the violence against women in Angola. It’s a country that is still willing to evolve not only as an economic power but also as a social developed country. Many aspects of this society are changing for the achievement of a better one.

                                                                UN Photo/Martine Perret

Marion Ouldboukhitine, UNRIC Brussels

For many years, more and more women driven by poverty have been flocking to Hassi Messaoud from all Algeria to find a job in multinationals as cooks, cleaning ladies or secretaries, hoping to be able to support their family.
Hassi Massaoud, an oil-producing city in south Algeria and one of the wealthiest cities of the country, was the stage of criminal attacks in 2010.
During the night of 11th April 2010, many of these migrant workers suffered brutal attacks by men armed with knives, iron bars and sabers, who invaded a neighborhood in which many of these women lived.
Despite the cries for help, nobody came to save them, and they even said the police was unwilling to protect them against such violence. Many conservatives have even accused women of Hassi Messaoud of working as prostitutes. And even if they were, this is not an excuse to attack them. Raping, killing and burning innocent women are crimes prohibited by the Koran and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In that matter, the first judgement given by the Court in 2004 was so astounding that the prosecutor himself appealed against it.
Unfortunately, this tragedy takes us back to another similar event which took place on 13th July 2001 when a thousand women were raped, lynched, tortured, burnt and even buried alive to respond to the call of a local fundamentalist Imam, who had spurred the faithful men to “chase the female fornicators out of the area” and begin the “Jihad against the Evil”. It would seem that for these fundamentalists, leaving one’s hometown, migrating, being single or working in multinationals to support one’s family was unacceptable to the extent of justifying extreme violence from torturers without scruples. Since 2010, similar facts have been reported, explaining why 15 Algerian human rights associations raised the alarm. They were indignant about the barbarism working women have suffered.
It is important to mention that Algerian women’s way of life is in accordance with the Algerian Family Code, a set of laws adopted in 1984 which establishes strict rules that force women to be under the tutelage of their father or husband. They must always obey their husband who has the permission to repudiate his wife whenever he wants to. Moreover, some articles of the Algerian Family Code do not comply with the article 29 of the Algerian Constitution.
Nadia Kaci, a famous Algerian actress, in collaboration with the daily El Watan, wrote a book denouncing the inertia of the Algerian authorities as well as the rising violence against women in the whole country. She has been trying to inform citizens about the story of these fearful, traumatized but hateful women.
Through her book “Laissées pour mortes” (“Left for dead”). Nadia Kaci has been struggling alongside the local NGO’s to inform people about those crimes and help these women to restore their honor. She tells us the story of Rahmouna and Fatima, the only two victims who still fight for being considered as victims of Islamic terrorism. The objective is clear: everybody should talk about this disturbing situation to show men that they do not have the right to decide about the life or death of any women regardless of the reason.
'Shocked by the violence the working women have suffered and by the inertia of the forces of law and order, who did not protect the victims, we have decided to express to them our total solidarity,'
Cherifa Bouatta
 Member of the Association for the Defense and Rights of Women (ADPDF). 

Many NGO’s are fighting for Algerian women to safeguard and guarantee their rights. Every day, they need to struggle against this ever-present hatred towards women in the Algerian society. The Government refuses to face up to its responsibilities with respect to the security of their citizens leaving to the local NGO’s the responsibility to defend these women.
The development of the situation and the women’s demands will determine for us what future actions to take; our current role is to continue to solicit the institutions so that they will assure their mission, which is to guarantee the security of persons and property as per the Constitution. The struggle is long: the events of 2001 proved it — one must not give up publicly decrying against the crimes and demanding justice; whereas material or financial aid is only secondary to the recognition of their status as victims…
Dalila Iamarene Djerbal,
 Réseau Wassila
(Group of associations and professionals that have been fighting violence against women and children for ten years in Algeria)

Algerian voices say
No to Violence Against Women


                                                           UN Photo/UNHCR/A. Duclos

 Mary-Sanyu Osire, International Organization for Migration

With Madam,” Amiina calls out to the Caucasian lady who has just walked through the gate. Amiina’s right hand disappears into her guntiino (the traditional dress that Somali women wear) and it hastily resurfaces with a piece of paper in firm grip. With great stealth, she scoots the bewildered visitor into a corner and starts to bombard her with requests.
We need a visa; we fear for our lives; these are my children,” she turns round, but there is no one by her side. She swings her head to the right-hand side of the compound and throws a glaring look at the five children who are hurdled in a far corner. One glance is all it takes. They scuttle to her side.
She animates her voice, raising it and lowering it, each time to emphasize different parts of her story. Amiina’s voice fades off as I walk further away.
IN TRANSIT. I am in a transit centre in Nairobi, Kenya. A place built to accommodate refugees as they await possible transfer to countries that are willing to accept them. With an approximate number of 440,000 refugees, Kenya hosts the fifth largest number of refugees in the world.
According to the latest World Migration report, there were an estimated 214 million international migrants in the world in 2010, a figure that represents an increase of almost 40 million in comparison with the first decade of the 21st century, and more than twice as many international migrants as in 1980.
Amiina, and other female migrants like herself, introduce the aspect of gender considerations into discussions about migration. It may be different reasons why women and men move, the process of migration itself can be different, and men and women will encounter different social, political and economic environments in their countries of destination.
NEGLECTED IN STUDIES. In Africa, female migrants like Amiina are said to comprise 46 per cent of all migration, and according to the International Organization for Migration, this figure is set to increase. Yet women are generally neglected in migration studies; they are mostly seen as the people who are left behind, and are in some cases viewed as mere additions to male migration.
Although research in the field of migration and its gender dimension is advancing, very little is known about what determines female migration. The new migration pressures for women and girls and the specific migration routes that they prefer to use. To this day patterns of female migration remain scantily researched and inadequately understood.
With specific regards to female labor migrants, Gloria Moreno Fontes, a migration specialist with ILO Migration Branch, notes:
 “Besides being subject to sometimes very harsh working and living conditions, migrant female workers are in some instances prohibited from marrying local citizens. They also risk losing their jobs if they are pregnant, and are subject to pregnancy tests every six months. It is not only their status as women and non-nationals that put migrating women in a vulnerable situation, but also the type of work they engage in. They find themselves incorporated into an already disadvantageous labor market towards women, and these disadvantages intensify in the case of migrant women, especially for those who do not have legal travel documents.”
ACTION TAKEN. Around the world, the question of gender is taking a position of prominence in many fora, and Africa is not being left behind. In February 2009, the African Union (AU) adopted the AU Gender Policy. Prior to this, the AU had adopted several other important gender-related documents, including Article 4(1) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa.  These policies are aimed at accelerating MDG 3 which highlights Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
Humanitarian actors in Africa are also active participants in the gender debate.. The United Nations system in Kenya recently embarked on a joint gender mainstreaming program. Signed into force towards the end of 2010 by 14 of the 17 UN entities resident in Kenya, ‘The UN Joint Program on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment’ is aimed at mapping and promoting enhanced coordination of the UN systems’ support to national priorities in the area of gender equality and women’s empowerment in Kenya.

SHAPING THE FUTURE. Female migrants like Amiina can no longer be ignored or clustered into one homogenous group with men because their needs are very distinct from the needs of men. Policy makers and various stakeholders ought to be mindful of these dynamics as they shape migrant laws, and as they work towards capitalizing on the benefits that come from the migration of women.

UN Photo/John Isaac

Jenna Gustafson, UNIC Washington DC

As an intern at the United Nations Information Centre in Washington DC, I am sent to cover a variety of events around the city on a regular basis. During these discussions held at think tanks, law schools, UN offices, and non-profit organizations, I hear a common sentiment echoed among panelists: technology is on the vanguard of women’s empowerment in developing countries. Speakers addressing a variety of topics, from long-term recovery efforts in Haiti to Internet and freedom of expression, have contributed to the premise that in developing countries especially, technology is a mechanism for women’s well-being and socio-economic advancement. One of the most important areas for improvement is access to maternal health care. Improving mothers’ access to much-needed, skilled reproductive health care is within the reach of technology.
Access to maternal and reproductive health care is part of Millennium Development Goal 5.  MDG 5 is comprised of a two-fold objective for women’s health: 1) to reduce maternal mortality by one-third, and 2) to attain universal access to reproductive health care by the year 2015.
According to The 2009 Millennium Development Goals Report, statistics show that per 100,000 live births in developed countries, there are nine maternal deaths. In contrast, statistics from developing countries show 450 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Additionally, 85 percent of all maternal mortality occurs in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. 
Facts and statistics provided by the non-governmental organisation Women Deliver, a major collaborative partner of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), indicate that “Pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death and disability for young women” in the developing world. The 2010 Millennium Development Goals Report highlights a staggering statistic: over one third of maternal mortality is caused by postpartum hemorrhaging, a condition that can be treated or prevented. Preventing maternal mortality and morbidity is essential for the social and economic well-being of families, communities, and countries. According to Women Deliver, the work that women are not compensated for, labor in both the home and in the fields, equals approximately 1/3 of global GDP. This evidence demonstrates the magnitude of the socioeconomic contribution that women make to the world.
Mobile technology is fast becoming a way to supply mothers in developing countries with much-needed medical treatments. Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver, explained that one way technology serves to remedy postpartum hemorrhaging is through administering oxytocin via a device called the “BD Uniject ®”. This device can help to facilitate treatment. The Uniject®" is an intramuscular, pre-filled injection device that features a retracting needle to reduce risk of exposure for health-care workers and others while ensuring correct dosage requirements. Another treatment option for postpartum hemorrhaging is misoprostol, which is administered in pill form to produce blood coagulation within thirty minutes. Both medications can be found on the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines. Proper use of these treatments could contribute to reducing maternal mortality rates in developing countries.
The United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation have joined together in a public-private technology partnership, mhealth for Development: The Opportunity of Mobile Technology for Healthcare in the Developing World. The joint partnership has produced projects in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Mobile technology has the capacity to transmit knowledge and awareness of health risks and prevention. Mobile technology can also facilitate real time data collection in addition to remote patient monitoring, diagnostic, and treatment support. Part of the technological impact on health and well-being in developing countries will likely also stem from open source software (computer software without expensive licenses, usually developed publicly) a cost-effective, efficient way to localize community development for sustainable innovation, independent of external consultants.
In Haiti, other types of technology are reportedly being used as a way for women to protect themselves. The UN Foundation is collaborating with UNFPA on initiatives for women’s health and safety in Haiti using technology. Solar lighting has been placed in tent camps as a method for increasing women’s safety. Women requested that LED lighting systems be set up near locations such as healthcare clinics and latrines, areas where women are particularly vulnerable to protection concerns such as gender-based violence.
Mobile technology is on the forefront of change. With greater availability of technological solutions, there appears to be more possibilities for improved maternal health care in developing countries. Already, innovative reproductive care and remedies directed at vulnerable women are beginning to surface in the quest to save the lives of women around the world. Perhaps innovative use of technology will generate a wider range of more accurate and reliable data collected in global research. Better data is necessary to expand the reach and response of health care for women in even the most remote regions. The role of technology continues to unfold in the pursuit to empower women across the world.


Miriam Aced, UNRWA

Trafficking in human beings (THB), an age-old crime, has received increased media attention in the last decade. THB violates a host of core human rights and it is also one of the most severe forms of violence against women - especially sex trafficking.  Trafficking to work in the agriculture and horticulture sectors, construction, textile, hospitality, catering and mining sectors as well as domestic service sectors also occurs and is no less serious than trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.  However, sex trafficking is of particular importance because women and girls are disproportionately affected by it. This article will focus on the paradox between how the international community says this crime should be dealt with in theory and how it is dealt with in practice. 
Because the nature of human trafficking often involves the crossing of state borders and heinous physical and mental violations, protection of trafficking victims invokes international law instead of domestic law. Oddly enough, an internationally recognized common definition of THB did not exist until the coming into force of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  This Convention is important because it brought about a uniform idea of what trafficking is in order to combat it, to share information regarding this crime and in order to recognize and protect victims. Another important outcome of the Convention is the clear distinction between human trafficking and human smuggling - two crimes previously used interchangeably. Trafficking and smuggling take place for different reasons, under different conditions and have different legal consequences. Lansink writes, “Trafficking is done for the purpose of exploiting the labour or services of the trafficked person, whereas in the case of smuggling migrants, the relationship between the smuggler and the smuggled person comes to an end after the illegal entry into the state.”  In other words, trafficking is a crime violating an individual’s rights and smuggling is a crime violating the state.
The Convention considers a situation to amount to trafficking if the following three elements exist: (1) recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons; (2) threat, use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, deception, the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person; (3) for the purpose of exploitation. 
One of the reasons why a uniform definition of trafficking did not come into place until recently is because states had differing views on prostitution (whether it should be regulated or deregulated and whether prostitution itself is a human rights violation against women). Those that advocated the making illegal of prostitution lobbied for a trafficking definition that said that all prostitution is a form of trafficking.  As the definition stands now, states are free to handle prostitution as they wish.  The definition of trafficking is broad and covers a multitude of situations in which an act can be considered trafficking, even when someone is willingly transferred only to find out later in the trafficking process that they have been coerced, much like the situation many women face. For example, it is common practice to give young women false hope of moving abroad to work as waitresses with good pay, only to confiscate travel documentation upon entry into the country of destination and force them into sex slavery.
A host of other human rights instruments specifically mention human trafficking. For example, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture include trafficking-related provisions which can protect trafficking victims. 
The international community has explicitly recognized that trafficking violates many and some of the most important human rights guaranteed to every human being. Countries have done their duty by signing and ratifying a host of international and bilateral treaties related to trafficking.  However, when it comes down to the implementation of provisions found in these treaties, states are not willing to pledge cooperation and assistance in a meaningful way. Instead of focusing on the women who have fallen victim to traffickers, some who lived through the most unimaginable of situations, when state authorities identify victims, in most cases they have no more than one month to decide whether they want to cooperate with criminal investigations against their trafficker or not.  If not, deportation is the solution.  By focusing on the criminalization of the traffickers instead of on the well-being of the victims, states act in complete contradiction to the promises they made when signing the dotted line of instruments such as those previously mentioned.  In addition, this procedure makes little sense practically. 
As stated in the international trafficking definition, deception and coercion are common traits of a trafficking situation. Thus, often victims have limited information about their trafficking situation and their trafficker which could be helpful for a prosecution. This is especially the case if a victim was trafficked by an organized crime group. In the case that a woman does decide to cooperate with state authorities, she fears and is at risk of reprisals against herself and her family in the country of origin; she is traumatized from the trafficking itself and could have very little trust in police officials due to possible negative experiences with corruption in the country of origin; she is traumatized from the trafficking itself and could have very little trust in police officials due to possible negative experiences with corruption in the country of origin. Nonetheless, controlling who enters one’s state and who stays is, as Chetail and Aleinikoff (2003) stated, “…one of the last bastions of the truly sovereign state’ and states’ reasons for linking protection to criminal cooperation are far from invalid.
It is easier for states to deal with non-state actors, i.e., holding traffickers criminally liable as opposed to dealing with other governments. Another explanation could be that states see trafficking as a security problem and thus, desire to inhibit the continuing cycles of trafficking.  States may want to retain the ultimate jurisdiction over how to deal with what is essentially an in-state question. Or, states do not want to encourage people to enter into trafficking situations with the knowledge that they will be protected under international law if discovered.
These justifications for dealing with trafficking as a criminal matter make sense; however, they do not remove the weighty justification for also treating victims of trafficking as individuals deserving protection, regardless of their cooperation with the authorities. Major human rights norms that states allegedly pledged themselves to be concerned with are being violated. States and governments do not know whether to tackle the trafficking problem from a human rights approach or a criminal approach and thus leave its victims out in the cold. A better human rights – state security balance is needed.
States may be weary to pledge cooperation and assistance in a meaningful way, but they should be more scared of the spread of human trafficking, which is something that experience has shown they cannot handle on their own – as the problem still persists. By retaining so much sovereignty, they only make it easier for traffickers to forum shop.