Anti-Trafficking via NATWI
The NATWI coalition was founded on September 10th 2014 by OWFI and attended by seven organizations from Baghdad, Babil, Nasiriah, and Basrah. The network grew rapidly and now has a membership of 52 Iraqi grassroots women’s, youth and human rights organizations working to end the phenomenon of the trafficking of women in Iraq. 372 NGO personnel were trained at NATWI conference on the basics of sheltering, anti-trafficking, and analyzing of existing discriminatory laws against women throughout 9 national conferences.
NATWI holds approximately three conferences a year and invites people from the community, government representatives, parliamentarians, lawyers and policy makers to be in the attendance, while women survivors and women defenders take center stage and address the issues that plague women in Iraq.
At the ninth NATWI conference addressing tribal violence against women in Iraq, held in the city of Diwaniah, we were surprised to see even tribal leaders sitting in the front rows at the meeting. A brave woman took the microphone and confronted the men in the crowd about the brutality practiced against women, which they systematically hide and deny.
These conferences are powerful opportunities for women to speak fearlessly to increase the political force fighting for the rights of women at both national and provincial levels. Civil Society organizers share and learn from each others' experience and fortify the efforts to legalize sheltering and women’s empowerment work. Conferences have taken place in the cities of Amarah, Basra, Baghdad, Wasit, Nasiriyah, Diwaniyah, Babil and Kerbala.
They have covered topics including: tribal violence against women and honour killings, domestic violence, trafficking and forced prostitution, the urgency of legalizing women’s sheltering, state violence and jeopardizing of trafficked women through bureaucratic obstacles on obtaining formal identification documents.
These conferences have also been springboards for the writing of a manual and mandate of the anti-trafficking/sheltering training program, and proposing amendments to the drafted Family Protection Law.