Annual Report: Asia Pacific Women of Faith Network (APWFN)
2017 ACRP (APWFN) Women Committee Report
Submitted by: Dr. Lilian Sison – Chair ACRP Women Committee
Religions for Peace Asia (ACRP) Women Committee organized a conference on “Women Empowerment Against Modern Day Slavery” last July 20-22, 2017 at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. One hundred five (105) women delegates representing NGOs, women groups, Shelter Homes, and those from the ACRP Women Chapters from Japan, China, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and the Philippines gathered to discuss the burning issues on human trafficking in the region.
The 2014 Global Slavery index found that there are nearly 45 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. Of these, nearly two-thirds are from Asia. Millions are forced into bonded labour, commercial sex trafficking and child soldiering. The conference was organized in response to the 2014 Incheon ACRP Declaration which enshrines the care for the marginalized and the protection of the rights of the vulnerable especially women and children.
In the conference, the role of women in multi-faith traditions were highlighted as key to reviving family values and as a consequence preventing the trafficking of vulnerable women and children. The empowerment of women is based on two assumptions: first, on the very nature of woman and second, empowerment as the very articulation of the faith. The unique attribute of the conference was to locate empowerment in the very nature of womanhood and multi-faith traditions to rekindle human dignity and good of the person both at home and in social relations. The challenge posed in the conference was how to efficiently prevent, protect victims and prosecute abusers. Insights on the issues on human trafficking were given by the distinguished speakers headed by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Philippines, H.E. Marion Derckx and Dr. Aurora Javate-de Dios President of the Board of Trustees of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific and a wide array of speakers from the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bangladesh. The most notable experience that the conference offered was the personal encounter of the participants to the victims of human trafficking during the visit to the various Shelter Homes. A conference statement against Modern Day slavery was prepared by the delegates and submitted to the ACRP secretariat in Japan.
Post conference activities included a meeting in November 2017 among stakeholders on Modern Day Slavery on the Needs Analysis of the various shelter homes and NGOs working against human trafficking.
RfP Philippines and CCRP China delegates during their visit to Manila last December 2017 visited the Ruhana Shelter Home to show their solidarity with the victims. RfP Philippines donated food supplies while CCRP gave cash donation.