International Conference hosted by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women
The first International Conference on Women Trafficking (ICWT) by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) spanned over two days from 27-28 July, 2017. The conference was organised in Mumbai by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) in association with IJM as a knowledge partner. The Conference hosted over 400 participants comprising speakers and delegates from 15 countries, including 21 Indian states.
The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated the Conference in the presence of Minister of Rural Development Women and Child Welfare, Government of Maharashtra, Mrs. Pankaja Munde; Minister of State Women and Child Development, Government of Maharashtra, Mrs. Vidya Thakur; Chairperson, MSCW, Mrs. Vijaya Rahatkar; Second Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Hajia Samira Bawumia; Mr. Sajan Pillai, CEO, UST Global, and Film Actor, Mr. Akshay Kumar. Smt. Mridula Sinha, Honorable Governor of Goa and several other dignitaries graced the event with their august presence
The Chief Minister addressed the gathering saying, “Human trafficking, especially of children, is a scourge in society”. He appealed to the international community to collaborate and ‘end the menace’.
At the inaugural session, the MSCW signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mr. Sanee Awsarmmel, on the support of the hotel and hospitality industry in ending human trafficking. The guests on the dais launched the annual report of the MSCW, a compilation of articles from participating organisations titled Securing Justice and stories and case studies of survivors titled Restoring Freedom.
Bringing together leading experts and practitioners from across the world, the Conference proved to be an excellent opportunity to share experiences in the best practices involved in the fight against women trafficking employed worldwide. Each of the 38 speakers shared insights from the actions taken by government and civil society bodies to combat trafficking in their respective districts, states and countries. The agenda focused on specific aspects of trafficking in women, right from the cause and impact, to the need for efforts in holistic restoration as well as means to end impunity in the trafficking regime.
The Conference enjoyed the support of luminaries in the field of anti-trafficking. A major highlight of the Conference were the testimonies shared by two survivors of sex trafficking and forced labour. The discussions were spread across three plenary sessions and five panel discussions.
MSCW’s initiative and involvement in the Conference highlighted the efforts taken by government bodies to not only acknowledge the crime of human trafficking, but also demonstrated how collaborative efforts are critical in ending this bane of modern society. The active participation of 20 government and police officials was a significant success of the Conference.
MSCW Chairperson, Mrs. Vijaya Rahatkar explained, “The desire to bring people from various nations to this Conference is to not only see the root of the issue, but to seek a solution—to set the scene for collaboration on anti-trafficking. This Conference can be a new beginning for the cause.”