Report on ICWT 2017

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. Organised by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) in association with International Justice Mission (IJM), at JW Marriott, Juhu. The Conference hosted over 400 participants comprising speakers and delegates from 15 countries, including 21 Indian states.

The Conference witnessed contributions from 38 speakers from Government departments, heads of anti-trafficking and law enforcement agencies, international and national law enforcement agencies (from India as well as from Bolivia, Kenya, Philippines and Thailand), development organizations as well as two survivors of trafficking were part of the panel discussion. The 250 delegates at the conference included Officials from state government bodies, representatives of development agencies, media personnel, members of the judiciary, thought leaders and three survivors of trafficking.

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.

At the venue an installation series titled, ‘The Justice Journey’, was open to public viewing. Through the exhibits various forms of human trafficking - trafficking for sex, labour, as well as the emerging online exploitation of children was depicted. This was followed by exhibits on how justice is served through government agencies, judicial process and rehabilitative support. A ‘Pledge Wall’ for messages of hope and commitment to end trafficking marked the end of the series.

The Conference enjoyed the support of luminaries in the field of anti-trafficking. A major highlight of the Conference was the testimonies shared by two survivors of sex trafficking and bonded 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. The ministers of the Government of Maharashtra, present at the inaugural ceremony, emphatically vocalized their support and the commitment to bring an end to human trafficking across the state.

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.”

Click here to read a comprehensive report of the conference.