Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference - Day One

Recently we just finished hosting our first Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference in partnership with STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia. We both believe that businesses, unions, government, academia and NGOs really need to work together. Only together can we end this crime and change the lives of many people. It’s a shared responsibility and it takes multi-sector collaboration. Over the next few days we will hear from our dear friend, Lisa Cheong, as she recalls her experience at the conference.

Day 1 -  ARAT Conference

It was such an encouraging first day at the opening session of the Asian Region Anti-Trafficking (ARAT) Conference. The evening began with Helen Sworn (Chab Dai), along with Fuzz and Carolyn Kitto (Stop The Traffik Australia) sharing about their vision for this conference.

There were representatives from 19 different nations and participants coming from various sectors: civil society, NGO, faith-based and non-faith based organizations, human rights groups, international organizations, embassies, academics, legal practitioners, financial regulators, and donors. What a recognition that no one sector can solve the issue of human trafficking, but each sector has a role to play!

We were given an excellent overview of the big picture across sectors and the region with three different speakers: Ms Octavia Borthwick from Australian Embassy in Bangkok, Kaori Kawarabayashi, the Regional Project Manager at UN-ACT Bangkok and Dr. Shantanu Dutta the Director of Public Sector Engagement from IJM India. 

I love the fact that the structure of this conference is to create a learning community and to promote partnerships by challenging us all to move outside our boundaries and consider different perspectives. While I work in Cambodia, tonight I had the opportunity to learn about some of the trafficking issues in India through an IJM representative. I also felt overwhelmed listening to the complexities of the legal frameworks in that country and the sheer challenges faced by those who seek to bring justice to many who are oppressed.

In many ways, the presence of all of the participants at this conference serve to remind us that we are all in this together. We stand in solidarity when we listen to their journeys, share from our own experiences and join together to find collective solutions to deal with the realities of human trafficking and modern slavery.

Written by 

Lisa J Cheong, Managing Director of Indradevi Consulting Group (ICG) - Cambodia

At ICG, we seek to create a future that awakens passion, ignites purpose and unleashes the unique potential of Khmer women and girls in all spheres of society through a collaborative process. As a women’s training development company, we provide holistic, customized and contexualized value-based training solutions focused on engaging, equipping and empowering women and girls with the tools and skills needed to enhance their personal and professional development.