On November 18 2016 ECPAT International convened the first ever global forum for adult survivors of childhood sexual exploitation. The landmark Global Survivors’ Forum provided a platform and gave a stronger voice to survivors from around the globe. The Forum was held on 18 November to coincide with the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. Survivor advocates and experts from different regions gathered at the Council of Europe for a roundtable discussion. Survivors from around the world were able to watch the discussion live and join an online platform to post their own comments and questions.
The Forum is survivor-led and driven. In the lead-up to the Forum, ECPAT members and partners held 23 local consultations with over 300 survivors in different countries around the world. Consultations were held in: Austria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Korea, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Thailand, Togo, UK and Uganda. The voices of survivors from the local consultations provided crucial inputs into the Global Forum. Here’s what some of the participants had to say:
‘Silence around the issue must be un-muted’ – Pakistan
‘The Global Survivors’ Forum is a great platform for us to raise our voice. It’s high time for our experiences to be shared and utilised to prevent other survivors from facing the same challenges’ – India
‘I thought I have been through the worst but today I have learned that many other women went through the same or even worst situations. I don’t feel alone anymore.’ – Sierra Leone
‘We will come together, fight together and bring an end to this crime together ‘ – India
‘A survivor is someone who doesn’t let their pain take over their life. They can let it go, turn it into fuel and power.’ – Thailand
Meet some of the inspiring advocates and experts who took part in the 2016 Global Forum: