ECPAT arranged the first ever event where victims of child sexual exploitation could meet. In November 2016, we gathered 300 adult survivors from countries all over the world, to discuss the issue and share experiences.
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 to discuss the issue and survivors from around the world were invited to live stream the discussion and participate by commenting and asking questions.
‘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
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:
‘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
‘We will come together, fight together and bring an end to this crime together ‘ – India