Highlights from the 2013 Trust Women Conference

by Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 5 December 2013 11:36 GMT
The Foundation's second annual Trust Women Conference closed yesterday with very strong commitments to action from leading women's rights organizations and global leaders in law, finance, business and government.

The Foundation’s second annual Trust Women Conference closed yesterday with very strong commitments to action from leading women’s rights organizations and global leaders in law, finance, business and government.

Over 450 global leaders from 40 countries attended Trust Women which featured a range of high-profile speakers including: UK Home Secretary Theresa May, Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. VanceQueen Noor,Cherie Blair, Christy Turlington, Sima Samar, Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) who brought their knowledge, influence and experience to the debate.

Trust Women focused on the pervasive global exploitation of vulnerable individuals, men and women alike, from everyday street harassment to modern-day slavery. Many of the speakers recalled their own experiences of abuse and violence, inspiring shock, surprise, and action in the audience.

Speakers attending the conference were asked to present specific actions that directly addressed problems facing women around the world. In dedicated ‘action groups’ delegates were then encouraged to contribute offering concrete help and solutions.

Eighteen strong actions were taken, in the fields of slavery and rehabilitation of survivors, forced sterilization and healthcare and trauma care for Syrian refugees as well as a strong action to put an end at the practice of jihad al niqab –sham marriage for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

Read all of the Trust Women Actions.

The Polaris Project committed to create a Global Human Trafficking Hotline Network to connect all existing human trafficking hotlines and provide a worldwide safety net for survivors. Dasra, one of the biggest social enterprises in India, has offered assistance. Tau Investment Management has offered to support this initiative in the countries where they operate.

The Human Rights Law Network committed to launch The Global Legal Network to End Coerced and Forced Sterilization. The project will assess the scale of the issue worldwide and develop a database of laws pertaining to it. TrustLaw Connect (the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s marketplace for pro bono legal assistance), Dasra (India), the Women’s Legal Centre (South Africa) and Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights will provide assistance.

Safeway proposed the development of tools to map supply chains risks and raise alerts, using information from NGOs, social media, government agencies and open data. Thomson ReutersCorporation will provide assistance.

Highlights from Trust Women included:

  • keynote speech by UK Home Secretary Theresa May on the Modern Slavery Bill due to be introduced in the present session of Parliament
  • keynote speech by New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr on the importance of using business investigative techniques to dismantle human trafficking
  • keynote speech by Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino on the importance of legal tools to empower women
  • A multimedia presentation by award-winning photojournalist Hazel Thompson based on"TAKEN", an undercover investigation into Indian sex slavery
  • An intimate conversation with renowned human rights advocate Dr. Sima Samar,Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), on the future of Afghanistan for women, the presidential elections in April 2014 and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
  • The Trust Women Award ceremony which saw human rights activist Alaa Murabit andinvestigative journalist Neha Dixit taking home the awards presented by Queen Noor and Mariane Pearl

Trust Women also featured the UK premiere of Ferite a Morte - Wounded to Death, a renowned theatrical piece created by Italian best-selling author Serena Dandini to give voice to victims of domestic violence with the reading of imagined letters. The event featured an all-star cast of women’s leaders including Salma Hayek Pinault, Christy Turlington Burns, Queen Noor, Laura Bates, Mariane Pearl, Mona el Tahawy and many others. Watch the entire performance and check out photos from the performance and backstage photos.

Missed the livestream? You can watch the conference videos, keynote speeches, read the live blog, view the livestream archive and more on the Trust Women website.

The Trust Women conference may be over, but the Foundation’s commitment to women’s rights remains stronger than ever. Stay updated on the Foundation’s work in women’s rights bysubscribing to our newsletter.