World Rural Women's Day was launched by several international non governmental organisations (NGOs) during the 4th United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995. Since 1997, the Women's World Summit Foundation (WWSF) has organised an annual worldwide empowerment and educational campaign for the day. Celebrations and events take place in more than 100 countries around the world.
The day provides rural women and their organizations with a focal point to:
• Raise the profile of rural women,
• Sensitize both government and public to their crucial, yet largely unrecognized roles, and
• Promote action in their support.
Initiatives on how to celebrate this day are left to individual organizations and communities, according to their own traditions and requirements.
Sex trafficking is the largest subcategory of the modern day slave trade, and affects mostly women and girls. Every year, domestic and foreign-born victims are trafficked into local prostitution markets to be sold and exploited.
The trafficking industry flourishes due to the persistent demand for commercial sex. Robust demand unleashes powerful market forces: the opportunity for profit ensures a steady supply of pimps and traffickers, and there is no domestic or foreign shortage of women and girls in desperate circumstances who are vulnerable to exploitation.
In the United States, state governments and local authorities have implemented demand-reduction programs like "john schools" and public awareness campaigns illustrating strict penalties for sexual exploitation. In Sweden, a law was passed in 1999 criminalizing the purchase of a sexual service and was the first attempt by a country to address the buyer in the equation.
What is being done to address the consumer side of this human rights issue? This online conference, cosponsored with the Initiative to Stop Human Trafficking at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, will focus on the best practices to combat the demand of sex trafficking.
The discussion will be moderated by Michael Shively, Ph.D., Senior Associate of the Center on Crime, Drugs, and Justice at Abt Associates, Inc.
The panel will feature:
Donna Hughes, Ph.D., Professor and Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair, Women's Studies Program, University of Rhode Island
Sgt. Lavonnie Bickerstaff, Bureau of Police, Pittsburgh, PA
Stephanie Davis, Policy Advisor on Women's Issues, Office of the Mayor, City of Atlanta, GA
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