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Women Trust Conference: Tackling human trafficking needs more funding

United Kingdom

Campaigners attending the Trust Women Conference in London urged governments to spend more on fighting organised crimes leading to slavery. The trafficking of women for sexual exploitation took the centre stage during the first day of the two-day annual women’s rights and human trafficking conference run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The summit is also hosting a range of panels covering topics as broad as the migration crisis, forced labour and deradicalisation.

Nigerian-born Princess Inyang Okokon, a human trafficking survivor and campaigner, was sold into prostitution in Torino Italy for $13,000, after leaving Nigeria via London.

“I saw the violence. I saw the ill-treatment they gave to other girls like me. I saw that many of the girls, all of us, were slaves. Now I want to work and liberate them,“she says.

At the same time, a Nepalese judge and a former sex slave said Nepali girls and women rescued from sexual slavery should receive compensation from the government when their traffickers are convicted.

According to the Himalayan Times, Sunita Danuwar, who was sold to a Mumbai brothel when she was 14, said compensation was crucial to help survivors rebuild their lives and reduce the risk of being re-trafficked. “Survivors need to reintegrate into society. If they have money, then they can reintegrate more easily. If they do not have money then they may be preyed on and re-trafficked,” said Danuwar, who now runs an anti-trafficking charity in Nepal.

According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, nearly 46 million people in the world live as slaves, forced to work, sold for sex, trapped in debt bondage or born into servitude.

Globally some 4.5 million people are trapped in sexual exploitation, according to the International Labor Organization, generating an estimated $99 billion in illegal profits a year.

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