The Second World Congress against the Sexual Exploitation of Women & Girls

Good Shepherd at the Second World Congress against the Sexual Exploitation of Women & Girls, New Delhi, January 29-31, 2017

A combined report by Sr. Vimala Bai &Sr Jacquline Dhas

Prostitution is an absence of choice. It is never a choice. We, four Good Shepherd Sisters from India (Hilda John, Vimala Bai, Jacquline Dhas and Zita Oliver) and one sister from Philippines (Ailyn Binco) attended the three-day Second World Congress against the Sexual Exploitation of Women & Girls in New Delhi this past January. This Congress was Organised by CAP International (Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution) and Apne Aap (WwomenWorldwide.) The organizations form a coalition of NGOs providing direct assistance to victims of sexual exploitation. The Congress highlighted sexual exploitation of the most marginalised women and girls in the world. The Congress was attended by activists, civil society organisations, young survivors dedicated to ending the sex trade in India and abroad. It was an opportunity for Good Shepherd to participate and articulate our positions on economic justice, prostitution and violence against women and join with others to promote the dignity of all. We were indeed glad to be a part of the global movement and to take care of that the theme “The Last Girl First” be implemented.

The opening session of the congress included presentations by actress & goodwill ambassador Ashley Judd. She was joined by women from India, Ireland, France, USA, South Africa, Bangladesh, Nepal and Canada, each of whom have survived and exited the system of prostitution, each speaking for the “ last girl.” 

Opening Session Dais 

Ashley Judd, feminist activist and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, making a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. 

Full house participants/audience at "Global Movement of Survivors Mobilising against Sexual Exploitation"

The Congress was centered on the participation of 400 civil society representatives, leaders and decision makers from 30 countries and 5 continents, many of whom had been in prostitution and many representing women and girls suffering the marginalizatsin of being indigenous, low caste, migrant, women of colour, or other minorities. Youth from student movements and trade unions, representatives from the new technologies sector, and members of parliaments we all active participants.

The 3-day events included plenary and workshop groupings; themes include:
- The last girl first: ending sexual exploitation of the most marginalized
- Survivors of prostitution mobilize against commercial sexual exploitation - Dynamics and challenges of Asian countries in the region

- Youth and students movements working for the abolition of prostitution

- The launch of a global coalition of trade unions against sexual exploitation - Use and value of new technologies in the work to end exploitation.

We Good Shepherd Sisters are clear in the commitment to work to end all forms of sexual exploitation and to build a strong, inclusive society based on social justice and gender equality and thus a societies without prostitution. We left the Congress strengthened and heartened; we return to our programs to share and to consider new strategies and clearer ways to help the last girl to be first.

We are grateful for the embassies of Sweden, France and Australia who supported the events of the Congress. 

Particpant of the workshop (From left to Right): Sr. Hilda John, Sr. Ailyn Binco, Sr. Jacquline Dhas, Grizelda Grootboom (a Survivor of sexual exploitation and author; she works with Embrace Dignity, a South African NGO), Sr. Zita Olivera, Sr. Vimala Bai. 

Original in English