Slavery on conference agenda

Flinders University is a hosting partner for the 5th World Conference on Women’s Studies, which will be held over 25 – 27 April 2019 in Bangkok and will feature Dr Helen McLaren as a panellist on the session ‘Trafficking of women and girls.’

There are currently around 45 million human slaves in the world who have been kidnapped, deceived or debt bonded, and forced into labour and sexual servitude. These are mostly women and girls, and the problem is not subsiding. In fact, trafficking is reaching grave dimensions and is now colloquially known as the ‘dark side’ of globalisation.

Anti-trafficking initiatives acknowledge that trafficking of women and children is deep-rooted in poverty, a lack of alternative economic options, political systems and unequal class, gender and ethnic social relations. Poverty alleviation programs and gender rights approaches have made inroads, yet the problem persists, fed by globalisation that enables new source and destination sites to constantly emerge.

Dr McLaren will be joined by Jane McBride, who is co-founder of the NGO “Friends of Thai Daughters”, and other panellists to share their work in disrupting the degradation, exploitation and trafficking of women and girls.

“With the trafficking terrain always changing, anti-trafficking initiatives can disrupt and change the flows but not necessarily stop them,” Dr McLaren says.

“While formidable challenges exist, the fight must continue.”

Dr McLaren will share her research, and development work from Indonesia that seeks to reduce women’s and girls’ vulnerability to forced labour and sexual servitude.

Held during the mid-semester break, the theme of this year’s World Conference on Women’s Studies is ‘Activism, Solidarity and Diversity: Feminist Movements Toward Global Sisterhood’.

Abstracts are invited before 15 February 2019, or find out more and register to attend on the conference website.

Posted in