Freedom From Slavery Asia Regional Forum 2023
The Freedom From Slavery Forum is the premier annual anti-slavery and anti-trafficking thought leadership event for Asia.
This year it was held on January 16 and 17 as an online Zoom event.
The Asia Regional Forum brought together stakeholders from across Asia to discuss the most pressing issues of modern slavery and develop effective solutions. Over two days, the Asia Regional Forum considered how to increase collaboration and the development of working partnerships across the region and engaged with survivors from the region to learn more about best practices for engaging with survivors and ensuring they are meaningfully included in the planning, program delivery, policy design, and justice activities.
1:00 p.m. – Vietnam/Cambodia (used for the following agenda)
11:30 a.m. – India
11:45 a.m. – Nepal
12:00 p.m. – Bangladesh
2.00 p.m. – Philippines
Monday, January 16, 2023: Collaboration, Coalitions, and Partnerships to Combat Modern Slavery Post-COVID
Zoom lobby opens
Welcome and Opening Remarks (5 min)
Keynote: Importance of Collaboration, Coalitions, and Partnerships to Combat Modern Slavery Post-COVID (10 min)
Panel: Collaborations within Civil Society – Challenges and Best Practices (45 min)
Q&A on the Panel (20 min)
Workshops: Prevailing Vulnerabilities Post-Covid (30 min)
A1: Vulnerable Groups
B1: Challenges for Civil Society
C1: Creative Solutions
Reporting Back from Workshops (15 min)
Wrap-Up & Adjourn (5 min)
– Networking Time
Tuesday, January 17: Meaningfully Engaging Survivors of Modern Slavery
Zoom lobby opens
Introduction and Welcome (5 min)
Survivor Engagement at the Forefront of the Anti-Modern Slavery Movement (20 min)
Letter from a Survivor (10 min)
Panel: Best Practices for Meaningful Survivor Engagement and Leadership (45 min)
Reactions from Survivors (20 min)
Q&A on the Panel (10 min)
Workshops: Best Practices of Collaborations Between Civil Society and Survivors – Prevention, Prosecution, Protection, Partnerships (30 min)
A3: Survivors and Community-Level Organizations
B3: Survivors and Policy-Level Organizations
C3: Survivors and Programming
Reporting Back from Workshops (15 min)
Wrap-Up & Adjourn (5 min)
– Networking Time
Partnerships and Collaboration
- Establish and strengthen regional and local partnerships
- Improve collaborative problem-solving relationships among stakeholders to prevent sexual exploitation, forced marriages, and forced labor in the region.
- Explore effective partnerships to increase resource mobilization
Survivor Engagement and Inclusion
- Increased understanding of how stakeholders can ethically engage with survivors in all sectors of the modern slavery movement.
- Increased commitment to amplify survivor voices in the development of policies and practices.
- Increased understanding of good allyship
Purnata – India
Aaboo Varghese's Bio
Aaboo Varghese is an expert in the field of human trafficking and modern slavery with an experience of 32 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Mumbai University, and he also has an MBA in Development Management from the prestigious S P Jain Institute of Management & Research. Aaboo was passionate about working for the vulnerable and exploited communities in India, and he started working with several
communities in the villages of South and North India before joining Oasis India in the leadership team in 2018. He worked with the leadership team for 6 straight years, and later on he worked as Joint Executive Director and Director of Projects of the organization before moving on from Oasis in 2014. While working with different stakeholders throughout his career, he realized the inadequacy of the strategies followed by most Anti-Human Trafficking organizations where the focus was curative rather than preventive. With the vision to introduce better strategies for addressing human trafficking, Aaboo launched out to start Purnata. Purnata was born with an emphasis on a comprehensive prevention strategy of vulnerable victims at its core while we also rescued and rehabilitated survivors.
In the last over eight years, Aaboo with his team have been able to assist 300 Vulnerable women & children from falling prey to traffickers apart from rescuing over 60 victims of Trafficking (nearly 30 majors & over 30 minors), rehabilitating 40 survivors into mainstream society, helped, arranged and witnessed 2 survivors get married, rescued and arranged safe housing for 60 children at risk of being trafficked and brought awareness & sensitization on Human Trafficking to over 2 lakh people.
Professor of Politics
University of Liverpool – UK
Alex Balch's Bio
Alex Balch is a Professor of Politics at the University of Liverpool. He has led several multi-country projects examining efforts to address exploitation, focusing on approaches from the arts and humanities. He was Principal Investigator for the Anti-Slavery Knowledge Network (AKN) 2017-2022, funded through the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The AKN funded a number of sub-awards across different African countries, featuring research into creative, community-based methods, safeguarding practices, and equitable partnerships.
University of Witwatersrand – South Africa
Allen Kiconco's Bio
Dr. Allen Kiconco is visiting researcher at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She is a gender and conflict researcher who also studies various aspects of modern slavery and human trafficking including forced marriage and sexual slavery during wartime. Her work promotes person-centered, ethical, and all-encompassing research practices. She is the author of Gender, Conflict and Reintegration in Uganda: Abducted Girls, Returning Women (Routledge, 2021).
Association for Stimulating Know How (ASK) – India
Aqueel Khan's Bio
Dr. Aqueel Khan is the Founding Director of the Association for Stimulating Know How (ASK) and has extensively worked on modern-day slavery, human rights and international labour issues within supply chains. He led the project on preventing modern slavery for migrant workers going to the gulf corridor. In addition to working on safe migration, the ASK team was involved in the rescue of workers from the gulf with active support and collaboration with POE and Government agencies. He also worked on financial innovation to develop financial products for migrant workers. In the last 30 years, he has extensively worked on child labour, forced labour and migrant labour issues within various supply chains and sectors. This includes apparel, textiles, home furnishings, brass artware, glass, agriculture, Tea, Spices, electronics, footwear, minerals and natural stones. He has designed and led traceability of supply chain, and risk assessment and also facilitated Capacity buildings and Remediation, programs. He worked on various projects across South and South East Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Aqueel is a Board Member of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), a global platform promoting sustainable agriculture across the world. He started his career with UNHCR in India and holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a PhD in women empowerment from Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi.
Chief Executive Officer
The Remedy Project – Hong Kong
Archana Kotecha's Bio
Archana Kotecha is recognized as a regional expert on human trafficking and forced labor issues across APAC. A UK-qualified barrister and former corporate lawyer, Archana has over 15 years of experience advising international organizations (including the UN International Organization for Migration, UN International Labour Organization, US-AID), ASEAN bodies, governments, and human rights practitioners on human trafficking and forced labor. Archana is widely published and regularly engaged as a subject matter expert by NGOs, governments, and the private sector. In 2017, Archana was named one of the top ten innovative lawyers in the Asia Pacific by the Financial Times and she is also an alumnus of the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program run by the US Department of State. She is regularly named as an influential changemaker and was most recently named one of Asia’s most inspiring social entrepreneurs by APAC Entrepreneur.
Benu Maya Gurung
Alliance against Trafficking in Women & Children in Nepal (AATWIN)
Benu Maya Gurung's Bio
Ms. Benu Maya Gurung is the Executive Director of Alliance against Trafficking in Women & Children in Nepal (AATWIN), working with
AATWIN since 2004. She is a women’s rights activist and resource person for VAW, gender equality, and girls’ rights, especially against human trafficking. She has been engaged and experienced about 20 years in the formation, implementation, and improvement of various Acts, National Plans of Action, and directives related to human trafficking, violence against women, and women’s rights in Nepal as well as coordinated and collaborated with Govt. agencies and commissions. She is engaged and contributed to the CEDAW, SDG, BPfA, UPR, and CRC as a member
of various committees of CSOs. She is the Advisor of women trafficking survivors & HIV positive and a self-organized group of women workers. She is the Chairperson of the National Action Coordinating Group (NACG) of Nepal, a national coordinating body of SAIEVAC. She played a key role in the five National Conferences of Trafficking Survivors from 2007 to 2022.
Bhanuja Sharan Lal
Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan (MSEMVS) – India
Bhanuja Sharan Lal's Bio
Dr. Bhanuja Sharan Lal is the Executive Director of Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan (MSEMVS) based in Varanasi.
Around 1996, Bhanuja began to work directly on issues of child labor, especially in carpets. He joined MSEMVS as an intern in 1996 after completing ‘Master’s in Social Work’ and was involved in women empowerment programs in rural areas. Mr. Bhanuja, throughout his career, realized that without a strong mechanism for rehabilitation, other efforts are not going to sustain the freedom of the child laborer. He has always stressed the proper rehabilitation of the freed laborer through education and livelihood building. Mr. Bhanuja became the Director of MSEMVS in 2003, and he is responsible for leading more than 75 frontline anti-trafficking workers in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Bhanuja and his team have enabled communities to progressively dismantle entrenched systems of bonded labor at brick kilns, farms, quarries, etc., in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand.
Bhanuja is a member of the working Committee of NITI AAYOG, Govt. of India for the sustainable engagement with CSOs; the Task Force on Bonded Labour and Child Labour in Varanasi at the district level; and the Monitoring Committee “on Laws related to women and children i.e. Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, Juvenile Justice Act, Adaptation Act, etc. at Commissioner Level of Varanasi.
Free the Slaves – USA
Bukeni Waruzi's Bio
Bukeni Waruzi is the Executive Director of Free the Slaves. He works closely with the board, the global team, and headquarters to provide strategic leadership and set a vision for one of the world’s most widely-known and respected anti-modern slavery organizations.
Waruzi has documented human rights abuses, designed and implemented advocacy campaigns, made public presentations around the world, and trained hundreds of human rights advocates and activists in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.
Waruzi has spoken to high-level audiences including the United Nations Security Council, the International Criminal Court, and the Children’s Caucus of the U.S. Congress. He currently represents anti-slavery groups as a civil society member of the Global Coordinating Group of Alliance 8.7, the global initiative to attain Sustainable Development target 8.7, the end of child and forced labor worldwide.
Research and Learning Lead
Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation – Vietnam
Caitlin Wyndham's Bio
Caitlin is an experienced leader committed to addressing social exclusion, inequality, and human rights violations. Her expertise with non-profit organizations encompasses research, grants management, donor relationships, monitoring, evaluation and research, organizational development, and program design. Caitlin has been involved with Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation since 2003 and is focused on strategy, evidence-based programming, research, evaluation, and learning as well as stakeholder liaison as a senior staff member. Caitlin holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy, a Master’s in International and Community Development, and a Master’s in Sociology.
Founder and Executive Director
Voice Free – Philippines
Cecilia Oebanda-Pacis' Bio
Cecilia is an internationally acclaimed slavery fighter. Her awards include the Anti-Slavery International Award, US Dept. of Labor Trafficking in Persons Hero, First Iqbal Masih Award, World Children’s Prize, Reuter’s Trustlaw Connect Impact, and Child10 Award. In 2011, she was appointed by the Philippine President to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, where she was seated for six years. In 2013, CNN featured her fight against slavery in a documentary entitled “The Fighters”. Recently, she entered the Advisory Board of Freedom United and as Advisory Council of Telos Governance Agency.
Founding Member and Chairperson
Shakti Samuha – Nepal
Charimaya Tamang's Bio
Charimaya Tamang is a Founding Member and Chairperson of Shakti Samuha. She became a member of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT) as a representative of survivors for the first time in Nepal. In the journey of the anti-human trafficking campaign, she was honored by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare in the 2nd National Day Against Human Trafficking in 2065 BS. In addition to this, she was awarded the International Award “Hero Acting to End Modern Day Slavery Award” by the US Government in 2011 AD. She was privileged by the Nepal Government as a ” Samaj Sewa Shree” Maanpadawi on the occasion of the Republic Day in 2068 BS, and again she was awarded by ” Dayaram Periyar Award” in 2016 AD.
Founder and Executive Director
Dark Bali – Indonesia
Dalaina May's Bio
Dalaina grew up overseas and has lived in 5 countries on three continents. When she moved to Indonesia, she finally found her home. She holds a BA in Intercultural Studies from Biola University and a MA in Global Leadership with an emphasis on Children at Risk from Fuller Seminary. After supporting the local staff of a safehouse for trafficked teen girls in Bali, she realized that there was a need for an organization providing similar support for the entire Indonesian anti-trafficking community, and Dark Bali was born.
Tisaka Foundation – Philippines
Eleony Monding's Bio
Eleony is a survivor of sex trafficking. She co-founded Tisaka Foundation on October 28, 1998, a non-profit organization based in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. She advocates for promoting the rights and inclusion of survivors in the community and fighting the misconception and wrong judgment of sex trafficking survivors. Currently, their organization is composed of 78 survivors. She is married and a mother to a daughter who is now a licensed psychologist.
Chief of Party
Philippine Development Assistance Programme – Philippines
Eugenio Gonzales's Bio
Eugenio M. Gonzales is an Industrial Engineer with more than 35 years of experience in development work in the fields of strategic planning, project development and management, grant-making, institutional development, and policy analysis as a project team leader, consultant, trainer, and executive officer.
At present, he is the Chief of Party of the Strength CTIP Project funded by USAID-Philippines under a cooperative agreement with the Partnership for Development Assistance in the Philippines (PDAP). The goal of the project is to strengthen local systems and partnerships for more effective and sustainable Counter Trafficking-In-Persons (CTIP) in the Philippines.
Founder and President
Centre for Women and Children Studies (CWCS) – Bangladesh
Ishrat Shamim's Bio
Prof. Ishrat Shamim has four decades of teaching experience on Gender and Development issues, as well as courses on human trafficking at the Department of Sociology, University of Dhaka. She is the Founder and President of the Centre for Women and Children Studies (CWCS) and has been an activist for upholding women’s and child rights. She has more than two decades of professional research experience in the field of gender and development and has more than 40 publications on gender violence, dowry, pro-women and child-friendly policing, international women labour migration, women in informal sector employment, domestic workers, feminization of poverty, violence against children, online child abuse, abandoned children, street children, child labour and child domestic workers including 20 exclusively on human trafficking at national and international levels.
Presently, she is a member of the GO-NGO Committee to Combat Human Trafficking under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Bangladesh. She actively took part in preparing the 3 National Plans of Action for Combating Human Trafficking 2012-2014, 2015-2017 and 2018-2022 initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs. She initiated the ongoing project on “Gateway to Employment and Economic Employment for Survivors of Trafficking” in 2011 in Satkhira district, which is a disaster-prone area as well vulnerable to trafficking for the advancement of women’s socio-economic empowerment through income-generating activities and job placement of survivors and potential victims in a garment factory at Dhaka.
Organizational Development Officer
Shanti Foundation – Nepal
Kranti Tamang's Bio
Kranti Tamang is a young social activist from Nepal who identifies as a second-generation human trafficking survivor passionately working for her community with the Shanti Foundation, a non-profit organization founded and operated by trafficking survivors and women living with HIV for other trafficking survivors and people
Kuldeep Singh Chauhan
Regional Manager for Asia
Free the Slaves – India
Kuldeep Singh Chauhan's Bio
Kuldeep Singh Chauhan is the Regional Director for Asia at Free the Slaves. Kuldeep has fifteen years of practical experience in community development and human rights. He has experience in training and capacity building in private sector supply chains, stakeholder relations, resource mobilization, and coalition building across Asia. As the Regional Director for Asia at Free the Slaves, he represents Free the Slaves in the region; provides ongoing technical assistance to partner organizations in strategic design, implementation, measurement, and reporting; and holds responsibility for the overall management of the regional program, strategy development, business development, and program oversight.
The Mekong Club – Hong Kong
Matthew Friedman's Bio
Matt Friedman is an international human trafficking expert with more than 30 years of experience. He is CEO of The Mekong Club, an organization of Hong Kong’s leading businesses that have joined forces to help end all forms of modern slavery. Mr. Friedman previously worked for USAID and the United Nations in over 30 countries. Mr. Friedman offers technical advice to numerous governments, banks, and corporations working to eliminate all forms of modern slavery and is the author of twelve books. In 2017, Mr. Friedman won Asia’s prestigious “Communicator of the Year” Gold Award.
Winrock International – Bangladesh
Nasir Chowdhury's Bio
Nasir Chowdhury has been serving Winrock International in Bangladesh as the Project Director of the B-PEMS AugroJatra Climate Change project, which works on the intersection of climate change and human trafficking. Earlier, he worked for the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) as their Country Manager in Bangladesh, where he monitored, reported on, and supported the implementation of GFEMS-funded projects. Before joining the GFEMS, he worked as an Advisor for Winrock International’s anti-trafficking project to ensure sustainable social
and economic reintegration of trafficking survivors. In addition to his experience and expertise in human rights, climate change, migration, and modern slavery, he also has the experience, through his previous jobs, in research, project, and syndication (structured) financing, green financing, corporate banking, risk management, skills development and employment, enterprise development and livelihoods, strategic partnership, and new business development. Nasir holds an MA in International Development from the School of International Service and a Graduate Certificate in Gender Analysis from the Department of Economics, American University, Washington D.C.
Senator and Chairperson
Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality – Philippines
Risa Hontiveros' Bio
Senator Risa Hontiveros is a health and women’s rights advocate, a proud activist, and a champion of the basic sectors. She is the Philippines’ first socialist woman Senator.
A multi-awarded public servant, community organizer, and broadcast journalist, Hontiveros served as the representative of Akbayan Partylist from 2004 to 2010. She was first elected to the Senate in 2016 and was later re-elected by voters to a new Senate term in 2022.
Hontiveros has personally championed 25 new landmark laws, including the historic Expanded Maternity Leave Law (RA 11210), which gives working moms 105 days of paid maternity leave, and the Mental Health Law (RA 11036), which provides the first legal framework over mental health care in the country.
As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, Hontiveros has successfully pushed into law the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act (RA 11861), which provides wider social benefits to solo parents, the Safe Spaces Act (RA 11313) which protects Filipinos – especially women – from gender-based harassment in public spaces, and the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children Law (RA 11930) which boosts government efforts to end online abuse and exploitation of Filipino children.
She is currently working to pass reforms such as the proposed Lingap Para Kay Lolo at Lola Act, which will establish a system of universal social pension for Pinoy senior citizens, and the Free Dialysis Act, which will mandate PhilHealth to provide free dialysis sessions to all senior citizens.
Ritz Lee B. Santos III
Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development (BALAOD) in Mindanaw – Philippines
Ritz Lee B. Santos III's Bio
Nolasco Ritz Lee III Bisual Santos or “Ritz Lee” is a social activist and human rights defender. He is currently the Executive Director of Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development in Mindanaw, Inc. (BALAOD Mindanaw), a legal resource institution based in Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanaw, working with the poor and marginalized sectors, identities, and local communities, particularly in Mindanaw. He became instrumental in the drafting and enactment of local policies favorable to local communities, particularly on the protection of the rights of women and children, fisheries, and on DRRM in Misamis Oriental and Dinagat Islands. The ordinances are currently being used as a guide and/or replicated by other local government units in the Philippines. He joined BALAOD Mindanaw in 2005 as a Policy Advocacy Officer 2005 after a four-year stint as Community Coordinator at Tanggol Kalikasan (Defense of Nature), a public interest environmental law group. He is the Vice-Chair of the Council and Convenor of the Gender Cluster of the Alternative Law Groups, Inc. (ALG), a coalition of eighteen (18) legal resource non-governmental organizations that adhere to the principles and values of human rights and alternative and developmental law. He currently leads the network in working on Reproductive Justice issues, particularly advocating the right to humane, non-judgmental, and compassionate postabortion care and the right to safe and legal abortion.
Ryan Joseph Figueiredo
Equal Asia Foundation – Thailand
Ryan Joseph Figueiredo's Bio
Ryan is the founder and executive director of Equal Asia Foundation – an incubator for inclusive LGBT projects that is disrupting the LGBT movement from within and encouraging it to find collaborative solutions to deep-seated social inequities. EAF’s work this year is focused on addressing the growing intergenerational gap in Asia, in particular reducing the social isolation of the elderly; preventing suicide and self-harm in the young; and mitigating the vulnerabilities of LGBT migrants and refugees affected by climate change, conflict and disaster. Ryan leads a team of change-makers from the non-profit, business and public sectors across borders to incubate and accelerate LGBT inclusion projects in Asia.
Shariful Islam Hasan
Head of Migration Program
BRAC – Bangladesh
Shariful Islam Hasan's Bio
Shariful Hasan is working as the Head of the Migration Programme at BRAC Bangladesh, the world’s largest Non-government Organization. Through rigorous advocacy, he is trying to ensure the rights of the migrant workers and their families, from grass root level to the policy level. His work area is also extended to combating human trafficking or modern-day slavery issues and ensuring dignified lives for all the survivors through emergency rescue support to sustainable reintegration. He is a member of the Labour Migration Sub Committee of the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment and also a member of the thematic group for Migration, Migrants workers Rights, and Anti Trafficking of the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh.
Shariful did his master’s in journalism, Media, and Communication from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Oslo University College, Norway. Before joining BRAC in 2017, he worked as a senior reporter for Prothom Alo, the highest-circulated daily newspaper in Bangladesh. He produced hundreds of investigative reports on different national and international issues on politics, education, women empowerment, migration, and trafficking from 2005 to 2017. He received Migration Media Award consecutively in the years 2015 and 2016 for his special reports.
Skilled in Communication and Journalism with diverse knowledge of Mass Media, social media, International relations, Development Communication, and Migration. Utilizing the knowledge and skills acquired to achieve a better Bangladesh and the world.
Twitter handle of Shariful Hasan: @hasan06du
Sumitha Shaanthinnni Kishna
Our Journey – Malaysia
Sumitha Shaanthinnni Kishna's Bio
Sumitha Shaanthinnni Kishna is an advocate, solicitor, and proprietor of the Chambers of Sumitha. She holds an LLB (Hons) from the University of East London and was called to the Malaysian Bar in 2005. She is a qualified mediator and is on the mediators’ panel of the Bar
Council Malaysian Mediation Centre. She is the Director of Our Journey, a civil society organisation for experts on migration issues to advocate for government and private stakeholders to develop a supportive migration system for noncitizens incorporated with international standards and norms.
Sumitha serves in many national, regional and international groups/coalitions/networks to advocate for the protection and rights of migrants, domestic workers, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, trafficked persons, and foreign spouses, as well as foreign nationals on death row.
Lawyer – India
Temsukumla Pongener's Bio
Temsukumla Pongener is a lawyer practising at Delhi and a Legal Retainer for (IJM), Delhi. She has completed her BA and an LLB from Delhi University and Diploma in International Law & Diplomacy from ISIL, Delhi.
She advocates for individuals and families victimized by the bonded labour system. Her experience cuts across a number of social development areas, such as bonded labour, child labour, child protection, human trafficking, and policy development. She is also a trainer and conducts training for the Police, Public Prosecutors, Officials from the Labour Department, DA, State Legal Services Authorities, NGOs et al., on laws and procedures of bonded labour, child labour and labour trafficking and has trained more than 5000 officials.
Prior to working with IJM, Ms Pongener worked mostly in Delhi High Court with the Standing Counsel Govt. of National Capital Territory, Standing Counsel for Municipal Corporation of Delhi & Delhi Development Authority representing and defending the Delhi govt. on Writs, Contempt and Appeal matters. She had also worked with a Criminal law firm on various criminal matters representing clients before the Supreme Court, High Court, and District Courts of Delhi.
Tran Thi Hong
National Project Officer
International Organization for Migration – Vietnam
Tran Thi Hong's Bio
Tran Thi Hong currently works as the coordinator for the largest trafficking program in Viet Nam titled Tackling Modern Slavery in Viet Nam, for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). She is also the Secretariat to the Viet Nam Counter Trafficking Network, which includes UN agencies, NGOs, institutions members, and Embassies as observers.
Hong has been a migration practitioner with nine years of experience working in international organizations and NGOs, including IOM (more than five years), the European Parliament, Hagar International, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. She holds a master’s degree in Cultures and Development Studies from the University of Leuven, Belgium.
The Freedom Story – Thailand
Veerawit Tianchainan's Bio
Veerawit Tianchainan is the Executive Director of The Freedom Story, guiding the organization’s work in Thailand. He is a human rights advocate who has about 20 years of experience working in various roles in Thailand and on the international stage i.e. UN High Commission for Refugees, Country Director of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and Founder and Executive Director of Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation. He also served on regional and national advisory boards of networks focused on migration and human rights, as well as alliances on child’s rights and counter trafficking in persons. With his business background, he brings business and management perspectives to the works of Not-for-Profit organizations, along with his keen interest in the latest Information Technologies. He frequently speaks at national, regional, and international fora as well as is interviewed by international and national media on the human rights situation of refugees, stateless persons, and survivors of human trafficking, and supporting campaigns to end child detention.
Centre for Responsible Business – India
Vivek Singh's Bio
A passionate sustainability practitioner who has assisted more than 187 multinational organizations in integrating sustainability into their processes and practices. He is an expert in developing solutions to complex ESG challenges organizations face in a constantly changing market environment. He has developed ESG frameworks, standards, and value chain solutions, enabling industries to prevent ESG risks and meet their UN SDG goals. A member of the Georgian government invited him to serve as an advisor to support technology innovation in the country. In this capacity, he had the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs from Georgia and India. He brings a unique perspective to enterprise sustainability due to his extensive experience working in the private and development sectors. Living and working in cross-cultural teams enabled him to understand better the impact that societies have on one another and the ecosystem. As a result of this diversity, he has developed not only a global business outlook but also a global outlook on life. His ability to recognize minor problems enabled him to prevent significant problems from occurring. These experiences and skills have allowed him to simplify complex issues without dumbing them down. This perspective, in conjunction with the analytical and quantitative skills acquired in his MBA, gives him the ability to be an exceptional leader.
Vivian Anthony Isaac
My Choices Foundation – India
Vivian Anthony Isaac's Bio
Vivian Anthony Isaac has over 38 years of experience in community programs, developmental communication, organizational leadership, project management, strategic media planning, and fund-raising gathered through working across various humanitarian organizations at the national and global level – human, child, and sex trafficking, medical missions, disaster relief, microenterprise, and safe drinking water.
Currently, he serves as a Programme Director for the anti-trafficking wing of My Choices Foundation, Operation Red Alert, and works to prevent child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children through community engagement. Vivian is a firm believer and advocates for partnerships, and Operation Red alert’s entire focus is on building a network of organizations that support each other and strengthen each other, to be able to strengthen the communities that we live in. He has built a partnership base of over 100+ NGOs spread across ten states in India, creating awareness about trafficking.