2024 Asia Regional Freedom from Slavery Forum

The 2024 Asia Regional Freedom from Slavery Forum, scheduled for August 6th, 7th, and 8th will center around the theme “Empower, Expose, Eradicate: Uniting Against Modern Slavery and Exploitation in Asia.” This theme encapsulates a comprehensive approach to addressing the complex issue of modern slavery, including human trafficking, forced labor, and other forms of exploitation. The forum will focus on three key pillars: Empower, Expose, and Eradicate.

The Empower pillar emphasizes equipping individuals and communities with the knowledge, tools, and resources necessary to resist and overcome exploitation. This includes providing education and awareness about rights and risks, creating economic opportunities through vocational training and microfinance initiatives, ensuring legal empowerment with access to legal aid and advocacy for stronger frameworks, and offering mental and emotional support for survivors.

The Expose pillar involves shedding light on modern slavery by conducting thorough research, utilizing media to highlight personal stories, advocating for transparency in supply chains, and pressuring governments for accountability.

The Eradicate pillar aims to eliminate all forms of modern slavery through strengthening legislation, promoting international collaboration, engaging local communities, and focusing on long-term rehabilitation for survivors.

The forum will bring together stakeholders from various sectors—governments, NGOs, businesses, academia, and civil society—to create a cohesive and strategic response to modern slavery. By encouraging multi-stakeholder engagement, policy advocacy, resource mobilization, and the establishment of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, the forum aims to address immediate challenges and build a foundation for sustained and systemic change in the fight against modern slavery and exploitation in Asia.

Theme:

Empower, Expose, Eradicate: Uniting Against Modern Slavery and Exploitation in Asia.

Daily Focus and Anticipated Outcomes

Day One: Focus

EMPOWER

Empowerment lies at the heart of sustainable change. This pillar focuses on equipping individuals and communities with the knowledge, tools, and resources necessary to resist and overcome exploitation.

Day Two: Focus

EXPOSE

Exposure involves shedding light on the hidden and often overlooked issue of modern slavery. This entails uncovering and publicizing the extent and nature of the problem to mobilize action and resources.

Day Three: Focus

ERADICATE

Eradication is the ultimate goal of this collective effort, aiming to eliminate all forms of modern slavery and exploitation.

Why attend?

Harness the Power of Knowledge and Resources: Attend the Asia Freedom from Slavery Forum 2024 and gain insights from leading experts. Learn about innovative educational programs, economic initiatives, and legal frameworks that can empower vulnerable communities to resist and overcome exploitation.

Illuminate Hidden Injustices: Engage with impactful stories and cutting-edge research that expose the true extent of modern slavery. Discover how transparency in supply chains and government accountability can drive meaningful change and mobilize action and resources to combat exploitation.

Foster Collaboration and Drive Systemic Change: Connect with a diverse network of stakeholders including governments, NGOs, businesses, academia, and civil society. Participate in collaborative discussions and working groups to share strategies, resources, and best practices. Together, we can strengthen legislation, promote international cooperation, and support long-term rehabilitation for survivors, building a united front against modern slavery and exploitation in Asia.

Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in a comprehensive and unified approach to ending modern slavery. Your participation is crucial in addressing immediate challenges and creating sustainable, systemic change.

Register now and be a catalyst for empowerment, exposure, and eradication.

 Tuesday, August, 6th

*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

Day 1: Empower

  • Education and Awareness:Providing education to vulnerable populations about their rights and the risks of exploitation. This includes community outreach programs, school curricula, and public awareness campaigns.
  • Economic Empowerment:Creating economic opportunities and support systems for at-risk communities. This can include vocational training, microfinance initiatives, and partnerships with businesses to ensure fair labor practices.
  • Legal Empowerment:Ensuring access to legal aid and support for victims of modern slavery. Advocacy for stronger legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms is crucial to protect and empower survivors.

12:50-1:00 pm – The Forum will open 10 minutes in advance 

1:00-1:10 pm – Welcome and Opening Remarks

Provide an overview of the forum’s history and objectives, the significance of the theme, and outline the agenda for the three days.

Session 1: Education and Awareness

1:10 – 1:50 pm – Panel Discussion: Educational Strategies to Combat Modern Slavery

Discussion on various educational initiatives aimed at raising awareness about modern slavery, including community outreach, school programs, and public awareness campaigns. Highlight successful examples and best practices.

1:50 – 2:00 PM: Q&A Session

Session 2: Economic and Legal Empowerment

2:00 – 2:35 pm : Workshop: Building Economic Resilience in Vulnerable Communities

This workshop will explore strategies for creating economic opportunities for vulnerable populations. Discuss microfinance initiatives, vocational training programs, and partnerships that help build financial independence and reduce exploitation risks.

2:35 – 2:50 pm: Case Study Presentation: Successful Legal Interventions in Asia

This session will explore strategies for creating economic opportunities for vulnerable populations. Discuss microfinance initiatives, vocational training programs, and partnerships that help build financial independence and reduce exploitation risks.

2:50 – 3:00 PM: Q&A Session

Session 3: Empowering Survivors and Workers

3:00 – 3:35 pm: Workshop: Survivors Leading Anti-Trafficking Efforts

This workshop will discuss the crucial role of survivors and workers in leading anti-trafficking initiatives. Share personal experiences, challenges, and successes in advocacy and community mobilization.

3:35-3:50 pm –Presentation: Legal Support for Survivors

3:50-4:00 pm – Closing Remarks and Summary of Day 1

This session will summarize the key points discussed throughout the day, reinforcing the importance of empowerment in combating modern slavery. Provide an overview of the next day’s agenda.

 Wednesday, August, 7th

*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

Day 2: Expose

  • Research and Data Collection: Conducting thorough research to map the prevalence and patterns of modern slavery in Asia. Accurate data is essential for developing targeted interventions.
  • Media and Storytelling: Utilizing media platforms to highlight personal stories and the human impact of modern slavery. This can be achieved through documentaries, social media campaigns, and investigative journalism.
  • Transparency in Supply Chains: Advocating for corporate responsibility and transparency in supply chains to ensure that products are not produced through exploitative practices. This involves pushing for stricter reporting requirements and consumer awareness initiatives.
  • Government Accountability:Pressuring governments to recognize and address modern slavery through policy changes and international cooperation.

12:50-1:00 pm – The Forum will open 10 minutes in advance 

1:00-1:10 pm – Welcome and Opening Remarks

Session 1: Research and Data Collection

1:10-1:50 pm – Workshop: Current Trends and Data on Modern Slavery in Asia

This workshop will provide an analysis of current trends and data related to modern slavery in Asia. Discuss recent findings, patterns, and implications for policy and intervention.

1:50-2:00 pm – Q&A Session

Session 2: Case Studies and Storytelling

2:00-2:35 pm – Case Study Presentation: Exposing Pastor Quiboloy’s Trafficking Business and the Siargao Island case, Philippines

This session will present the case of Pastor Quiboloy and Siargao Island Cult case and how the exploitation and trafficking practices were exposed. Discuss the role of Senator Risa Hontiveros’ office in uncovering and addressing these crimes.

2:35-2:50 pm – Presentation: Cyber Slavery: The Dark Side of Digital Platforms

Presentation on the growing issue of cyber slavery, where individuals are exploited through digital platforms. Highlight the challenges and potential solutions to this emerging threat.

2:50-3:00 pm – Q&A

Session 3: Transparency and Accountability

3:00 – 3:35 pm – Panel Discussion: Promoting responsible behavior in global supply chains and amplifying worker voices

This panel will explore strategies for promoting transparency and accountability in supply chains. Discuss methods to ensure that products are not produced through exploitative practices.

3:35 – 3:50 pm: Presentation: Promoting CSO capacities to provide data for human rights due diligence initiatives in supply chains

Speakers will present the project case on the importance of accurate and reliable data in identifying and mitigating human rights risks in supply chains. Strategies for building CSO capacities to gather, analyze, and report data effectively. Challenges faced by CSOs in this area and potential solutions to overcome these obstacles.

3:50 – 4:20 pm: Building a Movement Narrative

Over a year ago, Free the Slaves initiated the development of an updated narrative for the anti-human trafficking movement. Supported by Dr. Brook Bello, this effort aims to co-create a narrative that reflects the current realities of modern slavery, including human trafficking, forced labor, and child labor, and addresses the increased complexity of these issues. This process is integrated into the 2024-2025 Freedom from Slavery Forum series, where participants will discuss and co-create the narrative, leading to its final presentation at the 2025 Global Freedom from Slavery Forum. The purpose of this initiative is to create a unified narrative for the anti-modern slavery movement.

 Thursday, August, 8th

*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

Day 3: Eradicate

  • Strengthening Legislation:Advocating for comprehensive and enforceable laws against modern slavery and ensuring their effective implementation. This includes harsher penalties for traffickers and protections for victims.
  • International Collaboration:Promoting cross-border cooperation to tackle trafficking networks that operate transnationally. Sharing best practices, resources, and intelligence can significantly enhance efforts.
  • Community Mobilization:Engaging local communities in the fight against slavery by fostering a culture of vigilance and action. Grassroots movements and local NGOs play a critical role in this.

12:50-1:00 pm – The Forum will open 10 minutes in advance 

1:00-1:10 pm – Recap of Day 2 and Introduction to Day 3

Session 1: Strengthening Legislation

1:10-1:50 pm – Panel Discussion: Legislative Frameworks for Eradicating Modern Slavery

Discuss the development and implementation of legislative frameworks aimed at eradicating modern slavery. Highlight successful examples and identify gaps and challenges.

1:50 – 2:00 pm: Q&A Session

Session 2: International Collaboration

2:00-2:35 pm – Workshop: Cross-Border Cooperation and Networking Strategies

Explore strategies for enhancing cross-border cooperation to combat human trafficking. Discuss successful international collaborations and identify best practices.

Session 2: International Collaboration  

2:35-:2:50 pm Case Study Presentation: Successful International Interventions on Modern Slavery

Present a case study of a successful international intervention against modern slavery. Highlight the strategies used, challenges faced, and outcomes achieved.

2:50-3:00 pm – Q&A Session

Session 3: Community Mobilization and Long-term Rehabilitation

3:00-3:40 pm –Interactive session: Engaging Communities in Anti-Slavery Efforts

Discuss the role of community mobilization in combating modern slavery. Share experiences and strategies for engaging local communities in anti-slavery efforts.

3:40-3:50 pm – Presentation: Rebuilding Life After Exploitation- Long-term Support for Survivors

3:50 – 4:00 pm – Closing Remarks and Summary of Day 3

2024 Asia Regional Forum Planning Committee

Dr Bhanuja Sharan Lal

Dr Bhanuja Sharan Lal

Executive Director, Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan (MSEMVS) 

Bio

In 1996, Bhanuja joined MSEMVS as an intern after completing ‘Masters in Social Work’, he was involved in women empowerment programmes in rural areas affected from human trafficking and labour exploitation. Bhanuja became the Director of MSEMVS in 2003 and he is responsible for leading more than 200 frontline community workers in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. Bhanuja and his team have enabled communities to progressively dismantle entrenched systems of bonded labour at brick kilns, farms, rugs and quarries, etc. in Northern states in India. Bhanuja was awarded “TIP Hero 2014” by the US Department of State for his tremendous work addressing Human Trafficking. While directing MSEMVS, Bhanuja completed his Ph.D. on the issue of Child Trafficking along with Graduation in Law with Labour Laws.

Ms Kranti Tamang

Ms Kranti Tamang

Country Director, Hagar International in Vietnam 

Bio

With over 25 years of experience in international development, Giang Thi Thu Thuy has collaborated extensively with government agencies, mass organizations, and non-profit groups. Her multifaceted expertise spans small business development, early childhood care and education, nutrition, water and sanitation, livelihoods, disaster risk reduction, community capacity building, and combating violence against children and human trafficking. Before joining Hagar International, Thuy spent 18 years at World Vision Vietnam, where she was driven by a deep passion for uplifting underprivileged women and children. Holding a Master of Business Administration from Southern Luzon State University and a Master’s in Psychology from the University of Social and Humanity Sciences, Thuy is keenly interested in applying trauma-informed, psychological approaches to development work. Her educational background also includes Bachelor’s degrees in Foreign Languages and Sociology.

Kranti Tamang

Kranti Tamang

Shanti Foundation

Bio

Ms. Kranti Tamang is a young activist currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Social Work. Ms. Tamang is the daughter of a victim of sex trafficking living with HIV; in 1996, her mother, along with five hundred girls and women, were rescued from an Indian brothel. Both Ms. Tamang and her mother have transformed their trauma into a commitment to work on the issue of Trafficking in Persons. Ms. Tamang works to draw attention to the needs of many women who lack the education, confidence, and technical competencies necessary to avoid or overcome victimization. Ms. Kranti Tamang is the Organization Development Officer with the Shanti Foundation, an organization led by trafficking survivors living with HIV. She is also a 2024 participant in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) with the U.S. Department of State, focusing on combating trafficking in persons. 

Md. Shariful Islam Hasan

Md. Shariful Islam Hasan

Associate Director, Migration Programme and Youth Platform, BRAC

Bio

Shariful has 20 years of experience in the migration, reintegration, and anti-trafficking sector. He is the Head of the Migration Programme at BRAC, the world’s largest non-government organization. Through rigorous advocacy and evidence, he is trying to ensure the rights of migrant workers and their families from the grassroots to the policy level. Under his leadership, BRAC has developed a comprehensive reintegration model, which has supported nearly 35 thousand migrants and survivors. Before joining BRAC, he was a renowned journalist in Bangladesh and wrote a series of investigative reports on migration and trafficking. He is also a member of the thematic group for Migration, Migrants Workers’ Rights, and Anti-Trafficking of the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh. Shariful has completed his Masters in Journalism, Media, and Communication.

Nicholine Zaragosa

Nicholine Zaragosa

Voice of the Free (Buklod Laya – Survivor Network)

Bio

Nicholine Zaragosa, a former victim of child labor who has been profoundly transformed and empowered by the support of the Voice of the Free (VF) foundation.

Today, I am proud and truly blessed to give back by supporting other abused girls as their house sister in the same organization. As their sister and care provider, I am dedicated to providing not just care but compassion and love, ensuring that they feel a strong sense of belonging and empowerment in their battles.

I am also part of Buklod Laya, another initiative under VF. Its mission is to empower and  liberate survivors like me from oppression and abuse, to be free and to help free others.

Ritz Lee B. Santos III

Ritz Lee B. Santos III

Executive Director of BALAOD Mindanaw,

Bio

Nolasco Ritz Lee B. Santos III or “Ritzlee” is a social activist and human rights defender.  He is the Executive Director at Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development in Mindanaw, Inc. (BALAOD Mindanaw), a legal resource, human rights and feminist institution based in Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanao, working with the poor and marginalized sectors, identities and local communities particularly in Mindanaw.  After a three-year stint as member of the International Board of Amnesty International from 2019-2022, he was elected as Treasurer and Member of the Executive Committee (Board of Directors) of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) from 2022-present.  Since 2018, he has been the President and Chairman of Board of Trustees of Tanggol Kalikasan (Defense of Nature), a public interest environmental law group and currently the Vice-Chairperson of the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), a coalition of 20 legal resource organizations that adhere to the principles of developmental legal aid and Vice Chairperson of the NGOs for Fisheries Reform (NFR), a network of Philippine NGOs working on fisheries and aquatic resource management.

Rojisha Adhikari

Rojisha Adhikari

Treasurer, Shanti Foundation Survivor Network

Bio

Ms. Rojisha Adhikari is a resilient survivor who has become a powerful advocate for others facing similar challenges. As a Survivor Leader with the Shanti Foundation, she provides support and guidance to fellow survivors. Additionally, she serves as the Treasurer of the Bagmati Province Human Trafficking Survivor Network and leads critical interventions, significantly contributing to advocacy efforts with the government and the protection of trafficking survivors.

Organized by:

2024 Forum Sponsors