World Student Christian Federation - Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP)
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Regional Programme

Regional Women’s Program 2002

Women Empowerment for Transformation:
Trafficking of Women in Northeast Asia

March 1 to 9, 2002
Taiwan

The Programme

The Regional Women’s Program, “Women Empowerment for Transformation: Trafficking of Women in Northeast Asia” was held in Taipei, Taiwan on 1-9 March 2002. There were altogether 13 participants from the Northeast Asia movements of Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan. The aims of this programme were to:

  1. enable the participants to cultivate critical social analysis on this issue
  2. equip the participants with skills that will enable them to carry out contextual, social and organisational critiquing and campaigning against trafficking of women
  3. to assist and support young women in SCMs in formulating national women’s programmes and campaign plans for advocating against trafficking of women

Based on these aims, the sessions that were planned for this programme include Social Analysis on Trafficking of Women, Skills Training on Monitoring, Campaigning and Advocacy work, and Bible Study on issues of struggles and injustices experienced by women. An exposure was also included in this learning process.

Exposure

The three exposure places visited by the participants were:

  1. End Child Prostitution, End Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT-Taiwan).
    ECPAT-Taiwan has its concern on children or women age under 18 who are trafficked into the sex trade. The organisation provides a monitoring system of teenage pornography and sex tourism as well as an outreach programme to foreign young women who are suspected of being forced into the sex trade.
  2. The Garden of Hope Foundation.
    This organisation provides care and services to women who are sexually abused, exploited and experiencing violence in any form. There are various centres that provide services such as medical treatment, legal aid, counselling, and social adjustment programmes.
  3. Collective of Sex Workers and Supports (COSWAS).
    COSWAS was formed by supporters of sex-workers’ rights and those who are concerned with policies for the sex industry. The organisation promotes awareness and education on AIDS-related issues and its prevention as well as on Safe Sex and Working Rights for Sex Workers. As much as it is advocating the working rights for voluntary sex workers, it is also advocating much against Trafficking and Sex Slavery. The participants had a lively and engaging exchange regarding the conflicting issue of sex workers’ rights and the elimination of sexual exploitation on women.

Bible Study

There were two Bible Studies facilitated by Dr. Rev. Wu Fu-Ya, a church minister in Tainan (Southern part of Taiwan) and a friend and supporter of Taiwan SCM. Rev. Wu critiqued on the patriarchal system that is prevalent in the Bible. Patriarchy is to be understood as a basic principle underlying not only the subordination of women to men but also of one race to another, of colonies to master nations, of children to adults, of nations to divine right monarchy and of believers to clergy. She expressed that the Bible contains many references where women had been the victims of Biblical patriarchy. However, there are still many women who stood defiant of the exploitative system and had the courage to challenge patriarchy. Rev. Wu demonstrated two stories which detailed the patriarchal system in the Bible and its effects on women. The first Bible Study covered the story of Queen Vashti in the Book of Esther, who said “no” to her domineering husband but this brought the disposal of her crown and title as the husband, the King feared there would be women following up the act and ridicule their husbands. The second Bible Study covered the atrocities done to a woman who was deemed the least important being who could be easily sacrificed for the sake of her husband in Judges 19-21. This story depicted the violence and exploitation done to a woman who was seen to carry no value of human dignity.

Social Analysis

This session was facilitated by Assistant Professor Hsia Hsiao-Chuan, lecturer at the Graduate Institute of Social Transformation Studies in Shih Hsin University. In her presentation, “trafficking of women” has been a major concern for many women’s and human rights groups and the issues of women being lured and forced are their primary focus. However, it is implied that if the women give their consent then it is not, or at least, less problematic. Assistant Prof. Hsia demonstrated that women from the less developed countries move, with their consent or not, to more developed countries in order to survive, and the issues should be understood in a broader context of capital internationalisation. She further demonstrated that in this context of capital internationalisation, isolated feminism shall never succeed and international solidarity is necessary. Feminists with global vision should be critical of the capital internationalisation rather than follow the flow of neoliberalism.

Skills Training for Monitoring, Campaigning and Advocacy Work

This session was facilitated by Ms. Chi Hui-Juan, Chief Executive Office of the Garden of Hope Foundation. The session saw a demonstration of various forms of skills tailored for the different groups of people (government, legislators, business-people, media, non-government organisations and ordinary people) to achieve the best results in terms of doing monitoring, campaigning and advocacy work against trafficking of women. The different strategies include: Economic Strategy, Political/Legal Strategy, Educational Strategy, and Social Marketing Strategy. Each strategy was thoroughly discussed and debated. The participants were asked to design their own strategy to develop a campaign targeted at an allocated group of people. This exercise enabled the participants to brainstorm on the best strategy that could bring concrete results in their cause of advocacy. Hence the participants could learn and bring these lessons back to their own SCMs while doing monitoring, campaigning and advocacy work.

Plan of Action

Upon the end of this programme, the participants were asked to draw up their own plans of action to be carried out in their own SCMs. They could make suggestions to the RWP in order to enable them to carry out their plans. The following are their plans of action:

For SCM

For WSCF AP