Over 300 women's rights activists from around the world met in Bangladesh Wednesday for a three day conference addressing the sexual exploitation of women.
The conference was organized by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), an umbrella organization that represents 50 women's organizations worldwide. The organization's president, Philippine native Aurora Javate de Dios, addressed the conference, saying, "We have gathered here today to reaffirm the fundamental rights to be free from sexual exploitation in all its forms -- sexual harassment, rape, incest, wife abuse, pornography and prostitution."
Dios encouraged conference attendants to visualize a world in which women could live without fear of violence, and to make sure that others around them are continually reminded of the urgency of the problem.
Activist Sigma Huda of Bangladesh reported that 200,000 women and girls from her country had been smuggled into Pakistan to serve as prostitutes. Other countries including India, Thailand, and the Philippines, have anywhere from 300,000 to 2.8 million women and children prostitutes.