After weeks of preparation, our participation at the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) and the NGO CSW Forum, which ran from March 13-24, was a success. Our accepted CSW61 written statement is archived as an official document. Mariana Vanin, our new communications manager, delivered an oral intervention before the session’s delegates. She called on Member States to fulfill their commitments under international law to tackle trafficking in women and girls, and the exploitation of prostitution, especially by targeting demand. In keeping with the CSW 61 theme of women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, she also urged governments to ensure that the commercial sex trade is never included as labor in any national plans for the economic empowerment of women and as a means of economic opportunity.
Our staff attended multiple parallel events, at both the UN and NGO CSW Forum, to discuss a broad range of issues related to women’s economic empowerment, violence against women and gender inequality with colleagues from around the world. Our executive director, Taina Bien-Aimé, moderated an important conversation on “The Impact of Decriminalized Pimping on Black and Indigenous Communities” with survivor leaders from SPACE International. Additionally, with a number of international partners, CATW co-hosted an event at the French Consulate in New York that brought together abolitionist leaders and Laurence Rossignol, the French minister of families, childhood and women’s rights, to discuss the 2016 French prostitution law.
Our March 15 event, “Wanted: Economic Empowerment, Not the Sex Trade. Women From the Global South and Indigenous Communities Speak Out” drew an enthusiastic audience. Moderated by our executive director, the outstanding panel of speakers focused on how the sex trade is antithetical to the definition of dignified work and economic empowerment, as well as how it erodes the fundamental rights of dignity and equality for women and girls.