When I founded Trust Women in 2012, my aim was to shed light on women’s rights issues that were largely under-reported. I wanted to create a forum that not only debated the complexity of these topics, but also took concrete action to deliver real change. Among these issues, was modern-day slavery.
In the past five years, our impact has been growing fast. Participating organisations, delegates and partners tripled, making the event the world’s leading forum on anti-slavery and trafficking and one of the most sought after event on women’s rights. In 2016, our fifth conference reached over 41 million people on social media, and through a strategic partnership with YouTube, we brought these very important issues to a younger generation. In a bold move to accelerate supply-chain transparency, we launched the first Stop Slavery Award that honours the corporations that really try hard to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains.
Our focus has also broadened to reflect other human rights issues such as migration and de-radicalisation, and has led us to explore how women break taboos across many different cultures and societies.
As we’ve grown, we have listened to all of you, and realised that together we have created a movement that goes way beyond just women’s rights. It’s about men, women and children’s rights. And it’s, more than ever, about taking action.
I have therefore decided that Trust Women will become Trust Conference, putting the rule of law behind human rights. The new name simply reflects what has already happened in the past few years and you can be assured that it will not change anything about the spirit of the conference.
Women’s rights and slavery will continue to remain at our core and we will go on giving a voice to the voiceless.
Trust Conference will continue to take place in London every winter. And we will go on doing smaller satellite conferences, as we did in Asia, to take the Trust Conference experience around the world. This year it is in Washington D.C on 25 April.
We still have a long way to go until we eradicate slavery and solve some of the world’s most pressing human rights issues. It has never been more important to unite behind these common goals. Without men’s participation, women’s rights cannot be achieved. Without the will of corporations to take action, forced labour will continue to flourish. Without innovation, creativity and the hard work of those on the frontlines, change will not touch those in need.