U.S. Department of State
Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman
Asian Regional Initiative Against Trafficking in Women and Children (ARIAT)
The United States and the Philippines will co-host the Asian Regional Initiative Against Trafficking in Women and Children (ARIAT) meeting from March 29-31 in Manila.
Delegates from more than 20 Asia-Pacific nations are expected to send government and non-government organization representatives to attend the meeting. Representatives from multilateral organizations will also take part.
ARIAT seeks to address the problems of trafficking in human beings. Trafficking in human beings--predominantly women and children--is a form of modern-day slavery and one of the most egregious human rights violations of our time. In the Asian region alone, it is estimated that as many as 250,000 human beings are bought and sold each year.
The ARIAT meeting will include practical workshops on prevention, protection and enforcement, prosecution, and reintegration. The goal of the meeting is to develop a comprehensive and implementable regional action plan and project proposals to combat trafficking within and from Asia.
The co-chairs of the U.S. delegation are Anita L. Botti, Deputy Director of the President's Interagency Council on Women, and Ralph L. Boyce, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
The U.S. will sponsor a one-hour Worldnet satellite videoconference during the opening day's program. Ms. Theresa Loar, Director of the President's Interagency Council on Women, and a panel of experts in Washington will share expertise and discuss the nature of the trafficking problem with a panel of experts at the ARIAT meeting.; Philippine Under Secretary for International Economic Relations Rosario G. Manalo will head the Worldnet panel in Manila, which will also include representatives from Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific.
[end of document]