After launching a global anti-trafficking human rights awareness campaign in 1998, WomenAid focus on combating trafficking of humans activities intensified and expanded. During seven years of raising awareness of human trafficking and campaigning for coordinated action and legislation, Pida Ripley developed international human rights awareness programmes, information networks, conferences and training courses in the Caucasus & UK.
Recognised as an expert Pida was invited to serve on the International Expert Group convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat to formulate the first Advisory Strategy on Human Trafficking for Commonwealth governments.
Be SAFE! Be SMART! 2000-2005
Pida Ripley’s pioneering work on the Stop Trafficking human rights campaign led to requests to implement multi-media anti-trafficking campaigns in the Caucasus.
The ‘Be Safe! Be Smart!' (2000) campaign was developed in a funded partnership with the International Organisation Migration (IOM) and government departments in Georgia. Pida designed and implemented ‘Be Safe! Be Smart!' - the first Georgian country-wide multimedia programme to increase awareness of the growing threat of trafficking of human beings to vulnerable citizens in the former Soviet states. Creating a network of over eighty relevant Georgian organisations, media and government ministries, the first stages of a new national policy emerged and subsequently legislative changes were implemented.
Partners: IOM, WAI, WAI-Caucasus, media, Public Defender,
Ministry of Education, government departments.
The success of the project led to the creation of a 5-year campaign on elimination of all forms of gender violence, developed within the framework of a coordinated widely based CAUCASUS 16 DAYS network. Three National Coordination Committees were established and more than 650 organisations across Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia participated in the high profile campaign.
“IOM has been cooperating over the last few years with WAI-C in the implementation of activities aimed at the combat and prevention of trafficking in persons in Georgia.IOM co-funded in 2000 WomenAid’s “BE SMART! BE SAFE!” preventative information campaign, which was successfully conducted and represented one of the first positive steps taken in the direction of reaching out to the population of Georgia to warn about the dangers of trafficking.
IOM has a positive opinion of the work of WAI-C that it conducts in the area of counter-trafficking.”
Marc Hulst, International Organisation Migration (IOM) Georgia 2003.
“We are very much impressed with the activities of WomenAid International undertaken in many areas of the world regarding gender violence and other urgent issues.
We are sure that the close collaborative relationship of the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation as the government agency and WomenAid International as the NGO partner will be strengthened as we work to combat trafficking in persons, especially in women and children.”
Otar Keinashvili, First Deputy
Minister of Refugees & Accommodation, Georgia
First UK International Conference on Trafficking of Human Beings 2002.
Following the increased awareness raised by the WomenAid Stop Trafficking human rights campaign launched in 1997 Pida created a UK Anti-Trafficking Network (UKAT) and organised the first UK based high profile international conference on trafficking of human beings (2002).
Keynote speakers included: The UN Rapporteur on Trafficking, Radhika Coomerswamy, and William Hughes, Director-General, Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Pida Ripley was joined by other speakers including senior police representatives, international experts and government ministers from Albania, Italy, Nigeria, ILO, IOM and UK.
Partners: Bloomberg London. Sponsored by WomenAid International.
“The UN’s code of conduct for peacekeepers is not enough. Awareness training for peacekeepers should be an integral part of their training before being deployed. It is essential that all UN forces are held to the same standards of international human rights law as are nation states - to do otherwise creates a climate of impunity in which offences proliferate”.
Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Rapporteur on Violence against Women, commenting on the increasing trafficking
of women for prostitution in areas where UN peacekeepers are stationed.
“On Monday this week I addressed a UK Anti-Trafficking Network conference, which was organised by WomenAid International. Organisations such as WomenAid International, Anti-Slavery and the Jubilee Campaign are to be congratulated on the work that they have undertaken in drawing our attention to this most pressing and growing issue.”
Lord Alton of Liverpool, Parliamentary Debate, (Motion: Trafficking Children) House of Lords 13.03.2002.
During seven years of raising awareness of human trafficking and campaigning for coordinated action and legislation, Pida Ripley developed international multimedia awareness programmes, information networks, conferences and training courses in the Caucasus & UK.
Report of Expert Group on Strategies for Combating the Trafficking of Women & Children.
Recognised as an expert on trafficking of human beings, Pida Ripley was invited to serve as a member of The Commonwealth International Expert Group convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Other members were drawn from commonwealth countries and brought to London so the specially convened group could prepare an Advisory Report on Strategies to Combat Trafficking of Women and Children for Commonwealth governments.
The final Commonwealth Secretariat Report was published 2003.
Report of the Expert Group on Strategies for Combating Trafficking of women and children. . https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=0850927234.
The UK Anti-Trafficking Network (UKAT) - Working Together to Stop Trafficking
All of us – young and old, rich and poor, governments and civil society alike – must take action to stop trafficking. The global community has becoming increasingly aware that trafficking of persons is the fastest growing and third largest criminal activity in the world.
By organising conferences, meetings, seminars, attended by senior UK police officers and staff, providing media information documents, the UK Anti-Trafficking network (UKAT) provided documents, information and promoted awareness of the issue to members of the government. media and NGOs.
Acting once again as a catalyst for action, WomenAid International and its partner WomenAid International-Caucasus urged governments to develop a legislative framework and appropriate assistance programmes for those who had been trafficked.
The anti-trafficking activities of the UN, EC and Stability Pact were also given high visibility by WomenAid.
“I am most impressed about your energetic engagement to address human trafficking in the UK and your commitment to enhance necessary counter-measures, in particular victim protection and assistance. I strongly support your endeavours and agree victim assistance programs need to be institutionalised within a respective legal framework.”
Dr Helga Konrad, Chair of Stability Pact Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings. Vienna 11 June 2002
“The Committee is aware of your important human rights work and would be most grateful if you could send us a short written submission on the Annual Report, commenting on the report itself and the FCO’s efforts to promote human rights …”
K Downey, Specialist, Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Commons. 19.12 2003
Georgian National Police Academy: Training Programme
Other anti-trafficking projects included initiating governmental policy development by provision of Understanding Gender Violence training (UGV) to high-ranking foreign government officials and cadets of the Georgian National Police Academy, as well as key officials drawn from all sectors of civil society in the Caucasus region.
Major-General Givi Lobjanidze, Georgia’s most senior policeman, historian and Director of Georgian National Police Academy presenting WomenAid Founder, Pida Ripley, a history of the Academy containing acknowledgement of the contribution to the Academy made by WomenAid International.
“The events carried out by your organization change significantly the life of IDP population relieving their psychosocial difficulties. Especially important for them is the information provided through your programmes on HIV/Aids, stopping violence against women and children and preventing the global spread of trafficking. Availing myself of this opportunity to express respect for your work and understanding, I thank you on behalf of IDP population and myself.”
D Khorava, First Minister of Labour, Health & Social Affairs of Abkhaz Autonomous Republic 2005
First UAE Celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD)
In 2004 Pida Ripley personally funded and initiated the first celebration of International Women’s Day in Dubai, with a conference ‘The World of Women in the 21st Century.’ with a focus on the increasing global trafficking of humans.
Al Jazeera, UAE, arranged a regional TV link-up for Pida to discuss progress of women’s rights with human rights activist Asma Jahangir in Pakistan.
As this was the first International Women's Day Event in the United Arab Emirates, it created a lot of publicity. Read more:
This was repeated with another Dubai IWD conference in 2005 attended by former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto.