President's Corner

Zonta International adds trafficking in persons to the 2017 advocacy campaign to end violence against women

24 November 2017

Zonta International adds trafficking in persons to the 2017 advocacy campaign to end violence against women

In the four years she was held captive and forced to work as a prostitute, Karla Jacinto estimates she was raped more than 43,000 times. She said it would begin at 10 a.m. and lasted until midnight.

“I had to close my eyes so that that I wouldn’t see what they were doing to me, so that I wouldn’t feel anything,” Jacinto told CNN.

Her story is not uncommon. According to the 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 72 percent of female trafficking victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Trafficking is one example of violence against women. But there are many more.  At least one out of every three women worldwide has experienced some form of violence during her lifetime. We in Zonta International do not accept this, and are working to eradicate violence against women locally and internationally.

Tomorrow begins the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which runs through 10 December. During this time, all Zonta clubs and districts are encouraged to take part in the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign. New and ongoing efforts will be featured on the Zonta Says NO campaign webpage and official social media pages.

For the 2017 campaign, we are giving clubs the options to combat violence with the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention (Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence) as the centerpiece or  to focus specifically on human trafficking, a grave national and transnational human right’s violation, by using the CoE Anti-Trafficking Convention (Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings).

Violence against women is not just a women’s issue. It is a worldwide pandemic that crosses every social and economic class, every religion, race and ethnicity.

Internationally, we partner and support service projects with UNFPA to end early marriages in Niger and with UN Women to stop trafficking and unsafe migration of women and girls in Nepal.

We do it also through our advocacy by utilizing our consultative and participatory status at the United Nations and Council of Europe and through the many advocacy initiatives at the club level, emphasizing the need to ratify CEDAW and the Istanbul Convention. Many steps have been taken and many successes achieved, but there is still much to do.

Thank you, in advance, for supporting this year’s Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women awareness campaign.



Susanne von Bassewitz is the 2018-2020 President of Zonta International and the Zonta International Foundation.

»Read her biography.