The War Against Trafficking Alliance (WATA) was formed in 2001 by Shared Hope to coordinate efforts in targeted regions around the world. WATA’s approach is to create local and national alliances by bringing together groups in specific geographic areas, held together by a common commitment to seek strategies for intervention and restoration for victims of sex trafficking. In 2003, WATA held a World Summit, where representatives from over 114 nations gathered in Washington, DC to focus on comprehensive efforts to eradicate sex trafficking. The World Summit was followed by six “Next Steps” conferences held in the Dominican Republic, India, Indonesia, Moldova, Singapore and South Africa. These conferences set the stage for in-country and international child advocacy and sex trafficking experts to train government leaders in establishing and enforcing sex trafficking laws, and provided for the development of local strategies to wage war against trafficking.
Organizations who have been involved in WATA efforts home and abroad include:
- U.S. Department of Justice
- U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
- UNIFEM Singapore
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- American Embassy Chisinau
- Government of Batam
- Government of Moldova National Committee on Combating Human Trafficking
- The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa
- Yayasan Mitra Kesehatan dan Kemanusiaan (YMKK)
- The Protection Project of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
- International Justice Mission
- Center for Prevention of Trafficking in Women (CPTW)
- Alliance Against the Trafficking of Women, Teenagers and Children in the Dominican Republic
- Commission Against Abuse and Sexual Exploitation.
- Bombay Teen Challenge
- Ministry of Women Empowerment Republic of Indonesia
- International Catholic Migration Commission
- American Center for International Labor Solidarity
- Women Make A Difference (WMD)
- Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA)
The success of WATA led Shared Hope International to adapt this approach to the United States by spearheading the Mid-Term Review on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in America. This event brought together leaders from across the U.S. and Canada to document progress made in combating sexual slavery of children in America and Canada in preparation for the World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), a group of 170 member countries, including the United States, committed to advancing protections from CSEC. As a result of Shared Hope’s leadership, it was one of just a handful of non-governmental organizations invited to join the U.S. government delegation to the Third World Congress in Brazil in 2008.