Ryan Smit is an attorney at law in South Africa. Since co-founding ‘Cause for Justice’, a human rights and public interest non-profit in 2013, he has been actively litigating and participating in the development of state policy and legislation in relation to the regulation of sexually explicit material. In addition to successfully overturning a decision by the National Broadcasting Authority to open the digital broadcasting space in South Africa to hard-core pornography, after a protracted court battle from 2013 to 2015, Cause for Justice has also been involved in developing state policy and enabling legislation to protect children from exposure to sexually explicit material.
Most recently, Ryan and his team successfully lobbied Parliament to not water down the definition of “obscenity” in South African law, after three years of non-stop advocacy, which concluded in March 2019.
He is currently studying towards a Ph.D., looking at constitutionally acceptable regulation of pornography distribution in South Africa in an era of complete media convergence.
Ryan also heads the development of a new initiative in South Africa, the Centre Against Sexual Exploitation, to address sexual exploitation through prevention and early intervention by way of a three-pronged strategy – “Educate, Empower, Eradicate” – and to serve as a legal, policy, advocacy, academic, and technical hub for the anti-exploitation movement in South Africa.
Ryan and his wife, Elze-Mari, welcomed their first-born daughter into their family in July 2018.
Agnes Martony is a Hungarian lawyer by profession. She is a Policy Adviser to the NGO ERGO that is dedicated to human rights for women, children and victims of crime, including human trafficking, domestic violence, and any other kind of abuse. She has been working with ERGO since 2010. In the past year ERGO was awarded the public service contract to run the National Helpline for Victims of Crime and to run three walk-in centers for victims of crime. Agnes’ work involves advising ERGO on the strategy for this contract and for organizing national and international conferences with government ministers and international policy-making agencies to support this work.
Chinyere Eyoh is the Founder/CEO of Sexual Offences Awareness & Response Initiative (SOAR), a non-profit she started in 2011 in her home country, Nigeria. The organisation provides prevention and survivor support solutions on child sexual abuse. In collaboration with traditional and community leaders, she leads efforts at SOAR in establishing and strengthening Child Protection Committees which respond to widespread sexual exploitation and abuse of children at grassroots levels. She also establishes safe spaces for adolescent girls in schools and communities to encourage confidential disclosures and build their capacity, including survivors, as peer educators against sexual violence. Just recently she began equally creating safe spaces for boys to address issues of sexual abuse of boys, as well as gender norms and stereotypes which encourage sexual violence against girls by boys and men.
Chinyere is a published author of “When Life Just Isn’t Fair,” a book chronicling her experiences as a survivor of child sexual abuse; “Bimbo’s Pain,” a sexual abuse awareness tool for children; and “Why Can’t I Stop,” which shows the truth about porn and how to break free for young people of faith. She gleans from her experiences as a survivor of sexual violence in passionately serving as a Mentor and Coach to countless teenagers, a role she has worked in for over 18 years.
Letitia Shelton lives in Toowoomba, Australia. She is the founder & CEO of a nonprofit called City Women, which works with hundreds of girls & women in her community. Two years ago she, along with her city’s Mayor, started a city-wide campaign, called A City Free from Porn. This is a grassroots campaign to raise awareness in her city on the harms of porn. Letitia & her team are working at a local government level, with school principals, businesses, and other community organizations to turn the tide on porn and its negative effects in her city.
Jason Pope has been working in mission support for families and children through The Salvation Army for the past 20 years and currently serves as the chairperson for the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking. Over the last six years he has worked as a Technical Advisor in Anti-human Trafficking at The Salvation Army World Service Office. His mission has been to support vulnerable children, women and families through community-based programming. He is currently finishing his second year as a Phd student in International Family and Community Studies. He also holds a Master of Arts in Theology and a Master of Public Policy with a focus in international development.
This presentation was given at the 2019 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Global Summit. endexploitationsummit.com/
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