More than 50 leaders from Christian organizations across Asia met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to develop a coordinated response to child sexual abuse and child trafficking. Participants at this first Asia Consultation of Viva Network's Asha Forum committed to focus their work on educating churches and the public about child sexual exploitation, meeting the needs of survivors, and developing strategies for international advocacy.
There are as many as 800,000 child prostitutes in Thailand alone, according to recent studies, and prostitution for some children begins as early as age 6. "Now is the time for us to step beyond our fragmented efforts," Michael McGill, founder of the Asha Forum, told Sojourners, "and by the grace of God begin to turn the tide against the growing epidemic of sexual exploitation that is ravaging our world." A follow-up consultation is planned for February 2005 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.