During her trip to Ethiopia last week, Vice President and Director of Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, Judy M. Miller visited ECPAT affiliate group, Forum for Sustainable Child Empowerment (FSCE) and seven survivors of child sexual exploitation. “It was inspiring to see young women who are re-building their lives, becoming more comfortable and confident that they have a future,” Ms. Miller commented. “It is critical for children who have gone through such trauma to be able to have a support system and feel that they belong.”
Ms. Miller was in Addis Ababa to announce that ECPAT International, the global network to stop the commercial sexual exploitation of children, won the 2013 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian prize of $1.5 million. This is the 18th year for the Hilton Prize given by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to an organization that is significantly alleviating human suffering.
Of her original site visit to the ECPAT International Secretariat based in Bangkok, Ms. Miller explains, “I was impressed by the importance of the issue and the work that needed to be done.” She commends ECPAT for its past successes in changing law enforcements procedures and legislation and influencing governments all over the world. She also praised the community of NGOs that ECPAT has built in the last 20 years and the Secretariat’s ability to support the network working on this issue, helping them build their own capacities and bringing a unified voice to this global issue.
Ms. Miller lauds the approach ECPAT has been taking in order to implement major changes and believes it sets an example for other organisations. She said, “ECPAT is taking the lead in an area that is often missing in other NGO work, mobilising a worldwide effort to get governments to change laws and enforce laws and to educate and involve the private sector.”
ECPAT passed through an extensive and rigorous process of selection for the Hilton Prize. The final selection was made by a distinguished Jury with a broad range of humanitarian experience. The Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize is considered the world’s largest and most prestigious humanitarian award and this is largely a result of Ms. Miller’s persistence and the jurors who believe in the importance of spotlighting NGOs making significant changes in the lives of vulnerable people. She notes, “We have been able to tap into a group of leaders who are among the most influential in the humanitarian world.”
When asked why she does what she does, Ms. Miller explains that loves her job because, beyond meeting interesting people, “it is fulfilling to see that there are organisations that are doing the right thing and changing lives despite the scale of the problems in the world.” Over a communications and marketing career spanning four decades, Ms. Miller has led campaigns in advertising, public relations, politics, and government affairs for corporations, foundations and government agencies. In 1975, she became the first woman executive in major Japanese corporation, Suntory. In 1981, she was the first woman hired to work for the Ministry of Information for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This work led to an assignment from the King Faisal Foundation International to handle its prizes presented annually in Riyadh.
ECPAT International is thrilled to receive the support of Ms. Miller and the Jury and appreciates their belief in the important work that the ECPAT Network has accomplished over the last 20 years. This encouragement will help ECPAT face the enormous challenges that lay ahead as the global network continues to fight for children everywhere to be free of commercial sexual exploitation.