Highlights from the April 2017 UNANIMA Newsletter

Presentation of 2017 Woman of Courage Award at CSW Event

One of the highlights of CSW61 was an event co-sponsored by UNANIMA, the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, the Sisters of Mercy, the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, and the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking entitled Inherent Dignity, Real Choices. Before the panel discussion on the relationship between economic empowerment of women and human trafficking, UI Executive Director Jean Quinn had the opportunity to open the event with the presentation of our 2017 Woman of Courage Award to panelist Marietta Latonio. Jean commended Marietta for her relentless pursuit of justice for trafficked women in the streets of Cebu in the Philippines and acknowledged the personal sacrifice it required. A representative of the Filipino government and a friend of Marietta’s was also present to make remarks of admiration and gratitude for her contribution to the anti-trafficking effort in Cebu. As a panelist, Marietta spoke not only of the substance of her work as an officer at the Good Shepherd Welcome House for trafficking survivors in Cebu, but also of the challenge of balancing her trafficking interventions with her responsibilities as a mother and caregiver.

The panel was rounded out by Winifred Doherty, RGS (see article below) and Mariana Vanin of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, and it drew roaring applause from the audience. (Pictured, clockwise from top left: Angela Reed, RSM; Cecilia O’Dwyer, IBVM; Jean Quinn, DW; Marietta Latonio; Winifred Doherty, RGS; Mariana Vanin)

Spotlight on the 61st Commission on the Status of Women

The theme of this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) was “economic empowerment of women in the changing world of work.” UI Staff were joined by 11 delegates from our member congregations. Over the course of the two-week Commission, UNANIMA co-sponsored two side-events as an organization, supported two events as a member of the NGO Committee on Migration, and supported three more as a member of the NGO Mining Working Group. Executive Director Jean Quinn found that attending CSW61 offered her a fresh, global perspective on the gender-based obstacles women face to achieving financial independence or economic security. Here are a few of the powerful points she took away from her experience at the Commission:

As we know, the world of work has changed dramatically. Jobs are less likely to be life-long careers, technology has taken over in positive and challenging ways, and many people are creating their own businesses – but sadly the gender gap remains.

According to UN Women, 76.1% of working-age men are in the work force, but only 49.6% of working-age women are. 61.5% of women are engaged in the service sector and 25 percent in the agricultural sector, while just 13.5% work in industry. Globally, women make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men for work of equal value. Only 63 countries comply with the International Labor Organization’s minimum maternity leave standards, which recommend that mothers be granted at least 14 weeks of paid maternity leave. Only 67 countries have laws against gender discrimination in hiring practices. In 18 countries, husbands can prevent their wives from working.

Women and girls typically spend more than double the time spent by men and boys on household responsibilities such as looking after siblings, older family members, caring for the sick, and managing the household.

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Church in Bangladesh, India in anti-trafficking partnership

Two Catholic agencies to share information in order to stop exploitation

Human Rights Protection Association of Women stage a demonstration against Child trafficking in Kolkata in March 2017. Church organizations from India and Bangladesh have joined forces to try and stem the tide of trafficked women from Bangladesh. (Photo by IANS)

May 2, 2017

Church workers in India and Bangladesh have resolved to join forces to check human trafficking as reports say thousands of women and children are trafficked from Bangladesh to India.

A six-member team from Caritas Bangladesh had a discussion with Chetnalaya, the social service wing of Delhi Archdiocese on April 25-27 about how to stop the exploitation of domestic workers that is a main cause of trafficking.

The team led by Jyoti Gomes, regional director of Caritas Bangladesh met officials from the Domestic Workers’ Forum of Chetnalaya that advocates for workers’ rights and rescues trafficked girls from Delhi and neighboring areas.

Since 2015, the forum has rescued 89 girls.

“We wanted to know how the Domestic Workers’ Forum carries out their advocacy, lobbying and networking to address these issues,” Gomes said, adding that there are organizations in Bangladesh carrying out the same work but are not as effective.

Gomes said the condition of domestic workers in Bangladesh and India are equally dire as they are denied basic facilities and exploited at every level.

“Girls are mostly picked up for trafficking from poverty-stricken northern Bangladesh,” Gomes said, adding that they are also trafficked by different agents and sometimes by relatives across the border into India.

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At Security Council, UN officials urge governments to implement rules on prosecuting traffickers

Originally published by the  UN News Centre

15 March 2017 – Human trafficking thrives in countries where the rule of law is weak or non-existent, top United Nations officials today told the Security Council, calling on Governments to make better use of the tools created under the UN flag to stop the victimization of men, women and children.

“At a time of divisions in so many areas, this should be an issue that can unite us,”  Secretary-General António Guterres  told the 15-member Council, stressing that “slavery is not a thing of the past.”

“Let us come together around the key issues of prosecution, protection and prevention, and thereby build a future without human trafficking,” he added.

The Secretary-General outlined a number of UN tools that exist which can be used to punish human trafficking, and to prevent it in the first place. Among them is the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol, which includes the first internationally agreed definition of the crime of trafficking in persons and provides a framework to effectively prevent and combat it.

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World Day of Prayer and Reflection Against Trafficking Commemorated in Rome

From the newsletter of Talitha Kum in Rome:

 

Website: Updating and upgrading of the website www.a-light-against-human-trafficking.info now opened with a new domain www.preghieracontrotratta.org. The new site, in the following languages: Italian, Spanish, English, French and Portuguese, offers all the texts and the materials prepared for the World Day of Prayer and Reflection Against Trafficking in 2017.

Analysis of the site gave the following results: A little less than 5,000 people in 112 countries visited the site. English was the most commonly used language, followed by Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French. 54.15% were male, 45.85% female, while 62% were between 18 and 34 years.
Click here

Facebook and Twitter The group responsible for the communication of the World Day of Prayer Against Trafficking opened a specific site on facebook and twitter, to promote diffusion of material and to give the day greater exposure on social media. Social media were used almost exclusively in Italian language and were followed by 230 people while they were visited by approximately one thousand people.
Facebook
Twitter

Prayer: The text for the Prayer Vigil was prepared in English and translated in the four other languages of the website. The final version was widely circulated in the month of December 2016.

Information materials: We prepared a video clip in five languages and an audio clip for the radio in four languages as well as posters, in five languages, advertising the events of the day.

Testimonies in different languages: Stories of boys and girls, now in protected shelters who are victims of trafficking, have been collected and received from the following countries: Australia, the Philippines, India, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Slovakia, Lithuania, Italy, Colombia and Bolivia. All stories were collected and received as a result of the commitment and collaboration of the Talitha Kum networks. They have been translated and made available on the website. Some, one for each continent, have been re-written by Gianpaolo Trevisi, writer and police officer, author of Fogli di Via. He turned them into stories, in words that touch the depths of our being and allow us to approach, without losing hope, the drama of these children and adolescents: clic here

Written Communication Materials: These were three- the first press release on November 22, 2016, to present the theme of the World Day of Prayer and Reflection Against Trafficking, the second on January 8 for launching the website and the prayer text , and the final one for thepress conference. Translations were prepared in 5 languages and spread through social media, press and radio

The Press Conference: This took place at “Sala dell’Associazione Stampa Estera”on 1st. February 2017 at 11.00 . The following participated – Sister Carmen Sammut, President UISG, Sr. Gabriella Bottani, CMS, coordinator of the Day, Sr. Rosalia Caserta, FDP, USMI Catania, Director of a Centre for Adolescent Victims of Trafficking, Iana Matei, Romania and Reaching Out, Gianpaolo Trevisi, Director of Peschiera Police School and writer.

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New Global Report on Trafficking in Persons

From UNANIMA International:

As we turned our calendar pages to a new year, the UN was rolling out a new global Report on Trafficking in Persons. The report identifies patterns among trafficking and regular migration flows with a common destination country. It also describes trafficking trends within countries, between neighboring States, and across regions. Among the report’s key findings are that 71% of trafficking victims are women or girls, one third of victims are children, and risk factors for being trafficked include the presence of transnational organized crime in one’s country of origin as well as one’s socio-economic status. An English version of the full report can be found here along with executive summaries available in all six UN languages.

Click here to read UNANIMA’s February newsletter

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Talitha Kum Japan Newsletter

TK Japan have released their latest newsletter, featuring an introduction to the Japan chapter of Talitha Kum, a report on their activities for the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Trafficking, and more! Click here to read it.

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Working for Justice for Abused Children

Seeking justice against the abusers is an important factor in the healing process

Working for justice for abused children

As many as 70 percent of children abused in their own homes end up in red light districts in the province of Zambales. (Photo by Vincent Go)

She was a very traumatized and broken 15-year-old child. She was raped and abused by her own father until she was rescued by social workers. Gina could have ended up as a human trafficking victim.

As many as 70 percent of children who have been abused in their own homes and end up on the streets are picked up by pimps and traffickers and sold into sex bars.

But Gina was saved before that happened.

The weeks before June 2007, her own father raped her repeatedly. Her mother left Gina and her two siblings with the unemployed father while she worked as a domestic worker in the city.

This is the situation of many families when mothers work away from home. The children are left unprotected and vulnerable.

Gina was welcomed in her new home, the Preda Home for abused children. There, she was given affirmation and support and was helped to feel safe and secure.

The young girl underwent emotional expression therapy over several months and brought out all her anger and pain. She had extensive counseling. She gave her life testimony and joined in group activities.

At Preda, the children undergo values training, children’s rights education, art, sports, discussions, and outings. These are all part of the center’s human development program.

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Petition to End Slavery in the Commonwealth

From Walk Free:

This January, we have a unique opportunity to engage Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth to end modern slavery. We need your help to demonstrate how important it is that these politicians act.

Sign our petition calling on the Commonwealth to commit to ending modern slavery.

The Commonwealth is an inter-governmental organisation of 52 countries around the world and is home to a third of the world’s population.[1] According to the Global Slavery Index, a staggering 55% of those currently enslaved reside in Commonwealth countries, including India, which has the world’s largest concentration of slavery.[2] This means that the Commonwealth is in a unique position to help significantly reduce slavery in the world.

Call on the Commonwealth to make ending modern slavery a priority.

Here is how we’re going to do it: A Commonwealth conference will be taking place in London on 25 January for Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth to learn about implementing human rights policies and tools in their home countries. Our partner, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, will be co-hosting this event, offering a brilliant chance for us to share our campaigning calling for a commitment to tackle modern slavery with a wide range of politicians. This will be the first time tackling modern slavery has been discussed in a formal Commonwealth setting.

The more signatures we can collect, the bigger the impact our campaign will have with these politicians.

Over 25,000 people have signed our petition already. Will you help us reach our target to get 5,000 more signatures by signing too?

In hope,

Zoe, Joanna, Vittorio and all at Walk Free and CHRI UK

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