Ms. Theresa Symons, Regional Manager of the Asia Pacific Mission Development Office attended the ICMC Asia-Oceania Conference held recently.
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International Catholic Migration Commission - ICMC
2 December at 18:05 ·
Addressing and countering human trafficking is an essential part of the Good Shepherd Sisters’ mission. They are active in 19 countries in the Asia-Oceania region, which are home to some 2.5 billion people. For over 80% of the population of those countries, the GDP per capita is under USD 5,000.
The Sisters have identified human trafficking as one of the most pressing problems today. “We see a world permeated by God’s love,” says regional manager Ms. Theresa Symons, “where justice and human rights support the dignity of every girl, woman and child.” Ms. Symons is participating at the 2-3 December meeting of the ICMC Asia-Oceania working group in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Good Shepherd Sisters, an implementing partner of ICMC Malaysia, try to bring about change by putting into practice protection activities such as safe shelters, where they apply a survivor-centered approach. They also help with the repatriation of survivors.
In terms of prevention, the Good Shepherd Sisters develop community-based programs in many countries. They train “protectors” among community members and educate people about safe migration and the risks of trafficking in persons. Given that poverty is a significant push factor, they also offer vocational and skills training among other projects seeking economic justice.
In some countries, the Sisters provide legal assistance to survivors of trafficking and legal training to law enforcement agencies, judges and government officials. They engage with other organizations in advocacy “to change policies that exclude and systems that dehumanize,” Ms. Symons says. Of late, the Sisters realize that collaboration with the private sector is important to achieve fairer labor practices.
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