The Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Anti-Trafficking capacity-building workshop held in Tagaytay, Philippines, from 21-27 October 2016, has ‘given birth’ to a new network. All the participants from 18 countries across Asia Pacific committed to building a new network to combat the trafficking of women and girls. Also present at the workshop was Sr Zelna Oosthuizen from the Congregational Leadership Team.
The first days of the workshop focused on the Four P’s of anti-trafficking work: Protection, Prosecution, Prevention and Partnership. Input from speakers on the Four P’s, such as Ms Marietta Latonio of the Philippines, Ms Willa Mowe of Malaysia, Mr Bimol Betwal of Nepal and Ms Theresa Symons of the Good Shepherd Mission Development Office, Asia Pacific ensured that all participants received clear and current input and information.
After the free day, the participants engaged in a process with facilitator, Sr Clare Nolan of the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office (IJPO) in New York, to identify what was required for a network on Anti-Trafficking to begin in Asia Pacific. Clare led the group in a visioning exercise, where participants were encouraged to identify what they wanted to achieve. While each Unit presented a ‘vision’ they could aspire to within their units, overall the theme for the network began to emerge: “That no person is trafficked in Asia Pacific”.
Each Unit undertook to work towards an Action Plan. The following three aspects were highlighted as very important:
1. An overview of Human Trafficking in Asia Pacific. This session was ably led by Theresa Symons and included each Unit being familiar with the Trafficking in Persons Report (issued by the US State Department) for each country.
2. The need for good documentation of the work that each unit is doing regarding anti-trafficking. Ms Kathy Landvogt, Head of GSANZ’s Women’s Research, Advocacy and Policy Unit, gave input in the importance of documentation as good practice within each Unit.
3. Advocacy on behalf of trafficked people and the structures and documentation required to support this.
These Action Plans were unfinished because they needed the input of people involved back in the Units, but they were a good beginning. In the ritual of Missioning at the end of the workshop, a person from each Unit read out the statement that their Unit had committed to implementing.
While the Anti-Trafficking network is very new and will need to take baby steps for a while, it is now a reality, and each participant is committed to realising the vision. It is only in daring to articulate a vision that it is possible to develop an action plan that will set out the steps to realising the vision.
As the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Anti-Trafficking Network grows in confidence and strength, it will share more of what is happening to combat trafficking across Asia Pacific.
St. Mary Euphrasia
St. John Eudes, Letter to M.Simon Mannoury, April 7, 1648
Submitted by Sr Caroline Price