Macau is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China, the other being Hong Kong. Macau maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy. The territory's economy is heavily dependent on tourism and gambling. Some politicians and academics say most locals have yet to benefit from the economic boom which expansion of the gambling industry has brought.
Macau is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. A fifteen-year free education is offered to residents resulting in a literacy rate of above 99% in 15-29 year olds.
Equal opportunity legislation applicable to all public and private organizations mandates that women receive equal pay for equal work, prohibits discrimination based on sex or physical ability, and establishes penalties for employers who violate these guidelines.
Since Macau has an economy driven by tourism, there are many employment openings for young women within the tourism and gambling industries. While some of these positions provide dignified work and a career opportunity, many others are exploitative. Many young women from mainland China are brought to Macau by syndicates to work as prostitutes. Despite anti trafficking legislation, commercial sexual exploitation does take place in Macau.
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd were invited to Macau by Bishop Arquiminio da Costa in 1975 to carry out a service for teenagers similar to the work they were doing in Hong Kong. The first missionaries came from Vietnam after the fall of Saigon.
Today, the response of the sisters is carried out through:
Good Shepherd Centre, a shelter service for women in crisis who are often accompanied by their young children.
Good Shepherd Sisters’ Mutual Help Centre, a community based centre that offers a variety of “family enhancing” services to single parent families where the mother is the head of the household.
Community education about women’s issues including domestic violence, human trafficking and pro-life.
Developing response to under-age victims of human Trafficking.