Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Commitment
From 21 to 27 October 2016, 51 participants from 18 countries in Asia Pacific gathered at Maryridge, Tagaytay, Philippines, for a capacity building workshop on Anti Trafficking. While a smaller workshop had been held in 2011, since then almost all the countries of Asia Pacific where Good Shepherd is present, had become engaged directly or indirectly in anti trafficking work. The Asia Pacific Circle of Unit Leaders (APC) requested the workshop which was organised by the Asia Pacific Justice and Peace Core Team. The work began in late 2015 with a survey sent to all units, aimed at gathering information on the possible needs and areas requiring support and assistance.
The Core Team worked with Sr. Clare Nolan, who facilitated the workshop, and Ms. Theresa Symons from the Asia Pacific Mission Development Office.
In bringing together representatives engaged in anti trafficking work the aims were to listen and learn from each other, encourage sharing of resources and work more effectively together. As a result a network was born!
The first part of the workshop focused on the “Four P’s” of anti trafficking:
Protection, Prosecution, Prevention and Partnership.
Speakers were drawn from across Asia Pacific which led to understanding the breadth of experience within our region: Ms Marietta Latonio of the Philippines, works with Good Shepherd Welcome House for trafficked women in Cebu, and has co written a book on the women’s experiences shared from her experiences on protection; Ms Willa Mowe of Malaysia, works with migrant and trafficked women, and spoke about prosecution and the issues involved in making sure the women are safe; Mr Bimol Bhetwal of Nepal spoke about prevention and emphasised the importance of a multi- pronged strategy of education and prevention; Ms. Theresa Symons spoke about partnership and the importance of Good Shepherd partnerships and also our partnerships with other like minded NGOs.
In the second part of the workshop, the participants gathered gained a regional overview of Trafficking in Asia Pacific and the importance of the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) of the US State Department. Input was presented by Clare Nolan and Theresa Symons. Participants were invited to become familiar with their country’s section of the TIP Report and this was a valuable exercise in understanding how governments respond and the importance of NGO input to the report.
One way of more effectively advocating for trafficked people, and lobbying for their rights is to have clear and effective documentation of their stories. Ms Kathy Landvogt, Head of the Women’s Research, Advocacy and Policy Centre (WRAP) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, gave input on the importance of good practices for documentation, and what structures, policies and procedures facilitate effective documentation and advocacy.
On the second to last day, Clare Nolan led the group in a session called “Moving to Action”. Each unit worked on developing an Action Plan to take back to their unit that would use a human rights based approach to anti trafficking work.
As the workshop drew to a close, Clare led a session on “Visioning: An Anti Trafficking Network for Asia Pacific”. Working in small groups discussions, the participants identified a clear “vision” for the work of anti trafficking in their units, and in Asia Pacific. At the closing ritual, a participant from each unit read out the “Vision Statement”. A new network to combat trafficking in women and children was born! While the network is new and will take time to grow, the commitment to communicate and collaborate was strong and energetic!