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Beyond rescuing young victims of human trafficking: International Justice Mission Apart from all the legal and investigative work
it does, IJM’s Manila office also collaborates with two local social enterprise groups to help survivors through skills training and eventual employment in their respective initiatives. Both organisations compliment IJM’s pre- and postrescue legal work by integrating these young adults back to a functioning society; training them in from as basic as office administration and management to as complex as accounting.
An IJM social worker prepares a client before a court hearing
The Paper Project, a social enterprise producing hand-made greeting cards and other paperbased products for export to the United States, has employed over 20 survivors of human trafficking, mostly females. Meanwhile, Liberty Street Clothing, a local manufacturer of business clothing line, also employs some of IJM’s clients. One of the many red-light districts in Manila that IJM and local police have put undersurveilance.
Mission, a global human rights agency that rescues victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression, not only investigates cases for litigation but also provides aftercare to victims. IJM works to ensure greater and more sustainable transformation of public justice systems by collaborating with government and law enforcement agencies to comprehensively bolster systems against sex trafficking and
child sexual abuse. For instance, it trains law enforcement units in handling and responding to instances of trafficking. Prior to the rescue, IJM investigators assist local and national law enforcement units in gathering and documenting evidence of trafficking and sexual exploitation. A majority of the survivors, now aged 1735, came from the provinces when they were rescued. IJM-Manila attorney Lawrence Aritao points out that they were even younger when rescued and put to shelters pending their court cases and trials. “It can be a heavy and long process, and takes the toll on the emotional health of our clients,” he says. From the rescue operation itself to eventual re-integration to normal living and working conditions, the process could take three years or longer.
Tanya Aritao, Director for Social Partnerships of the Paper Project, says that their staff that were among those that IJM had rescued, are all not necessarily educated or trained, hence “we also have to start with teaching them the work ethics and the discipline. In the process we also teach them a sense of dedication to improve, first, their personal outlook of their jobs and, equally important, quality control of the products they make.” Re-integration does not stop at employment. While working with groups like the Paper Project and Liberty, IJM continues to provide the survivors continual counselling with its social
After the rescue operations, IJM then activates its lawyers to represent clients in court proceedings; and collaborates with public prosecutors and local authorities to secure convictions against perpetrators. While proceedings can take some time, IJM’s social workers and partners in the government provide shelter centres to counsel and house the victims An IJM lawyer and social worker exit the courtroom with An MPD police training IJM facilitated on trafficking in and survivors. young clients after a successful conviction in a case against persons investigations.
Members of DOLE and IJM at the closing of an illegal establishment
workers. This ensures the survivors’ rehabilitative process is not strained by the occasional workrelated stresses that may trigger the trauma from their previous ordeals. Joe Lacanilao, President of Liberty, speaks highly of their full-time staff’s drive to acquire even more skills other than what they have been taught at the onset. “We work with our manufacturers and suppliers to train our staff and teach them the processes and technicalities of the job; so eventually, when they return to us, they can cascade their learnings to their peers,” Lacanilao says. But while not exclusive to survivors IJM has rescued, both Paper Project and Liberty also take [survivors] referred by the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) and other social workers coordinating with NGOs with the same mission: to keep children and women from being trafficked in the country and in the region, or beyond. With IJM rigorously working to convict traffickers and aiding national authorities put a curb on slavery, prostitution and child abuse, its initiatives compliment local policing authorities’ works to ensure that the public justice systems —the police, courts and laws—are able to effectively protect the poor. ■
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UNICEF calls for end on child malnutrition Feeding the poor in a rich city Stunting, defined as children aged 0-59 months with a height-for-age below the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards, reflects chronic undernutrition during the most crucial periods of growth and development in early life. A stunted child enters adulthood with a greater chance of developing obesity and chronic diseases. An estimated 80 per cent of the world’s 165 million stunted children live in only 14 countries mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Such disproportion indicates the issue is closely tied to equitable and sustainable poverty reduction. “The most significant way to deal with the problem is to intervene early on in life; during pregnancy and the child’s first two years. With undernutrition closely linked to progress towards poverty reduction, people should be placed on the right track in life to be able to tackle stunting and poverty,” said UNICEF Chief of Nutrition Werner Schultink of the report.
the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months; ensuring the child is immunised and has clean drinking water; and knows simple disease prevention measures such as hand-washing with soap. There has been an increase of interest in nutrition globally. Due to recurrent food shortages and rising food prices, investments in nutrition are viewed as key development priority to benefit global welfare. For G8 countries they have put nutrition high on its development agenda, while the UN SecretaryGeneral’s Zero Hunger Challenge includes the elimination of stunting as a goal.
The global nutrition community is also united in support of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, which backs nationally driven processes to reduce stunting and other forms of malnutrition. Countries like Ethiopia, Nepal and Peru have so far been successful in their respective programmes, and UNICEF has called on stronger collaborations The report also notes that in reducing stunting and involvement of stakeholders—NGOs, and other forms of undernutrition, one governments, the private sector and civil key aspect in this fight is education. Good society—to push for a similar success across nutrition cannot be established by food alone. Asia and Africa. (UNICEF) It also involves educating mothers about
On some days, bakeries close shop with hundreds of unsold rolls and face with the predicament to clear their shelves for the next morning’s delivery. Feeding Hong Kong, a non-profit organisation set up in 2009, make sure that food—still good for consumption— do not end up in rubbish bins and, instead, are pooled to be donated to people in need of something to eat. FHK now distributes more than 15,000 meals per month through 39 partner NGOs to shelters for the homeless, refugee centres, migrant workers’ groups, senior citizen centres, orphanages and other similar nonprofit programmes that have a similar thrust. Surprising as this may sound, but there are many such groups in Hong Kong, too. For a highly developed and urbanised cosmopolitan hub like Hong Kong it is generally unexpected to paint this picture of a faction of the population. “Our scope of work covers four groups: underprivileged families who cannot afford high-quality, nutritious food; charities who benefit from regular deliveries of food, allowing them to cut costs while serving
more beneficiaries; food companies who, through our collaboration with them, are able to attain sustainable ways to redirect their food surplus; and finally, the Hong Kong community as a whole by making the best use of ecological and sustainable ways to ensure that food is not wasted,” said Gabrielle Kristein, FHK’s executive director. With a mission to fight hunger in Hong Kong, FHK’s thrust is to raise awareness on poverty, food insecurity and food waste in the city; promoting nutritional education to Hong Kong’s vulnerable groups. Every day, its staff and volunteers collect surplus edible and nutritious food from shops, producers and distributors and deliver them to their partner charities. In turn they collaborate in distributing their bounty to grassroots feeding programmes. FHK is accredited with the Global Food Banking Network, an international organisation whose thrust is to create and strengthen national food banks and networks. To make your donation or know more about how to collaborate with Feeding Hong Kong or its partners, visit www.feedinghk.org. ■
The 2nd Issue of AsianNGO magazine focuses on Youth in Social Initiatives & Vietnam's current state of development.