Ms. Nadia Murad Basee Tahaappointed as Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking

Nadia                 Ms Murad, a 23 year-old Yazidi woman and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who survived trafficking at the hands of ISIL, briefed the UN Security Council in the first-ever session on human trafficking, which was held during the presidency of the United States on December 16. 2016. She described being rounded up with fellow Yazidis in Iraq in 2014, and witnessing as ISIL fighters shot men and boys in cold blood. She was subject to grave abuses at the hands of ISIL fighters, and bought and sold various times.

A relentless advocate for victims, Ms. Murad was recently named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2016.” She has met with various heads of state and global leaders to raise the plight of Yazidi victims of trafficking. Her appointment as UN Goodwill Ambassador will mark the first time that a survivor of atrocities is given this distinction. During her Ambassadorship, Nadia will focus on advocacy initiatives and raising awareness around the plight of millions of victims of trafficking in persons, especially refugees, women, and girls.

The appointment ceremony will take place on September 16th, 3.00 – 4.00 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Process for the new UN Secretary General is ongoing …

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will complete his second term in December 2016.  The process for a new UN Secretary General is ongoing.  Felix Dodd in his blog has accounts of two straw votes that have been taken in the UN Security Council.  First Straw Vote and Second Straw Vote   You can see here the dominant role of countries with veto vote in the Security Council!

There is a vibrant campaign to elect a woman  UN Secretary General – Read more here with a reflection on the position from the women’s perspective.

For background and the list of candidates CLICK HERE

‘Prostitution affects all of us, not just those in it.’

The title of this post comes from the last summary point of a well research and informative article by Melissa Farley entitled ‘Very inconvenient truths: sex buyers, sexual coercion, and prostitution-harm-denial.’  The article has a number of headings addressing the various issues that arise when we talk about decriminalizing prostitution and addressing DEMAND which drives prostitution.  Taking a holistic approach realizing that prostitution affects all of us and not just those in it is worth considering.

There is another summary point ‘at the root of prostitution, just like other coercive systems, are dehumanization, objectification, sexism, racism, misogyny, lack of empathy/pathological entitlement (pimps and johns), domination, exploitation, and a level of chronic exposure to violence and degradation that destroys the personality and the spirit.’  All of these systems are root causes of the persistence of violence against women.  Prostitution is one of these violences.

Another comment that you may wish to explore and determine how to answer is ‘Prostitution cannot be made safe by legalizing or decriminalizing it. Prostitution needs to be completely abolished.’    Read the full article here

Global Sisters Report – July 29th


stop-human-trafficking-word-cloud-related-words-sign-38417317Catholic sisters among those embracing international efforts against Human Trafficking writes Chris Herlinger, a reporter for Global Sisters who attended the July 13th ‘side event’ at the United Nations.

‘Mercy Sr. Angela Reed, who represents the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy International Association at the U.N. has conducted extensive research on the issue of sex trafficking in the Philippines and her native Australia.

“There is no quick fix or grand solution for eliminating the exploitation and commodification of people,” she said, stressing that the problem has its roots in poverty and related issues.’   Read the full article here

More views on the experience of the High Level Political Forum

Some more interesting reflections are being published on the High Level Political Forum.  I am sharing two here – one a reflection by religious at the United Nations Global Sisters Report  and the second an interesting blog posting from Saferworld ‘Crowding out accountability: The follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda’



July 30 – World Day against Trafficking in Persons

In 2013 the United Nations General Assembly designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. This was an action taken following review of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Person adopted in 2010.  The Global Plan of Action is scheduled to be reviewed in 2017.  Will we see political will  and action commensurate with ‘the bold and transformative steps …needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path’ when member states ‘pledged that no one will be left behind.’  2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Targets within Goal 5, 16 and 8 address human trafficking.

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro,the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children in Geneva on June 30, 2015 said “Today, we should look at trafficking as an economic and social issue, linked with global trends including migration. Therefore prevention is key.  …in the current situation, people fleeing persecution, war or other emergencies are amongst the most vulnerable, often exposed to the risk of trafficking, including children traveling alone, women and girls who are raped during the journey and exploited in prostitution at destination, men, women and children obliged to accept inhuman working conditions to survive.”

The Special Rapporteur ended her address with the following “Trafficking takes place because enormous economic interests lie behind exploitation of the global poor. However, this can be stopped, if people of good will – both powerful people and simple citizens – feel that trafficking is morally and socially unacceptable, and take action against exploitation, injustice, and human rights violations.”

On 13 July 2016 during the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See, in cooperation with the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, the Salesian Missions, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and ECPAT-USA organized a panel on Eliminating the Trafficking of Children and Youth   See the July 13 Poster Eliminating Child Trafficking   Angela Reed, Mercy Sister was one of the panelists proposing a human rights based life-course approach to end human trafficking.

un-Ihaveavoice-cover-300px-212x300     World Day Against H T


“A child of God, sold on the market as a goat, I will never accept that!” St Mary Euphrasia.

This month the prayer is on the theme of Human Trafficking and available in three languages  English  French  Spanish

The Spirituality Center has distributed a reflection paper on the occasion of the 220th year of the birth of St Mary Euphrasia.  Check HERE as a way of integrating justice peace, ministry and spirituality.

Good Shepherd HT


Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016

Winifred DThe High Level Political Forum ended on July 21st.  It was a hectic eight days of reports, presentations, round tables, side events etc.  To see some pictures with summary highlights Click here   The national voluntary reviews of 22 countries was a central piece.  You can check the WEBSITE  for the reports and the UN Webcast has video of the presentations. Most countries choose to present as groups Session 1  Mexico, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Switzerland and Montenegro on the morning of July 19th   Session 2  Norway, Madagascar, Georgia and Turkey Session 3 Finland, Samoa, Uganda and Germany.   On July 20th  Session 4 Togo, Estonia and the Philippine and later the same morning Session 5 where 6 countries choose to present individual reports – Colombia, Egypt, France, China, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Korea.

Major Groups and other Stakeholders were active throughout – making statements and asking questions where possible.  Two different organizations had prepared reports from the  perspective of Civil Society. Together 2030 is one such group.  Good Shepherd groups from some countries contributed to this report.   Another group that was launched towards the end of the HLPF was Action for Sustainable Development  Reports are available on each country and some representatives from the countries were present. See my TWITTER account for comment and photographs.

The most interesting of the national voluntary reports was the one from Finland  and the most interesting side event was Grass Roots–Caritas–CAFOD Side Event July 13 which demonstrated ‘Leaving No One Behind’ in action and the principles of the work are outlined in a booklet  (not on line yet but when it is I will post the link)NGO CSoc D

Facebook did a nice little video of the event

The conclusion of the HLPF can be viewed HERE with the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration.  Overall, the HLPF did not address the root causes of why people are excluded, left behind.  The proceedings failed to address structural and systemic issues, there was not a strong emphasis on ‘gender equality’ and the means of implementation is dependent on the ‘private sector’ with much talk that economic growth will ensure development.  I was startled when Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called on member states to ratify the Paris Agreement  saying: “In April, 178 countries signed the Paris Agreement at the UN Headquarters, and 19 countries have so far ratified. But these 19 countries accounted for less than 1 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Ban encouraged at least 40 countries who committed that they will ratify this Paris Agreement before the end of this year, including the United States, China, Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, and Argentina.” Read more  So what is the real commitment to the Paris Agreement of December 2015  if only 19 countries have ratified.  Check here to see the names of the 19 countries  They are the islands who are slowly disappearing because of sea levels rising and they have not contributed to the problem.  Are the small island states being left behind?  Is the situation any different for people living in poverty or for women and girls?  

This increasing number of murders of Women Human Rights Defenders was a cause of concern to women’s groups.  Gloria Capitan, Anti-Coal Activist