Review of Good Shepherd Panel at CSW 59 Beijing+20

Flyer for panel event CSW 59 Version 3

On March 10, 2015 ‘Good Shepherd’ hosted a parallel event during CSW 59 – Beijing+20 entitled  “Advocacy and Networking Strategies for Legislative Reform: Ending Prostitution and Human Trafficking.”  The event shared a holistic approach to ending prostitution and human trafficking and shared successful strategies developed and engaged in by Ruhama, a Dublin (Ireland) based NGO which works on a national level with women affected by prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation.  Sarah Benson, CEO of Ruhama was the main panel presenter leading the discussion. The Minister of State with special responsibility for New Communities, Culture and Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin attended the event and spoke in a very sensitive way of his conviction of the need for gender equality and the human rights of girls and women. The Minister said  ‘the girls I taught in Lawrence O’Toole primary school in Sherrif Street, Dublin made me a feminist, and taught me gender equality’  When I heard this I tweeted the following “Minister par excellence for gender equality. Great sensitivity to girls.’ Diane Matte, founder of CLES (Coalition against sexual exploitation) endorsed all that was shared from the Canadian perspective. Ruhama and Minister                                                           Diane, Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Sarah.

Sarah referenced Executive Director of UN Women, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Kguka who at the NGOCSW Consultation day on March 8th said ‘while there had been some progress in the past 20 years, much of it was still WITHIN the patriarchal system. Rather than pushing for change within this system, we need to change the WHOLE PARADIGM.’  Sarah continued the commercial sex trade has to be one of the most perfect expressions of the patriarchal system – predicated as it is on the principle of male entitlement to the female body. Instead of accepting its inevitability and making efforts to simply effect change within the existing system we need to change the paradigm.  Otherwise, the ROOT CAUSES Dr Mlambo-Nguka mentioned in her speech, will never be addressed.

Change demands not just change to laws but also of change of attitudes, policies and services.  Focus needs to shift to the buyer and responses to those in prostitution need to be compassionate, supportive and resourced to support not only harm reduction work but also incorporate exiting and recovery.  What is needed is a broad holistic approach.

Taine Bien-Aime, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women noted the following points2015-03-10 10.15.30

  • ‘sex work’ is not work.
  • the need to invest in girls and women who exit prostitution and human trafficking
  • work with the United Nations –  reviewing language and enforcing a human rights framework
  • challenge masculinity

Diane noted that prostitution is something done to woman and is violence against women.  Prostitution is connected with racism and extreme poverty.  She called for exiting strategies and the putting of resources into organizations and services.

2015-03-10 09.31.24Winifred, Taina Bien-Aime, Sarah (at the back), Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin with participants.

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2015-03-10 11.07.00


The panel was skillfully moderated by our mission partner in New York, Nancy Fritsche Egan.  Their was some quality time for interaction of panelists and participants.

Speakers Bios are available here.


The Good Shepherd position paper on Prostitution of Women and Girls was distributed at the event. CLICK HERE to view.

More photographs

This event was one of several organized numerous organizations e.g. Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution International, (CAP);  European Women’s Lobby;  Apne Aap International; Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Space International, National Alliance of Women’s Organizations UK;  Women’s Front of Norway; and Foundation SCELLES; Swedish Women’s Lobby  to name a few. The message was strong and clear – prostitution is violence against women.

Speakers included Melissa Farley Ph.D. (USA);  Ingesborg Kraus PH.D (Germany); Rachel Moran, (Ireland) author, activist, and founding member of Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse calling for Enlightenment (SPACE International); Vednita Carter founder and Executive Director of Breaking Free (USA); Jean Enriquez, Executive Director, CATW-Asia Pacific; Esohe Aghatise, Consultant Trafficking Programmes Manager, Equality Now.

2015 – Celebrating 20 years after the 4th World Conference on Women – Beijing 1995

CSW 59 X 3

The Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission on the Status of Women (with the main focus on Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action), has been published in the 6 languages of the United Nations.  The following NGO’s at the UN supported the statement –  Dominican Leadership Conference, International Federation of Women in Legal Careers, International Federation of Women Lawyers, International Presentation Association of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Passionists International, Religious of the Sacred Heart Mary, Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries,  Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and UNANIMA International.

“Today, the various Good Shepherd grass-roots services work with women and girls in 72 countries who are constrained by situations that are the same, or often worse, than those that existed in 1995. Under the current model of economic globalization, women and girls who are living in extreme poverty and denied access to basic services are highly susceptible to forces of irregular migration, prostitution, and trafficking for sexual and /or labour exploitation.

“Prostitution is a violence of human rights and constitutes violence against the person prostituted.”

To read the Statement go to the link:

Good Shepherd organizes a parallel event during CSW 59 with the theme: “Advocacy and Networking Strategies for Legislative Reform: Ending Prostitution and Human Trafficking”

We are particularly happy that the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations supports the event and that Ireland’s Minister of State for Justice and Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin will be present.  He may not be able to stay for the whole event but we look forward to welcoming and hearing from him. See the flyer for information.

Flyer for panel event CSW 59 Version 3

Quote from our Statement to CSW 59: 

​”We applaud the Member States that have ratified and begun to adopt these international laws at the national level.

We acknowledge and appreciate the many regional mechanisms and agreements that are in place.  But only when each country has integrated the international laws into national laws and collaborates across borders to ensure the human rights of every person will change be seen.

We acknowledge and appreciate the work and achievements of Sweden, Norway, and more recently France, Canada and Northern Ireland in addressing the human rights violations caused by prostitution.  Using a legislative basis, they have criminalized not only traffickers, but also the purchasers of sex and sexual services, insightfully defining the multiple layers of human rights violations in prostitution. We encourage all member states to do the same.  The debates engaged in during the legislative process bring complex gender consciousness to the public forum.”

Respuestas a la encuesta – ‘Las chicas califican el Programa de Beijing’- siguen llegando del Buen Pastor!

WGG GirlsLas respuestas a la encuesta ‘Las chicas califican Beijing’ siguen llegando de los apostolados del Buen Pastor en todo el mundo.  Estoy muy entusiasmada con esto!.  En mi publicación del 13 de febrero teníamos la siguiente participación Malasia (16) Madagascar (21) Myanmar (12) Nepal (4) India (106) Filipinas (12) México (131) Nueva York (Cathedral High School-la escuela entera), Servicios del Buen Pastor, NY.

A la fecha de hoy tenemos– Malasia (40), Indonesia 170, Pakistán 55, Australia 6, Chicago 1, Costa Rica 14, Nicaragua 3, Macao 25, Sri Lanka 65, Taiwán 66 y Colombia 33.   Esto es un total de 880 respuestas a la encuesta.  ¡Bien hecho!   Las respuestas serán aceptadas hasta el 20 de marzo de 2015 el último día de la CSW59 – Beijing +20


Las niñas que aún no habían nacido, cuando la conferencia de Beijing fue llevada a cabo en 1995, están revisando sus experiencias de vida en lo cotidiano: en su casa, en la escuela y en su comunidad con respecto a la escolaridad, las tareas del hogar, trabajo, seguridad, acceso a servicios de salud y tecnología.  Hay un par de preguntas relacionadas con los derechos de las niñas, conocimiento de los derechos, la legislación para la implementación de los derechos de las niñas dentro del país y las posiciones de liderazgo de las niñas.  Los resultados preliminares de este estudio se compartirán durante un evento paralelo el martes 10 de marzo de 2015 entre las 10: 30 y 12:00 en el Auditorio del Ejército de Salvación en la siguiente dirección: East 52nd  Street, NY.

Girls Voices Are Important. Beijing Platform for Action featured girls – See L Platform

L. The Girl-child   Read what was the dream for girls 20 years ago.

WGG has a call out inviting girls to rate Beijing in the girls grade Beijing Survey.  Have you presented this survey to girls to complete.  All of the girls doing this survey will have been born after 1997.  Beijing took place in 1995 and is 20 years old this year.  Have things changed for girls?

Good Shepherd responses to this invitation have come from surprising places – Malaysia (16)  Madagascar (21) Myanmar (12) Nepal (4) India (106) Philippines (12) Mexico (131) New York (Nativity High School).  We congratulate those who participated and have expressed their experiences and opinions.  We continue to invite others to do so.   The results will be presented during the Commission on the Status of Women 59th Session between March 9 – 20, 2015. Girls 18 years and under are eligible to contribute.

WGG Girls

These WGG Girl Advocates speak at the United Nations from time to time.  Your ideas and voice can be added by completing the survey!  The survey is available in English, Spanish, French, PortugueseMandarin and Arabic. You can also download hard copies of the survey and return them to us at or at 777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 6E, New York, NY 10017. 

Call to Girls to Grade the Beijing Platform

wgg sticker_final jpg

An on line or mail in survey is available for girls up to 18 years of age to complete in English, Spanish French, Portuguese and Arabic.


On Line Survey in 5 languages – Click here

Download hard copies of the survey here, complete and mail them to Working Group on Girls  777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 6E, New York, NY 10017.

If you would like to check what your country is saying visit this web page and insert the name of your country

CSW59_FINAL_675px_landing page-01


Webcast of Panel Event of October 16, 2014

A Panel discussion was held on Thursday October 16th in the ECOSOC, UN 16 Oct 2014  – “Beijing+20 Leaving No One Behind: Women, Poverty and Participation”.  It was co-organized by the International Movement ATD Fourth World and the United Nations Millennium Campaign.  The NGO Committees on the Status of Women, Social Development and the Subcommittee for Poverty Eradication .collaborated in the organization of the discussion.  The panelists brought together a broad range of topics and experiences around poverty, women and empowerment, while looking forward to the celebration of Beijing +20 and the new post 2014 development agenda and sustainable development goals.  The discussion was webcast.  Click here

2014-10-16 12.27.06It is always a privilege to share panel space with people who have experienced poverty.  Alvenia Hutton was one such person, a single Mum from Brooklyn.

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The Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations H.E. David Donoghue  was a ‘keynote’ respondent.

2014-10-16 13.17.45

On the right of the Ambassador is Ravi Karkara,  the global focal point for MyWorld2015 UN Global Citizen’s Survey and co-chair of the policy strategy Group on WorldWeWant2015 citizen’s e-platform. Have you completed the survey on My World.  It is not too late to do so.  You choose 6 items from a range of 16. There is a space for your priority.   Vote here

The other speaker on the panel – Ms. Lakshmi Puri is Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women.








September -UN Women Campaign Sub-theme: Women and the Economy

Beijing_Carousel_LetsGo jpgUN Women’s #Beijing20 campaign features monthly mini-campaigns, each focusing on a subtheme of gender equality. We are now rolling out the fourth mini-campaign for September, focusing on women and the economy.  Read more   Click here   Women and the Economy is Platform F of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – Pages 65 – 79 of the attached document.  Paragraphs 150 to 180.  Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

Visit the website in English,     Spanish,   French

There is a social media package for this month in three languages – Click here



Christine Lagarde A former French minister for various economic portfolios – including finance and employment, agriculture and fisheries, and trade – Christine Lagarde was the first woman to become finance minister of a G8 economy and is the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


How does all this compare with reality on the ground see Democratic Republic of Congo as an example.  “…despite the multi-billion-dollar mining trade, very little of its success ever reaches the people of the region…”  Read more

Beijing+20 Focus this month The Girl Child

Read more on Beijing20 Campaign Girls and Young Women

BW_ChristinaSelby_1_360x170 jpgChristina is a 17-year-old girl living in New York City who is about to graduate from high school. She has been a Girl Advocate for The Working Group on Girls NGO for the past three years and works on the Girls Participation Task Force and Steering Committee. Christina is featured on the webpage.

Did you take the quiz yet?  I got 100%  What did you get?

Beijing+20 Newsletter

UN Women launched Beijing+20 at the Apollo Theater, NY on June 26th.  Beijing+20 is a year long campaign to spark global dialogue and action on women’s rights and gender equality.

WGG girl advocate Diana was also among the celebrities speaking on the importance of girls rights in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.   Diana poses for a photograph with Gloria Steinem, a feminist activist, organizer, writer and lecturer.  Diana

Don’t for get to Participate …. and check out HeforShe  – men raising their voices for change.   More pictures can be seen at Here  Watch for Diana in the green T-shirt with Working Group on Girls logo. 

Diana 2 Diana 3 Diana 4