Creating Change for Women Through Advocacy
Cebu is a province of the Philippines in the country’s Central Visayas region. It is home to over 922,000 people. It was the first Spanish settlement and the first capital of the Philippines. Cebu City has been the destination city for sex tourism and human trafficking for some time.
The Good Shepherd Welcome House was established by the Villa Maria Good Shepherd Sisters in 2007 with the objectives of walking gently with young women and children who are victimised by human traffickers through prostitution; to address deep seated trauma and sexual exploitation; to slowly restore their self-esteem; and also to contribute to the global fight against human trafficking and prostitution.
This Mercy Works project, in partnership with the Villa Maria Good Shepherd Sisters, is raising the level of society’s awareness and response to human trafficking and safeguarding the rights of women and children to live and enjoy a peaceful and secure environment.
The project offers ongoing healing, safety, education and ways to give a confident voice to women who are survivors of human trafficking. This program also has a strong referral system where they refer victims to various services.
The Creating Change for Women Through Advocacy project, now in its third year, is focussing on enhancing the sustainability of advocacy work by the coalition of human rights advocates formed in phase 1 of the project which includes recovered trafficked women who represents the voice of victim-survivors.
We continue to strengthen the capacity of the coalition by training 20 new advocates to carry out advocacy at the community level, thereby increasing its reach.
The project will continue to influence policy makers toward formulation or amendment to current laws and create solutions to human trafficking issues and create change for the lives of women and girls who are trafficked and abused.
The group of recovered trafficked women, approximately 50, will be provided with skills training and income generating activity to enable them to continue awareness raising and advocacy work particularly targeting trafficked women who are still working in prostitution.
This project starts and ends with the women. They are educated to be a leading force in protecting themselves and other women against perpetrators and institutional oppression. Ultimately they change their own belief in their capacity to rise against their experiences.
The project aims ultimately for the prevention of human trafficking and facilitating access to appropriate programs and services to improve the lives of survivors as well as equipping them with skills to gain employment.
Mercy Works is very pleased to be in partnership with the Villa Maria Good Shepherd Sisters in supporting this project in Cebu City.