Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Partnerships, Prayers and Promise

Yesterday, I attended a parallel event (a parallel event is an event sponsored by an NGO group and not a government group) at 8:30 am at the UN which was "Anti Gender Based Violence Against Women ---- Prevention and Services." The sponsors  of this event were the Taipei/(Taiwan) Economic and Cultural Offices of New York. However, the event planners had scheduled two groups in the same room.... the group from Taipei and the group from the Sudan. The topic of discussion from  the women of the Sudan was "Efforts of Sudanese Women General Union to eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls and Challenges. As you might guess, it was very awkward having two groups scheduled for one space. However, wisdom prevailed and the leader of the Sudanese group stated, "We are all here for women, we can share this space." I thought, wow.... how beautiful! Sharing, caring and loving to eradicate violence. So, since the group from Taiwan had already started the Sudanese group allowed them to continue. 

The group from Taiwan shared the following:
There are 1 million Malaysian migrant workers and 20% being domestic servants who are used in labor trafficking. Many of the refugees suffer from trauma, torture, violence and death. The challenge is there are ZERO case workers in Malaysia to help with the language barrier to help these people who are being exploited and abused. Dr. Nguyem Dinh Thang stated that we are trying to assist people but we have "few trans-national collaborations". His organization Boat People SOS have learned how these "individuals have gotten tricked." Basically, people end up in a "forced labor"  or a "human trafficking" situation because   they need money. The perpetrators tell the people that they are a legitimate business and they have "work" for them. They will even fly the victims there but once they arrive at the destination, the perpetrators take their passport and force them into "forced labor" or "prostitution". 

This is an example of what happened in Malaysia 5 weeks ago....
------ the perpetrators offered to provide work in the restaurant for a young lady
------ when she arrived they forced her into prostitution
------after a week the woman was able to sneak away to call her husband. She did not desire to talk with the police because she knew her captors were in  collusion with the police. 
------thankfully her husband contacted the police. Dr. Thang shared with us that most of the time the husband do not want the wives back after they have been kidnapped.
We took a brief break and the Sudanese women set up their presentation. The women of Sudan had built a center called Women Development Center in Wadbanda. They teach the women to market their crafts and other projects. They also help them gain employment  so that they can empower themselves. The foundation has helped to eradicate illiteracy and focused on education. They also are trying women to stop violence against younger grils through traditional practices of female genital mutilation in some rural areas. 

The Sudanese women's group stressed that EDUCATION IS THE KEY!!!!! They also stated that laws have been modified that deprive women of the rights. So, positive change is happening.  I was disappointed that I was unable to obtain the name of the lady from the Sudan who spoke. But, she was dynamic and I really enjoy it. 
Then, the Vice Board Chair --ECPAT Taiwan, Ingrid Liao stated that under age girls are smuggled from China to Taiwan and most of them were promised legitimate jobs. China and Taiwan are under international pressure to crack down on human trafficking. Unfortunately, the victims of human trafficking are well hidden.
In 2011, 151 persecuted  for human trafficking, but few were sentenced. The challenge is whenever there are experienced district attorneys the court system relocated them when they are familiar with the victim's plight.  The transferring of attorneys creates a vicious legal cycle for the victims. And, the victims have to tell their stories all over again and paper work mysteriously gets lost and the perpetrators are not brought to justice.

At the end of this "combined event".... the Sudan leaders and the leaders from Taiwan stated we are now sisters and we are  in partnership with each other. In God's divine plan, a partnership was established, a friendship was forged, and a promise was made. All I could think was Romans 8:28--- "All things work to the good of them that love the Lord..." 

Good and gracious God we think you for uncomfortable situations. We thank you mistakes and mishaps, because in your Word we know that we should give thanks for all things for it is the will of God through Christ Jesus . So, we give thanks for human errors because though we may think it is an error, it is in YOUR Divine Plan.

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