19 March 2012

Top 5 reasons you should sign up for Freedom Registry NOW!

five- This is quite literally the first project of its kind.  It is new, innovative, essential and it has huge potential.  Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?

four-  Though we all know of amazing organizations doing great work, there are gaps.  And these gaps need our attention.  Freedom Registry brings these gaps to light.  After all, we are all working towards the same goal and we need to make sure we are doing so in the best way possible.

three- Freedom Registry goes public in one week.  That means there is still time for you to get your organization on the list before everyone has access. It is free and really simple to sign up.

two-  Signing up for Freedom Registry is a way for you to show the public that your organization is using the best possible practices.  Through the verification process, donors, volunteers, and stakeholders can trust that organizations on the Freedom Registry are using the best practices.

one- collaboration, collaboration, collaboration.  Babe Ruth said, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime.” We need to make sure we are working as a TEAM to fight trafficking and CSE.  Join us on that team!

08 March 2012

Celebrating the Architects of Society

Women are the real architects of society. Harriet Beecher Stowe

In 1910, over 100 women delegates from 17 countries came together in Copenhagen for the second International Conference of Working Women. Here, Women's Activist Clara Zetkin is known to have proposed the idea for an annual International Women's Day. The following year, meetings and rallies were held across Europe where more than 1 million men and women called for an end to discrimination against women. International Women's Day has been held annually ever since, and was officially commemorated by the UN beginning in 1975.

To commemorate this special day today, I took some time out of my busy schedule to ponder the efforts and achievements of three women who inspire me. While my list can in no way represent all the women who inspire me (whether directly or indirectly), taking the time to appreciate the work of even a select few - chosen in a very impromptu, unsystematic fashion - each of these women, each representing a different period in history since 1911, motivates me to keep going - even on those days when things seem dire and/or hopeless ::

Story :: (1897-1980) Born in Brooklyn, Day was an American journalist who, in her efforts to found a newspaper, ended up founding an entire movement. For its first 6 months, Day's publication - The Catholic Worker - was a publication expressing dissatisfaction with the social order. Often attributed to its immediate success is that the publication was both radical and religious. The article authors didn't just complain, but called their readers to direct action. Articles called for the renewal of Christian hospitality, especially toward the homeless; and over time, the convictions of both Day and readers alike resulted in the development of "homes of hospitality" where the homeless population could receive food and shelter. Day is also known for her pacifist stance on war.

Why she inspires me :: In comparison to what may be considered "mainstream expectations"of your average religious worker,  Dorothy Day was a person of contradiction. She was theologically conservative and politically radical at the same time. Day put her deep faith and conviction in God into direct action, even in times of opposition from other believers. Day was also extremely honest about her own depravity. In her autobiography, she gives insight into her personal struggles. When others referred to her as a 'saint' she politely declined the title saying the only reason she had achieved anything was because she was not "embarrassed to talk about God" in her own life.

Quoted :: The greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us.

Story :: Born in Mozambique in 1945, Machel has had the unique experience of being first lady in two different countries (Mozambique & South Africa). She is an international advocate for women's and children's rights, including an increase in primary school enrollment in Mozambique; advocating against gender-based violence in regions across Africa; and being a voice against child marriage. Alongside Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, and her husband Nelson Mandela, she is a founding member of the Global Elders.

Why she inspires me :: Machel is a freedom fighter in the true sense of the word. Though she has faced much adversity throughout her life (limited opportunities as a child, the mysterious death of her first husband, facing serious challenges in countries where she served in political office), she has nonetheless maintained a sense of hope while advocating for good governance, equality and human rights.

Quoted :: It is the meaning of what my life has been since a youth - to try to fight for the dignity and freedom of my own people.

Story :: Born in the UK in 1975, Lloyd is an advocate for young women who have been trafficked and prostituted in the United States. A survivor herself, she moved to the U.S. in 1997 and founded Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS),  now one of the largest organizations offering direct services to American survivors of child sex trafficking. Lloyd has had tremendous influence on the current movement to address sex trafficking of minors in the United States, including a direct role in the successful passage of New York's Safe Harbor Act for Sexually Exploited Youth; and has spoken out on several occasions about the influence of mainstream society on the commodification of sex and youth in our culture.

Why she inspires me :: While there is certainly no shortage of anti-trafficking advocates within the current movement, Lloyd's life and work is especially inspirational due to her passion and conviction surrounding the development of a survivor-led reform movement. GEMS' strong focus on empowering survivors to express their experiences, observations and desires - done in a way that does not appear to be re-exploitative, but rather focused on recovering self-respect, strength and resilience - is unique. It seems Lloyd has faced many obstacles in life, but regardless of these obstacles she has found the strength to overcome them and use her energy to invest in the lives of others.

Quoted :: There have been experiences I would rather not have had and pain I wish I hadn't felt - but every experience, every tear, every hardship has equipped me for the work I do now... It puts all past hurts into perspective.

In her speech on behalf of UNWomen today, Michelle Bachelet (another on my personal list of inspiring women) closed with these words:
"Today on International Women's Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to women's rights and move forward with courage and determination. Let us defend human rights, the inherent dignity and worth of the human person, and the equal rights of men and women." [UNWomen]
Well said.

Tania is Chab Dai's International Communications Director, and is based in Phnom Penh. Follow her on Twitter at @tania_chabdai.

03 March 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Call to Action - Protect Cambodian Domestic Workers in Malaysia

Last week, over 65 Cambodian and International NGOs and trade unions took unified action to encourage the Cambodian & Malaysia governments to protect the rights of domestic workers. Chab Dai Coalition is an active member of the Cambodian Working Group from Domestic Workers (CWGDW), and endorsed this Call to Action.

You can take action too! The CWGDW is encouraging advocates around the world to show their support for this Call to Action by visiting CWGDW's Facebook Page - click "Like" and "Share" to show your endorsement, and advocate within your networks.

PRESS RELEASE: 29 February 2012, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Cambodian Working Group for Domestic Workers (CWGDW) today issued a “Call to Action” that has been endorsed by 65 Cambodian and International NGOs and trade unions. Together they are calling on the Cambodian and Malaysian governments to take specific measures to protect and ensure the rights of all domestic workers.

Background: Cambodia’s Ban on Domestic Workers to Malaysia is an Opportunity to Protect the Rights of Migrants
On October 15, 2011, the Prime Minister of Cambodia announced a ban on the recruitment, training and sending of domestic workers to Malaysia. In an effort to lift the ban, the Malaysian government has expressed eagerness to propose a bilateral agreement in the coming weeks that will govern the rights and entitlements of Cambodian domestic workers working in Malaysia. The CWGDW, in conjunction with 65 NGOs and trade unions, see the time leading up to the signing of this agreement as a rich opportunity for both governments to make necessary changes to facilitate positive migration experiences during the recruitment, employment, and repatriation stages, and prevent further abuses and exploitation of domestic workers.

The CWGDW was founded in November 2011 and is a network of civil society stakeholders. The purpose of this action-based forum is to collaborate and unite advocacy efforts and resources to respond to issues affecting domestic workers, and to encourage the Royal Government of Cambodia to ratify the new ILO Convention 189 concerning decent work for domestic workers. Within the last three months, the group has already gained support from domestic and international NGOs and trade unions, and will continue to focus on protecting the rights of domestic workers.

The Call for Action
The Call for Action urges the governments of Cambodia & Malaysia to take the following actions:
1. Sign a bilateral agreement that ensures the protection of rights enshrined in ILO C189.
2. Adopt and enforce mandatory standardized employment and job placement services contracts that adhere to the standards established in ILO C189.
3. Ensure that the regulation of private recruitment agencies meets the standards in ILO C189.
4. Ratify ILO C189 and bring national laws and enforcement into alignment, including covering domestic workers under national labor laws.
5. Establish effective monitoring mechanisms for greater accountability and transparency in recruitment, placement, and employment of domestic workers.
6. Ensure effective access to redress, legal remedies and grievance procedures in Cambodia and Malaysia for victims of rights violations and abuse.
7. Improve screening to identify victims of abuse and survivors of trafficking, and provide them with legal aid, shelter, counseling, and repatriation and reintegration services, as needed.
8. Ensure protection and support for domestic workers already working in Malaysia at the time of the issuance of the ban.
9. Work through regional mechanisms to strengthen the ASEAN Declaration on Migrant Workers and the ASEAN Plan of Action through the promotion of minimum standards for domestic workers.
10. Recognize the special needs and vulnerabilities of female and male migrants and tailor systems to respond.
11. Ensure extensive consultation with civil society organizations working on domestic workers, migration and trafficking to implement the above.

NOTE: The full Call to Action can be downloaded here: in Khmer & English.

For more information contact: Mr. Mom Sokchar, Media Contact - sokchar_mom@lscw.org or (+855) 12 943 767