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KOTA KINABALU – An introduction to the ‘Orange the World’ campaign by Archbishop John Wong, followed by a video entitled “Broken Dreamers” which illustrated the unfortunate stories of human trafficking victims, kicked off the 16 Days of Activism for this year.
The event took place at the conclusion of the Sunset Mass on 25 Nov 2017, where staff and volunteers from Good Shepherd Services staged a two-day activity at Sacred Heart Cathedral to begin its commencement. Similarly, Sunday morning followed the same flow.
The parishioners leaving church were greeted by a group of “victims” – handled by their employers in the form of a pimp – lined the entrance of the church. The crowd were taking pictures and pondering, but more importantly, a significant insight into the dark world of human trafficking was gained.
To mark the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence with the theme “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls,” Good Shepherd Services launched the booklet 16 days of Prayer for the Nation.
“This booklet gives a glimpse inside the maze of human trafficking. Each of the sixteen articles tells a story that speaks powerfully of the violence, trauma, and grief experienced by survivors and advocates,” said Chin Poh Choo, the Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services.
Each year, the global campaign kicks off with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Nov 25 and ends on Dec 10, International Human Rights Day. Since 2008, the UN Women, under the “Orange the World” umbrella, has been galvanizing global attention and action to end violence against women and girls. The official colour used is orange, which symbolises a bright and optimistic future free from violence against women and girls.
This year’s Orange The World campaign is a maiden initiative undertaken by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia, Council of Churches Malaysia, National Evangelical Christian Fellowship and the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism, in collaboration with the Good Shepherd Services, to stand united as Malaysian Christians of all faiths, to raise awareness to eliminate this menace, to come together in prayer for victims of human trafficking, and to reflection and action to end violence against women and children.
An estimated 21 million people are trafficked globally, out of which 71 percent are women and girls. About 5.5 million children are trafficked. This heinous business generates about US$150 billion in profits each year for those behind it.
“Human trafficking is an issue which disproportionately affects women and children, and turning a blind eye and a deaf ear will literally make us complicit in this crime,” said Chin.
Chin said: “As we listen to the voices of those that have been oppressed and exploited through the stories, it is our hope that we are also able to discern the voice of justice calling us to action for all trafficked women and children who are oppressed, exploited and in bondage.” – Mary Anne Baltazar