Natural Resources, including land rights
There’s a proven connection to the status of human rights where development work takes place*. That’s why 90% of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to create a better world by 2030 are linked to human rights and labour standards.
Creating a world of justice and resilience means fixing inequalities. Missionaries work to build empowerment and train marginalised and repressed communities to speak up and assert themselves.
People’s lack of awareness of their human rights leads to many types of abuse. For this reason, educating vulnerable people on their rights, while also advocating for and with them, has always been a priority for missionaries.
As authoritarianism and threats to democracy create an even more repressive climate in some regions, Misean Cara has increased its funding of advocacy for social justice. Members lobby officials at all levels regarding important concerns from climate change and human rights violations to gender-based violence, human trafficking and indigenous land rights.
Protecting human dignity is a principle shared by all Misean Cara members and their projects to achieve this are now supported worldwide.
Preventing Human Trafficking through Empowerment Programmes for Women and Adolescent Girls
In West Bengal, India, where poverty and lack of opportunity are rife, girls and women are increasingly vulnerable to human trafficking. Most trafficking victims here come from socially and economically deprived backgrounds, rural areas, and many from the poorest, most marginalised castes and tribes. Lured into towns and cities by traffickers promising good jobs, they are instead sold into modern day slavery as domestic workers, textile sweatshops workers or forced into prostitution.
The Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre (KMWSC), operated by the Institute of the Blessed Virgin, Loreto has had very encouraging results with the anti-trafficking projects it runs in Parganas, West Bengal.
Over the span of six years, KMWSC has built community awareness and action with campaigns that educate women and girls about the prevalence and dangers of human trafficking. Training and workshops are a key component in mobilising women and girls to build community vigilance and create social safety nets.
The Centre also networks and advocates with Police, Government departments and civil society partners to building anti-trafficking initiatives within a larger, structural framework. Trafficking survivors are supported with psychosocial counselling, and life skills and vocational development programmes that help reintegrate those who have been rescued.
The project is especially proud of how girls – as the main potential victims of trafficking – are not just receiving help but are placed at the very centre of the intervention, as rights holders and agents of change.
A network of adolescent girls groups, supported by peer educators and the Sisters from the Centre, monitors other at-risk girls in their communities. This involves watching for key indicators of trafficking or abuse, such as irregular school attendance, unusual friendships or dating habits. Other signs include recent prosperity or sudden travel plans, family arrangements for marriage, abuse at home, job-seeking, or outsiders in the locality. The programmes work because adolescent girls are empowered to take part in decision-making that affects them and their communities.