Soroptimist Programs

Stop Trafficking Initiative

Slavery’s New Face: Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls – Slavery is a harsh reality for millions of people the world over who find themselves trapped in an exploitative and abusive system, bought and sold like objects, and treated with no dignity or human decency.

How extensive is slavery’s reach? Human rights groups estimate that anywhere between 12.3 million and 27 million people are enslaved in forced or bonded labor, child labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude at any given time.

Slavery exists in a variety of permutations, but all forms of slavery share some common characteristics: slaves are forced to work; are owned or controlled by an “employer”; are dehumanized and treated as commodities; and are physically constrained and unable to move.

One type of slavery and exploitation that continues to proliferate at an alarming rate—and that has a particular relevance to women and girls—is sex trafficking/slavery. Western Canada Region has chosen to highlight this issue as a Region project. We have partnered with the Salvation Army to increase public awareness of the issue of Human Trafficking and have provided financial support to Deborah’s Gate, a shelter for victims of Human Trafficking.

For more information on Human Trafficking and Soroptimist initiatives to stop this crime, please follow the link: http://www.soroptimist.org/trafficking/trafficking.html

Domestic Violence Initiatives

In 1994, Soroptimist International of the Americas made the prevention of domestic violence an organizational focus. Each year, on November 25 (the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women), members participate in the Soroptimist Workplace Campaign to End Domestic Violence.

The campaign targets domestic abuse as a workplace concern. Domestic violence is a workplace issue because it affects both women and business, as most women work and they do not leave abuse behind when they leave their homes. Abusers often harass their partners at work. In worse case scenarios, abusers come to the workplace and threaten their partners and their co-workers. As business and professional women, Soroptimists are in a position to educate people in the workplace that women have the right to live free from violence.

Each year, Soroptimists distribute thousands of hotline cards, and hold lectures and events to raise awareness about domestic violence as a workplace concern. The campaign earned an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Association Executives and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Allies Against Violence Award.

SI PRESIDENT’S APPEAL

THE INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT’S APPEAL 2015 – 2017, CURRENTLY SUPPORTS FOUR PROJECTS IN NEPAL WITH A FOCUS ON IMPROVING THE LIVES OF WOMEN AND GIRLS THROUGH EDUCATION, EMPOWERMENT AND ENABLING OPPORTUNITIES.

SEED Jobs for Life

MALAYSIA HAS MORE THAN 200,000 UNEMPLOYED GRADUATES AND ALMOST ONE MILLION SCHOOL DROPOUTS AND JOBLESS YOUNG PEOPLE UNDER THE AGE OF 30 YEARS.

Crime, trafficking, prostitution and drug related offences have reached alarming levels. SI Petaling Jaya competed with 300 NGOs in Malaysia to win the Berbudi Berganda: Social Impact Innovation Challenge with a Government grant of RM25,000 and Overall Grand Prize money of RM30,000 from Credit Suisse Bank.

The programme, which commenced in February 2015 and is aimed primarily at the 18-25 age group, has inspired and motivated young people to achieve mental, emotional and physical fitness and built confidence and self-esteem, values, work ethics and readiness for employment or to start a small business. Participants attained visible improvements in soft skills and core competencies not addressed by the Malaysian education system at either secondary or tertiary level. The programme matched graduates with potential employers and were placed in jobs that best fit their personality, goals, skills and capabilities.

To date, more than 120 young people have graduated from this programme, with 30% securing jobs within 2 months of graduation, 55% upskilled to take up tertiary education and 15% going into small business/ entrepreneurship.

Soroptimist Foundation of Canada

The Soroptimist Foundation of Canada annually offers several $7,500 grants to female graduate students in Canada to assist them with university studies which will qualify them for careers which will improve the quality of women’s lives. Examples include but are not limited to: providing services, providing legal counselling and assistance, counselling mature women entering or re-entering the labour market, counselling women in crisis, counselling and training women for non-traditional employment, and positions in women’s centres.