jean_enriquez.jpgOn May 26, 2003 in the Philippine Senate, the Anti-Trafficking Law in the Philippines was finally passed. “My co-advocates and I cheered heartily, especially since CATW-AP started our work on the bill eight years earlier,” Jean Enriquez recalls. These days, as deputy executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (Asia-Pacific) what keeps Jean inspired are the constant dialogue, consultation and “strength-sharing with partners or co-equals in the Coalition.” Jean is proud of what she calls “an endless list of collective successes: When we release women victims of prostitution from jail after dialoguing with law enforcers; when I heard of the first conviction against traffickers in Zamboanga City where a CATW-AP project was piloted; and when the young men start standing up against violence against women.”

Jean attributes the secret of her successes to dedication. “I chose my work because it comes from my heart, and I give my heart to it. That leaves no room for ‘mistakes.’ It is working with the God/Goddess within,” she shares with conviction. She credits part of the fulfillment to her family. “In my personal life, I’m happiest about having affected my family profoundly. I found out that my own daughter embodies the same consistency in principles, in taking the side of those marginalized. My partner, a labor leader, has himself started changes in the labor center he leads by integrating work on gender issues. Those were my daughter’s and partner’s achievements, but I [am] proudest to have made an effect on them.”

(First published in Marie Claire, November 2007; Photo by Sara Black)

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