Pedro Daniel Oliveira
Pro-life movement advocate in Macau Joni Cheng believes that human trafficking is a problem in the territory, despite official figures released annually by the Judiciary Police going in a different direction. Raising awareness among people is the key factor to fight this and promote pro-life issues.
“Every city has a different social problem. In Macau, having so many casinos and being close to the border with Mainland China – much closer than being in many parts of Hong Kong – I believe there’s this kind of social problem with human trafficking” she said.
“The hotel and casino industry is actually the occasion that gives rise to this type of social problems, such as human trafficking, including prostitution and the like. Likewise, because the staff of these hotels and casino businesses work in different hours, it creates a lot of family problems,” she stressed, stating, “it’s not only just human trafficking, because at same time there are a lot of social problems going on, such as violence and things like that.”
Asked if the Macau Government is turning a blind eye to human trafficking, she chooses to remember the work carried out by Sr Juliana Devoy, Director of Good Shepherd Center.
“She creates a lot more awareness on this matter by bringing every year a conference [to Macau], which is sponsored by MGM. Government officials have attended,” Ms Cheng said. She also noted that “in previous years Sr Devoy was the main contact of helping to rescue some of the victims.”
“In one year she also invited all the gaming operators to attend the conference, even some top executives, to bring awareness on how they could train their security departments or front-line staff, in order to identify possible human trafficking victims,” Ms Cheng recalled.
“Talking about pro-life very easily people think of being anti-abortion. But actually pro-life includes a much bigger scope, such as human trafficking, as well as how you are supporting family values and even something you never even think of – breastfeeding is actually a pro-life ministry,” Ms Cheng explained.
Joni Cheng was member and volunteer of the Hong Kong Diocesan Pastoral Commission of Marriage and Family between 2016-2017. On Mother’s Day, May 8, 2016, she took part in the March for Life in Rome, Italy. In the same year she attended the first March for Life in Hong Kong.