Lifelong advocate for children's human rights

UNANIMA International’s 2017 Woman of Courage: Marietta Latonio

Marietta Latonio, advocate, researcher, professor of social work, and monitor and evaluation officer at Good Shepherd Welcome House, Cebu in the Philippines was awarded a ‘Woman of Courage’ by Sr Jean Quinn, Executive Director of UNANIMA International in recognition of her work and dedication.  The Award was presented during an event moderated by Sr Angela Reed rsm 'Inherent Dignity, Real Choices: A Preventative Approach to Ending Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation' running parallel to the UN Commission for the Status of Women.



Back row:  Sr Angela Reed (Sister of Mercy), Cecilia O'Dwyer (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary), Sr Jean Quinn (Executive Director UNANIMA International).

Front row:  Ms Mariana Vanin, Program and Communications Coordinator, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), Sr Winifred Doherty (Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office) and Ms Marietta Latonio.

For more information and photos

Click for Sr Winifred Doherty's blog (Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office, based in New York). Scroll to event 31 March -


Marietta Latonio

Marietta (Mayet) Latonio lives and works in Cebu, Philippines. She has been the director of many welfare programs; led implementation of community-based programs for more than 20 years; worked for many NGOs focused on the welfare of women and children; has been a lifelong advocate for children’s human rights, and more recently involved with the “I Have a Voice” research project.

She is now the monitor / evaluator of programs at Good Shepherd Welcome House in Cebu. Not only does she work with and support girls and women on the street; but she educates pimps about trafficking, and networks with bar managers in an effort to identify and help women in need.

Mayet has done many international presentations, and is now getting a degree with research focused on interventions for recovery of trafficking survivors.


Mayet's reflection upon receiving this Award

"It was a great honor for me to get the award from UNANIMA International. It means a lot as it reminds me that plenty of women victims are still waiting to be served.  However, I also believe in St Mary Euphrasia when she says 'A person is of more value than the whole world'.   Mercy then is not about numbers but it is about one's heart.

Human trafficking is a form of a systemic oppression, it can not be fought by one but  by everyone. Each person, family, community, government and the whole world contributes to its eradication.  Let us bind our hands right now!"


UNANIMA International

UNANIMA International is a non-governmental organization (NGO) advocating on behalf of women and children (particularly those living in poverty), immigrants and refugees, and the environment. Its work takes place primarily at the United Nations headquarters in New York, where its members and other members of civil society aim to educate and influence policymakers at the global level. In solidarity, UNANIMA works for systemic change to achieve a more just world.

On the ground, its unique membership consists of 20 congregations of Roman Catholic sisters whose 20,000 constituents work in over 80 countries. UNANIMA brings their voices, concerns, and experiences as educators, health care providers, social workers, and development workers to the United Nations.


UN Commission for the Status of Women

Angela Reed rsm, Coordinator of Mercy Global Action at the UN, moderated an event “Inherent Dignity, Real Choices: A Preventative Approach to Ending Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation” on 22 March 2017. 

This parallel event was organized by Mercy Global Action at the UN, as well as Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, UNANIMA, the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, and the Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons. It addressed root causes of trafficking at a systemic level, through a human rights lens and across the ‘life course’ of girls and women, aiming to prevent trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Panelists discussed the common precursors of trafficking for sexual exploitation, and how the vulnerability of women and girls to trafficking can be reduced through improving their economic empowerment and work opportunities.


Source: Good Shepherd Asia Pacific website.