Year Joined: 2012
City: Phnom Penh
Project: Sex industry research, skills training placement and awareness-building
Peoples Served: Male, Female and Transgendered peoples involved in the sex industry
Project Goal: Combat sex slavery and tourism by working to develop projects that are filling in the ‘gap areas’ of the NGO work already being done in Cambodia.
James comes from Wilmington, Ohio where he first learned about the work of Maryknoll from a Maryknoll Sister who spoke at a mass at St. Columbkille Catholic Church. He joined Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 2012 after graduating from Marquette University with a BS in International Affairs: Third World Development. If not performing in school choirs and theater productions, backpacking, or skiing, he was traveling to various countries throughout the world doing mission work. This culminated in the Marquette University South Africa Service Learning program in Cape Town, South Africa. Here, James spent five months studying at the University of Western Cape while working at a grassroots community development NGO in Nyanga, South Africa called Etafeni Day Care Centre and Trust. All these experiences drove him into a life of mission and follow the Liberation Theological Philosophy of, “Option for the Poor”.
The first three years James was involved with an international NGO, he led teams of researchers studying the ‘Demand’ for the sex industry in Cambodia (the reports are called ‘Listening to the Demand’ and can be read at www.love146.org/research).
Since 2015 James works in collaboration with an international NGO called the Chab Dai Coalition in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Chab Dai means “joining hands” in the Khmer language of Cambodia. James serves as a social researcher, studying international protocols and practices for residence facilities and re/integration programs serving survivors of human trafficking. One of Chab Dai’s core values is to to help “at risk” people and their families, and those who have been abused, exploited, or trafficked, to be “all that God created them to be”. He is also Chab Dai-Cambodia’s LGBTI Community Liaison, working to build relationships, collaboration, and unity between the religious, secular, and LGBTI communities of Phnom Penh. Over the past couple of years he also worked with teams of researchers studying the ‘Demand’ for the sex industry in Cambodia. He has worked on two documentary productions following the lives of transgender female sex workers in Phnom Penh called, ‘Lives Under the Red Light’ and ‘Karma?’, both of which have been shown in the international film festival circuit and have been shown in over 20 countries.