Roberta McLaughlin

COUNTRY: Cambodia
CITY: Phnom Penh
FOCUS: Education, Civil and Human Rights

1.Youth Resources Development Program;
2. ECPAT Cambodia
1. University Students;
2. Sexually exploited children
1. help university students develop critical thinking skills.
2. focuses on the struggle against child sex exploitation in the area of child pornography, child sex tourism and child trafficking

Roberta and her husband Jim joined MKLM in 2003. Roberta was born in Shanghai, China, of Portuguese parents. At the age of ten her family had to flee from China to Japan, where she and her family lived for five years. They eventually settled in San Francisco, where Roberta met Jim at UC Berkeley. They raised three children. Roberta has worked as an internal and external management consultant in the areas of change management and team building. She was an active member at her parishes in the Dioceses of San Francisco, Hartford, CT, and Albuquerque, NM. Roberta has a long history of social justice and civil rights involvement in the U.S. and wherever she has lived, including Guatemala and Bolivia. She earned her BA at the University of California, Berkeley, and a MA at the University of Hartford.

Roberta and Jim lived in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Cambodia has been traumatized in recent history. During the Khmer Rouge two million Cambodians were killed. Currently the country is in a rebuilding effort.

Roberta divided her time between two ministries. The first with the Youth Resources Development Program, which trained youth in critical thinking skills, personal and societal responsibilities, and values regarding marriage, society, interfaith tolerance and active non-violence. Through their volunteer activities in the community, the university students have a greater possibility of being selected for a job but, more important, they develop the attitude of responsibility towards society. Roberta used her skills to update, with the trainers, the training curriculum. In addition, she was involved in developing the capacity of the trainers and expanding the program to include students in service to the communities.

Her second ministry was with ECPAT Cambodia (End Child Prostitution and Child Trafficking), an international NGO that focuses on the struggle against child sex exploitation in the area of child pornography, child sex tourism and child trafficking. The vision of ECPAT Cambodia is the realization of the right of all children to live free of child prostitution, abuse, child pornography and child trafficking for sexual purposes. ECPAT works through a network of 27 member organizations in awareness raising, advocacy, monitoring and the coordination of actions and information sharing among relevant stakeholders. ECPAT Cambodia is an affiliated member of ECPAT International which has members in 70 countries.

Roberta and Jim are currently retired in San Francisco, CA, but she always has a “home away from home” at Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP). So she travels to Cambodia and continues serving them as well as ECPAT, a local anti-trafficking NGO.