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Press Release: Trustee Appointments of Cecilia Oebanda, Karen Bradley MP, Dee Jethwa, Declan Breslin

Arise is proud to announce the arrival of four new members to our Board of Trustees, Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, Karen Bradley MP, and Dee Jethwa, and Declan Breslin.

Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda

Cecilia is the founder of Voice of the Free (formerly the Visayan Forum Foundation), which has, for three decades, worked in informal and impoverished Filipino communities. It has sought to empower women and children whilst protecting them from trafficking.

Cecilia herself was born into similar circumstances, and spent much of her life as a freedom fighter against the Marcos dictatorship, before being politically imprisoned by the regime. Following her release in 1986, she began to focus her work on slavery prevention, and has become a widely-respected advocate for human rights and an international expert on human trafficking, child labour, and domestic work.

Cecilia was instrumental in the enactment of the Domestic Workers Act (Batas Kasambahay), child labour laws, and anti-trafficking amendments. She was appointed by two Filipino Presidents to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking as NGO representative, serving for six years.

Arise has worked with VF on anti-trafficking projects, including their development of Work-Skills Connect - an ethical recruitment technology designed to prevent labour trafficking. To find out more about Cecilia and VF, watch the video below from the Wellbeing Project, where she details her journey to anti-slavery advocacy.

The Rt Hon. Karen Bradley MP

Karen has served as the MP for Staffordshire Moorlands since 2010. She is the former Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, and the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. During her time in Parliament, she has also served as a Minister in the Government Whips office, and currently chairs the Commons Procedure Committee. Prior to politics, she worked in financial services, latterly for KPMG.

Karen was Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime for the passage of the Serious Crime Act and the Modern Slavery Act. She is the current co-chairwoman of the APPG on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. Recently, she has been advocating for further measures to be added to the Nationality and Borders Bill to protect victims of modern slavery. She has also been campaigning for action on UK supply chains that feature modern slavery.

Watch the video below to see Karen addressing the 'Modern Slavery Garden' in 2016 - discussing the responsibilities we have to root slavery out of communities and supply chains.

Dee Jethwa

Dee is the Founder and Director of LCUK, a safeguarding consultancy that uses expertise to develop programmes, assess needs, and conduct audits and evaluations. She is also Safeguarding Lead at Choose Love, an international organisation that raises and manages grant giving programmes for refugees. Dee has extensive experience in the safeguarding sector (particularly with children), and has worked as a consultant for a variety of organisations. She is a trained social worker with a Masters in Social Work, and has used her knowledge and experience to 'safeguard children and adults at risk through comprehensive and innovative approaches'.

She was a key contributor to the Keeping Children Safe initiative, and won the Social Worker of the Year Award in 2009. Ten years later, in 2019, she was shortlisted for the NSPCC/AoCCP Safeguarding Trainer of the Year Award. She has worked on projects in Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Seychelles, and a number of European nations. She is also a trustee for Terre des Hommes, a network of ten national organisations working for the rights of children.

Declan Breslin

Declan has enjoyed a successful career in financial services, and has worked at a number of industry leaders in the banking sector. Most recently, he was Global Head of Client Service and Solutions at JP Morgan.

Declan graduated from the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and holds an MSc in Finance from the University of London. He began his career in Prime Brokerage with Deutsche Bank in London, and then moved to Lehman Brothers in 2003. He was the European Head of Client Service across all Prime Services at Lehman until 2008, when he moved to Nomura Securities to be Managing Director of Prime Services. After three years at Nomura, and one year at BNP Paribas (where he headed up Prime Services), Declan moved to JP Morgan, where he worked until 2020.

He is passionate about education and how it can lift people out of poverty by providing a better and more stable future. He has served as Treasurer for the Friends of Queen's University Belfast and is currently Treasurer of Friends of Young Enterprise Foundation (both 501c3 entities), supporting and raising awareness of both organisations in the US.

The Arise staff and Board of Trustees are thrilled and honoured to welcome these new phenomenal anti-slavery advocates to our team. As trustees, they will bring exceptional insight and guidance, and can provide complementary experiences of fighting slavery in both source and destination areas. They also add a variety of positive experience of the third sector, and will use this experience to oversee our continued development of operations.

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