JP O’Sullivan is the Networks and Communications Manager of MECPATHS (Mercy Efforts for Child Protection against Trafficking with the Hospitality and Services Sectors), the only non-profit in the Republic of Ireland which aims to prevent the trafficking of children, and to enhance the protection of those who may be trafficked through identification and reporting. He joined MECPATHS in 2017 with a qualified background in social work and experience of programme design, development and implementation in adult mental health services. He was responsible for the establishment of a community-based ‘back to work’ programme in North Cork which supported the return of young adults to their own communities and their restoration of positive mental health. He also spent eight years working in international development, with an early experience of working in India as a student social worker. In addition, JP works in consultancy for international non-profits and social enterprises.
Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation?
I studied Social Science (2003-2006) at undergraduate level and a Masters in Social Work (2006-2008) through the School of Applied Social Studies.
What does your job entail?
My day-to-day work involves network extension and the collaborative delivery of education on human trafficking in Ireland, with a particular focus on child trafficking. I work across a variety of networks including hospitality, security, recruitment and child protection/safeguarding. The work allows for a lot of International network engagement and travel, when we can. The sharing of learning across countries is vital and is the cornerstone of the progressive strategic planning for our work. When we work with groups, it is great to see the transformation from the beginning with the common question asked: “Is human trafficking a thing in Ireland?” – to the end when feedback includes: “Yeah, I had an experience once where I saw x,y,z but didn’t know what it was. I knew there was something not right… now I know what it was.” Being able to measure impact so quickly is great.