Ralph Simpson_fights sex trafficking.jpg

Latest on Ralph and Joy 

Due to a number of circumstances, Ralph Simpson has resigned from his work with N’vader in Thailand. 

Ralph & Joy will be returning to NZ at the end of the year. Can you keep them in your prayers as they make this next transition.

Continue to read further if you would like to know more about these changes.

My Resignation

Dear Edge

1.     This is likely to be my last newsletter. On 3 August I resigned from Nvader. The circumstances that caused me to resign are as follows:

         1.     As you know, in January 2015 I was appointed Country Director of Nvader’s Thailand office, and charged with responsibility for establishing high performing operational teams, setting and implementing strategy and managing the office for the next five years.

         2.     In April 2016 Nvader’s Regional NZ office and its CEO (Justin Boswell) were relocated to Thailand, primarily with the objective of opening new offices in other countries in SE Asia, with the first scheduled to be established this year.

         3.     Our roles were to be separate. The CEO’s function was to open new offices and provide head office support functions to all country offices. My role was to manage the Thailand operation.

         4.     However, plans for regional expansion are on hold for the foreseeable future. While that strategy might be reactivated at some future time, we now found ourselves with two senior leaders managing a staff of 18. This led to a loss of respect for boundaries, and resulting frustration and conflict between the CEO and me. Partly for this reason, my role has shrunk to 2 to 3 days per week, which does not keep me motivated and fulfilled.

         5.     In June I referred these issues to the board for consideration and resolution. Although the Board concluded that one key leader could capably manage our team, it decided to retain the status quo and affirm both of our roles in an attempt to retain the skills and expertise of both me and the CEO.

         6.     I did not believe this was prudent or workable and decided that the only responsible option open to me was to resign.

2.     I will finish here in December, and unless another employment opportunity arises to keep me in Thailand, Joy and I will return to New Zealand in January. As you know, I invested my heart and soul in Nvader, and I am left feeling a little heart broken, and a little raw.

3.     That said, this week I began to find some peace. I realise that my work here is largely completed. We have established a highly functioning operational office in Thailand. Nvader is held in high regard by the Thai Government and Thai law enforcement agencies. Last year our Thai Investigation Director received an award from the Prime Minister for his contribution to combatting human trafficking. Later this month I fly to Bangkok to receive an award on behalf of Nvader from the Department of Special Investigations.

4.     My team has shown commitment, professionalism, a willingness to acquire new skills and try new strategies. They have worked intelligently, tirelessly and courageously to put offenders behind bars and to liberate and bring justice to victims. The results we have achieved these past 2.5 years are testament to this. I leave Nvader in good heart and in great shape to pursue its work of combatting human trafficking in Southeast Asia and I wish my team every success and protection.

5.     I will value my time in Thailand and my work for Nvader for many years to come. I have learned a lot about myself, some things good and others not so much. I have been taught investigation and surveillance skills - not the excitement the crime movies would have us believe. I have discovered that I have strategic insight and the ability to sell such strategies to others. I have empowered and encouraged each member of my team to have increased self-belief. I have the ability to “cold call” agencies and potential partners and establish working relationships with those who favour collaboration. I have endeavoured to lift the standards of professionalism in the sector, together with the degree of real collaboration.

6.     On the flip side, there are things for me to work on. My communication style could be fairly described as “direct” with critics of our work, and this is not always appreciated, particularly by some members of US law enforcement. For the first time in my life, my emotional resilience has been under siege. But I’ll live. The pressures, conflict and issues I have encountered were not life threatening and have contributed to my growth as a person.

7.     Joy and I have enjoyed the experience of living in a country and culture quite different from our own. Thailand’s food, rural landscape and people are amazing. I have learned to ride gnarly mountain bike trails that scared me senseless when I first arrived (and to a lesser extent still do).

8.     But most of all I appreciate the friendships that I have established with the members of my team. During this past week, I have felt valued and affirmed by their words of encouragement, the tears they have shed and their continuing commitment to me. The Thais have supported me as a guest in their country. They “had my back” and I appreciate their unwavering loyalty and willingness to provide me with guidance and direction.

9.     I believe that I have more to contribute to the counter-trafficking sector and I am hopeful that some new opportunity will arise. Later this year I will spend a week or two in Sudan assisting in the training of judges and prosecutors on running trafficking trials on behalf of the UN International Office of Migration. There is at least some prospect of this training platform rolling out to other countries in the region. Who knows, perhaps I might find an opportunity to build capacity within criminal justice systems on that continent.

10.  Of course, if we return to New Zealand in January, this will end Joy’s counselling work in Thailand, which has brought her significant satisfaction and fulfilment. She is devastated. I hope she finds similar work in New Zealand.

11.  Joy and I will spend three weeks in Austria and Switzerland next month. I will be back in NZ for several weeks in late October/early November, and will no doubt catch up with a few of you during that trip.

12.  I want to thank those of you who supported Nvader financially and those who supported Joy and I through emails, visits, gifts from NZ and in other ways. Living and working in this sector in a foreign country has caused us to focus our lives on what is truly important to us: meaningful personal relationships and making our world a better place. I do not regret my time here.

13.  Despite the circumstances that led to my resignation, I continue to have confidence in the operational work of Nvader. They are a talented team, achieving considerably more than peer organisations, so if you are willing to do so, I would encourage you to continue to support Nvader financially. It is money well spent.

Kind regards Ralph