Catholic, Protestant, evangelical, and other Christian churches offered an “integrated response” to help government address the causes of trafficking.
The Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking seeks to coordinate programs and share resources at the grassroots level to fight trafficking.
“The religious leaders can really help a lot in educating our people and raising their awareness about this problem. Our country now is being burned by this issue which is not that common to the public. It will bring down our morality if we will still remain uneducated on the issue and will not find a solution to it,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said.
He noted trafficking victimizes some 300,000 Filipinos, mostly women and children, and even aboriginal girls and women.
Pabillo chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ National Secretariat for Social Action.
For his part, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches Bishop Efraim Tendero said this team-up seeks to boost the existing fight against such “crime.”
Tendero lamented many of the victims are often from the marginalized sectors that even include tribal children and women.
“We can be a strong force that can help the government and other organizations to finally put an end to this problem,” Tendero said.
Pabillo said the interfaith group also seeks to strengthen human trafficking rehabilitation programs, and bring hope to victims.
“There are many groups who are doing this already so we just need to coordinate all these efforts including the prosecution of human traffickers,” he said.
The CBCP quoted human rights agency International Justice Mission (IJM) as saying human trafficking is a “lucrative business” that is why “lure of this kind of enterprise is quiet strong” across the world.
“This is a commodity that can be sold for profit and can be sold repeatedly. The profit margin can be quiet strikingly high,” it quoted IJM national director Andrey Sawchenko as saying.
Also, the CBCP said the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report showed human trafficking in the Philippines is caused by “endemic poverty, a high unemployment rate, a cultural propensity toward migration, a weak rule-of-law environment, and sex tourism.” — VC, GMA News