MANILA, Dec. 9, 2014 — More coordination among sectors is a smart way to address human trafficking, says a priest.
“As a small step, I think, it would be best to have the coordination of the parish and the barangay for this purpose as cases like these are rampant in their levels where parents themselves sold their children to be slaves,” said Fr. Jerome R. Secillano, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA).
According to Secillano, bishops of the various dioceses may even institutionalize such coordination by creating a new ministry or committee that will respond to this problem.
Despite the 2014 Global Slavery Index which reveals the Philippines as ranking first in Asia in terms of government response to slavery, the priest stressed that the “high incidence of poverty, the rampancy of corruption, and the proliferation of drugs”, all make the job of stomping out human trafficking a difficult feat.
For Secillano, the issue needs to be addressed, not just by institutions tasked to protect and uphold human dignity, but also by the concerted efforts of all sectors.
“It is, therefore, a great challenge for the government and the Church to devise strategies that will prevent slavery from happening,” the priest explained.
“In the Philippines, we have an organization of different faiths committed to combating slavery. The Philippine Inter-Faith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT) has been doing the rounds to promote awareness of the issue and with help from government and non-government organizations to report, apprehend and prosecute those involved in this modern-day scourge,” Secillano shared. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)