MANILA, Feb. 7 2017– Catholic bishops continue to tackle the problem of human trafficking as four Church agencies have teamed up in a renewed effort to work together in the fight against modern slavery.
Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), said the collaboration was critical to combat a booming illegal industry of human trafficking.
“Through this (collaboration), we will have the ways and means to rebuild their (victims of human trafficking) lives,” Santos said.
The bishop made the call on Feb. 6 at a consultation and training workshop attended by leaders of the Commissions on Social Action, Youth, Women and Migrants.
Held two days before the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of victims of human slavery and trafficking, the meeting was also attended by representatives of some dioceses in Metro Manila and different religious groups who are working in the migrants ministry.
He emphasized that through complimentary action the Church could maximize resources and make a united effort against the traffickers.
The initiative will also focus on broader education campaign about human trafficking and wider support for victims through spiritual and social services.
“Pope Francis is urging us to ‘provide victims with welcome, human warmth and the possibility of building a new life’ and that is what we are doing today,” said Santos.
Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the bishops’ youth ministry, said they are committed to fight the problem in a country which have been a known source of trafficked persons in the world.
Most of the victims including women and children are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.
“We all have to work together to totally remove this from our society,” Garganta said. (R.Lagarde/CBCPNews)