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Caritas adding ‘more teeth’ to anti-trafficking drive

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MANILA, Nov. 22, 2012— Catholic Church-based advocates against in human trafficking in Asia are currently in the Philippines to discuss initiatives and strengthen their campaign.

Organized by Caritas Asia, the meeting and planning workshop on the regional program on Anti-Trafficking of Women and Children, which started yesterday, will end on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

It is currently being held at the National Secretariat for Social Action’s (Nassa) Basic Ecclesial Community Development Center in Tagaytay City.

Zar Gomez, Caritas Asia regional coordinator, said the meeting primarily aims to review the regional anti-trafficking program.

“…so that we may be able to assess where we are now, after several years of holding the program, and see how else to proceed and better ourselves from our present standing,” Gomez said.

“It also aims to beef up and add more teeth to our existing initiatives in our respective countries regarding the trafficking/involuntary migration issues in our region,” he said.

Gomez added that the meeting will open opportunities for the participants to learn from one another and gain more competence and capacity in responding to trafficking in humans and migration issues.

“We want to produce a solid action plan on further strengthening and reinvigorating our program on anti-trafficking,” according to him.

Gomez stressed the need for a strengthened program because the illegal trade in human beings for forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation remains a big problem in Asia.

“Trafficking is still a big issue in Asia, and as such we deem it necessary to further hone our capacities as a Caritas confederation in the region, particularly in responding to the problems and issues brought about by the numerous cases of trafficking in our region,” he said.

Nassa, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, has been leading the Church’s campaign to crack down on human trafficking in the country.

The agency believes that the Church must be actively involved in the campaign and called on Catholic charities to help victims of human trafficking.

Along with assisting victims, Nassa’s Anti-Human Trafficking Program said dioceses and parishes must also be out in the community to bring awareness to the issue. (RL/CBCPNews)


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