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Pinay on Indo death row was ‘trafficked’—faith groups

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QUEZON City, April 19, 2015—Begging the Indonesian government to “let Mary Jane Veloso go,” an alliance of faith-based, anti-human trafficking groups has added its voice to the growing plea to save the Filipina migrant worker on death row in the Muslim country for alleged drug smuggling, claiming she was just a victim of human trafficking.

Citing credible reports, the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT), a movement spearheaded by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), believes the 30-year old single mother from Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija was a victim of human trafficking.

Victimized

“She was duped into transporting drugs to the [Indonesia]. Coming from a poor peasant family, Mary Jane was desperate to provide a better life for her two sons and her parents,” it laments in an official statement.

“While we are relieved that legal remedies are now being undertaken and the execution has been stayed temporarily, these are mainly windows of opportunity to unite in solidarity with Mary Jane and join hands in praying and seeking her release. Her pain is our pain. Her family’s pain is our pain,” it says.

According to PIMAHT, human trafficking is a scourge that thrives on the vulnerability of poor people who have no other recourse but to “clinging to a knife’s edge” (kapit sa patalim) in order to survive.

“As churches, we value God’s gift of life and we raise our voices in prayer and appeal to the Philippine government to exert all the efforts for her life to be spared. We also extend our plea to the Indonesian government to heed the growing voices in the country and within the international community to grant her clemency,” the coalition shares.

Catching traffickers

“We also urge our government to ensure that people who prey on the vulnerable are taken into custody and charged immediately to avoid any more potential victims and that justice be served for those who abuse others for profit,” it adds.

As a faith-based movement that is against human trafficking in all its forms, PIMAHT notes its call for clemency rests on Jesus Christ’s promise of “abundant life for all.”

“In the fulfillment of that promise, we denounce any acts that deny the same. We consider such acts as things that encourages robbery, that kills and that seeks to destroy (John 10:8-10),” it stresses. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)


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