Singapore (AsiaNews) - In the context of initiatives for the Year of Consecrated Life, Catholics in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei have launched a special campaign against human trafficking, a phenomenon that is closely related to their own region of South- East Asia.
To spread awareness of the phenomenon and its impact, the religious of the three countries have launched a website studying the theme and inviting the faithful to pray the Rosary with this special intention.
The recitation of the Rosary is based on the sorrowful mysteries and the whole prayer can be read and downloaded from the new website created for the initiative of Catholics against human trafficking, at http://saynotohumantrafficking.info . The website has been online since July 30, to coincide with the United Nations World Day against this modern form of slavery.
Last month, during a meeting which in Johor Bahr (Malaysia), the Conference of Religious of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei (CRMS) unanimously approved the recitation of the Rosary and the launch of the website. They are part of the initiatives promoted by CRMS against human trafficking, a very topical problem.
In fact, recently Malaysian police uncovered a new mass grave containing the bodies of 24 illegal immigrants. The grave was discovered in the state of Perlis, near the border with Thailand, not far from the other site where 139 bodies were discovered last May.
According to authorities the 24 corpses belong to migrants kidnapped and held in horrific conditions in detention camps hidden from reach by criminal gangs, pending payment of a ransom for their release.
In recent months the dramatic story of thousands of boat people in the seas of Southeast Asia has emerged in all of its brutality. The vast majority are migrant workers from Bangladesh and Muslim Rohingyas fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
Even the Asian Church is committed to vigorously combatting this phenomenon, which last December Pope Francis described as a "abhorrent crime". Commenting on the initiative, Fr. John Wong, a Franciscan monk and President of CRMS, stressed that it is part of "our prophetic stance that wants to give voice to the voiceless." And in the year dedicated to Consecrated Life it is even more important that Catholics "are in solidarity with those who suffer" and speak on behalf of "women, men and children who have fallen into the net of modern slavery".