18 November 2017
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  • » 11/06/2017, 11.56


    Manila, Nun campaigns against Human Trafficking

    Santosh Digal

    Human Trafficking is a profitable business, involving a large network of organized crime associations. Women and children in indigenous communities and remote areas are the most vulnerable. The experience of the Visayan Forum Foundation and Sister Cecil Espenilla's commitment to fighting the phenomenon. 

    Manila (AsiaNews) - Sister Cecil Espenilla (photo), a Dominican religious of St. Catherine of Siena, for several years has devoted her mission to victims of trafficking in peop Human Trafficking le and modern slavery in the Philippines.

    "For this to be possible public awareness programs are needed through education and campaigns with local governments, religious organizations, civil society groups, religious congregations and dioceses, public and private training institutes, women's movements."

    The Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF), headquartered in Manila, is a home for survivors of trafficking. This is one of the many centers that collaborate with Sister Cecil, where the religious regularly conducts training programs. Crizel, one of the girls housed in the facility, arrived in Manila accompanied by an acquaintance, promising a job as a domestic collaborator. The young girl was instead sold as a prostitute. With the help of some local people and police, VFF rescued Crizel, who is now attending the rehabilitation and a vocational training program.

    Thank God, VFF rescued me before it becomes too late. I have found a new dawn in life," Crizel told Asianews. She is happy to be at VFF and looking forward to a safe future. "I have found new strength and beauty in myself, my worth and dignity. It is a home for moving forward with hope, courage, and conviction," Crizel added. "Faith leaders, social workers, government officials, police, and the public are needed to remain vigilant and protect human trafficking in the country and everywhere. Zero tolerance on human trafficking should be the goal," she suggested.

    "We must raise our voice against modern slavery and trafficking in human beings," says Sister Cecil. "The dignity of the human person is the reason for our commitment to all this. We are all creatures of God. We must respect each other. Human life is sacred. The dignity of the human being is the foundation of a moral vision of society. "

    Trafficking in persons is a profitable business, involving a large network of organized crime associations. Sr. Cecil's wish is that justice does not abandon the victims of trafficking; that survivors may have the courage to carry out long and traumatic trials; lawyers and judges do not give up the temptation to accept bribes to protect and absolve traffickers; that traffickers and criminal organizations convert and become opposed to slavery.


    She is touring far and wide of the country in order to conduct awareness on human trafficking and giving training in parents, people and students and teachers of schools, universities, local government unit officials, clergy and religions of dioceses, police. In recent months, she has conducted training and awareness programmes against human trafficking in the dioceses of Bukidnon, Zamboanga, Samar, Masbate, Butuan, and Novaliches. "Combating human trafficking needs a comprehensive response of multiple sectors. One cannot do it alone. It has to be a collective effort," the nun noted. She and her associates of various shelter houses for survivors of human trafficking are committed to rescuing, rehabilitation and reintegration providing them psychosocial and spiritual care, vocational training and human formation.

    Between April 1 and December 31, 2016, the Philippine authorities conducted 553 investigations into human trafficking cases, including 109 surveillance operations. However, non-governmental organizations say the number might be higher. Forced labor and the sex market are a serious problem in the Philippines. Women and children from indigenous communities and remote areas of the country are the most vulnerable categories. Human trafficking takes on different forms, such as submission to domestic servitude, forced farming, small-scale labor, and prostitution in locations such as Manila, Cebu, Luzon and Mindanao. The exploitation of prostitution, including child sex trafficking, is widespread in tourist areas such as Boracay, Angeles City, Olongapo, Puerto Galera and Surigao, where there is a strong demand.

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    See also

    11/11/2004 PHILIPPINES
    Family and friends push children into prostitution
    Report denounces child prostitution: 60,000, perhaps 100,000 children involved.

    27/10/2005 PHILIPPINES
    Provide the poor with electricity, says Filipino priest
    Fr Aldrin Suan hopes the authorities will take the necessary measures to encourage the poor to stop stealing electricity or using dangerous alternatives.

    06/10/2009 PHILIPPINES
    Church aid for Manila flood victims
    Two weeks after the passage of tropical storm Ketsana Caritas Philippines provides food for a value of 400 thousand Euros to 10 thousand families in the capital.

    13/11/2009 PHILIPPINES
    Typhoons: 300 thousand Filipino families still need help
    Church and Catholic organizations provide food to the flood affected population. So far a total of 1.6 million spent. Archbishop of Manila: "Do not just pray for the flood victims, we must comfort them and help them start over."

    08/10/2009 PHILIPPINES
    Thousands of Catholic students assist flood victims
    Every day the students from 15 Catholic institutions distribute food and basic necessities to the population affected by the storm Ketsana. Over 375 thousand people are still in emergency shelters; damage to agriculture and infrastructure amounts to 93 million euros. The government admits "gross negligence" in the management of assistance.

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