The president of the Filipino bishops' Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People, Msgr. Ruperto Santos, responds to the new government that wants to include human trafficking in the list of crimes punishable with death. Trafficking "is a barbaric act that violates the very nature of man. But it is fought with serious investigation and severe punishment, up to life imprisonment. No man can kill another man in the name of the law".
Manila (AsiaNews) - The trafficking of human beings "is an abhorrent trade that should be fought with serious investigation and severe punishment. Traffickers should not be fined, but given life imprisonment. This does not mean that we can speak of the death penalty: man can not take the life of another man in the name of the law”, says the president of the Filipino bishops' Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People, Msgr. Ruperto Santos, hoping for a "majority" of the government's commitment to stop trafficking.
There is a system of trafficking in human beings within the Philippines that has reached alarming proportions, "There are agencies which are 'fly by night', which are nothing more than extortion centers. These agencies must be closed, their property seized and the money accumulated in the compensation given to trafficking victims as compensation for the damage they have suffered".
But this, the prelate said in response to a hypothesis advanced by some officials of the new government, "does not mean that we should speak of the death penalty for offenders. Employing illegal workers is a hideous crime, which should be defeated with serious investigation and severe punishment. Those guilty should be handed down a life sentence, not the scaffold. "
Tens of thousands of workers leave the Philippines every year in search of a job with which to support their family. The most popular arrival nations are the Gulf countries, Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea. But over the years there have been countless cases of violence, embezzlement and exploitation suffered by these employees often beginning with the recruitment agencies.
These often "sequester" the migrant's passport immediately on arrival at destination, and demand "compensation" for travel expenses which can be up to five years worth of a salary. In addition, many traffickers collaborate with unscrupulous employers who use cheap labor for dangerous jobs - such as those in the mines or on building sites - or illegal such as prostitution and drug dealing.
Trafficking in human beings, Msgr. Santos concludes "is the most cruel and brutal act that a man can commit against fellow man. It violates human dignity and wipes out the rights inherent in our nature. Forcing innocent people to live a life of fear and violence. It is a barbarism that has to stop".