By Santosh Digal
Manila: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Philippines (CBCP) launched a new forum to fight human trafficking in the country.
Bishop Ruperto Cruz Santos of Balanga diocese and chairman of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) inaugurated the newly formed “Catholic Church Network Against Human Trafficking” (CNAHT) at CBCP premises on July 27.
About 100 people attended the program.
CNAHT is committed to work for human dignity for and with those who have become victims of human trafficking, Bishop Santos said.
CNAHT is a joint venture of ECMI, Commission on Youth, Office on Women, Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, Talitha Kum, an organization of Catholic women established by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) in 2009, in partnership with other civil society groups that work reduce the rapid spread of human trafficking.
CNAHT will be parent body at the national level spearheaded by CBCP and its subsidiary bodies will be created in every diocese and later if possible in every parish in order to curb the menace of human trafficking, Marial Lea P. Dasigan of CBCP youth office said. She is one of the team members that give orientation and seminars to Catholics on human trafficking.
“CNAHT’s main job is to coordinate activities, training programs and monitor action plans of each diocese in order to stop human trafficking as much as possible. We will strengthen our efforts on prevention, prosecution against human trafficking and enhance our commitment to provide relief and rehabilitation programmes to victims of human trafficking in a holistic manner,” Dasigan added.
From June 2016 to February 2017, there are about 341 cases of human trafficking and forced labour of 300 are reported, according to government sources.
However, Dasigan said there might be more cases of human trafficking in many parts of the country. Most of the cases go unreported, she added.