The Philippine Catholic Church fortifies it commitment to stop trafficking in persons through its bold step of gathering more than 70 delegates from 17 dioceses nationwide for an intensive training course on trafficking in persons. Organized by the Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) represented by its President, Most Rev. Leopoldo Jaucian, SVD, DD and Talitha Kum- the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons represented by its International Coordinator, Sr. Estrella Castalone, FMA and Asia Coordinator, Sr. Maria Victoria P. Sta. Ana, FMA, this project aims to empower the youth ministers to stop this modern-day slavery.
Experts and well-known counter trafficking advocates lead the provided significant inputs in this 5-day training course held from April 20 to 24, 2015 in Lipa City. They were: Ms. Sally Ujano (National Coordinator of Philippines Against Child Trafficking - PACT); Ms. Jean Enriquez (Executive Director of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women in Asia Pacific- CATWAP); and Sr. Henedina Mananzan from the Religious of Good Shepherd. The Laura Vicuña Foundation’s experiences on Protection, Prevention and Partnership strategies in Counter Trafficking were also presented by its Executive Director Sr. Maria Victoria P. Sta. Ana, FMA. The very rich and interactive discussions harnessed the potentials of youth ministers toward the prevention and protection of children, minors and youth from the grim reality of trafficking in persons specifically in the dioceses which are disaster prone, i.e. frequently devastated by natural calamities: typhoons, earthquakes, floods, landslides.
Four bishops who diligently completed the four-day session namely: Most Rev. Guillermo Afable, DD, Most Rev. Ricardo Baccay, DD, Most Rev. Romulo Dela Cruz, DD, and Most Rev. Buenaventura Famadico, DD served as inspiration for the youth ministers to be well-informed, courageous, daring, innovative, vigilant and be Christ-centered and ecclesial in their response in counter-acting human trafficking.
In order to address the reality of trafficking at the diocesan level, some of the commitments were:
- 1) conduct advocacy and awareness program on Human Trafficking in schools, parishes and communities;
- 2) strengthen partnership and networking with LGUS, NGOs and like-minded organizations addressing the issue of trafficking in persons (TIP);
- 3) integrate TIP issue of trafficking in persons in their existing programs and formations for youth;
- 4) cascade this training course to their youth leaders;
- 5) create a special council or committee that will focus on TIP and extend services to TIP survivors such us identifying victims and open dialogue with them;
- 6) extend volunteer services to NGOs that serve trafficked victims such as Laura Vicuña and ECPAT;
- 7) conduct interfaith dialogue to solidify effort of the church against human trafficking;
- 8) conduct research and training of volunteers and advocates; and,
- 9) monitor the implementation of these action plans.
The training course was concluded with a show of commitment and strong conviction of implementing their plans to the following dioceses that were represented in this training course: Archdiocese of Tuguegarao; Archdiocese of Jaro; Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, Archdiocese of Manila, Diocese of Kalibo, Archdiocese of Zamboanga, Diocese of Legazpi, Archdiocese of Palo, Prelature of Isabela de Basilan, Diocese of Malolos, Diocese of Daet, Archdiocese of Davao, Diocese of Cubao, Archdiocese of Cebu, Diocese of Digos, Diocese of San Pablo, and the Archdiocese of San Fernando.