Human trafficking destroys the fabric of communities, says CCA consultation

Posted on November 17th, 2016

ht-img_1722Participants of the Asia Regional consultation on human trafficking in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

A communiqué adopted at the end of a regional consultation organised by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) on the ‘Criminalization of Human Trafficking and Its impact on Women and Children’ stated, “Trafficking in persons denies the sacred worth of God’s children and destroys the fabric of our communities. Victims endure psychological trauma, physical injury, economic hardship and stigmatization that can create lifelong scars and barriers for full participation in one’s community. Human trafficking is a result of disregard for human dignity”.

The participants of the consultation called for stricter law enforcement mechanisms, prohibiting the sexual exploitation of women and children.

The consultation also emphasized the need for more concrete measures to address the problem as a community, with human dignity based on Christ’s calling being the center and inspiration in serving others.

The consultation, held from 14-17 November 2016 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, focused on identifying the root causes and challenges of human trafficking, especially the plight of women and children in Asia.

About 40 participants attended the consultation from various Asian countries.

Communiqué

About 40 participants representing member churches, national ecumenical councils and other organisations across Asia gathered together in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 14 to 17 November 2016 for the Asia Regional Consultation on the theme ‘Criminalization of Human Trafficking and Its Impact on Women and Children: Towards an Ecumenical Advocacy’, organised  by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA).

During the three days of deliberations at the consultation, participants heard about the vulnerable situations of trafficked person in various contexts in Asia, with analyses and presentations by experts, social and human rights activists, as well as country situations presented by representatives from different countries. The participants were also enriched by the biblical and theological perspectives shared, which helped analyse and deepen the role of Christians in protecting the rights and dignity of people who are vulnerable to trafficking.

Among the particular challenges faced by Asian countries with regards to human trafficking, the extreme and inhumane situations of trafficked persons became evident, in which human life is reduced to a mere object, a commodity.

Asia has emerged as a key source of origin, transit and destination point for global trafficking of women and children and therefore, the participants affirm the value of this initiative by the CCA and pray that similar efforts will be carried out at all levels to support and encourage the Churches to accompany in their effort to empower all sectors in society, especially women, to combat human trafficking in Asia and across the globe.

Human Trafficking:  A result of disregard for human dignity

Human trafficking is a crime fueled by global poverty, inadequate education and opportunity, ethnic discrimination and societal inequity between men and women; and by the demand for cheap labour and sexual exploitation. Poverty, illiteracy, globalization, gender bias, patriarchy, a lack of positive media role, a lack of maintenance of law and order, lacuna in legal matter (Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act), and a lack of advocacy have increased the vulnerability of women, transgender persons, young adult, boys and girls as victims of human trafficking. It is a crime that transcends cultures, class and geography.

Poverty made worse by greed, working for personal interests which abandons responsibility towards other people, and lack of compassion contributes to the worsening living conditions throughout the Asian continent.

Trafficking in persons denies the sacred worth of God’s children and destroys the fabric of our communities. Victims endure psychological trauma, physical injury, economic hardship and stigmatization that can create lifelong scars and barriers for full participation in one’s community. Human trafficking is a result of disregard for human dignity.

As mentioned in the Bible, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.” (Isaiah 1:17). The broad composition of the Christian faith faces challenges to side with the oppressed, the victims of human trafficking. These conditions of poverty make people vulnerable to abuse and exploitation in different forms. The types of human trafficking range from a broad spectrum, some committed with unimaginable cruelty. Women and children, in particular, face this vulnerability.

The participants of this consultation deplore all forms of the commercialization and exploitation of sex, with their consequent degradation of human personality. To lose freedom and be sold by someone else for sexual purposes is a form of slavery. They also denounce this strongly and support the abused and their right to freedom.

Call for Urgent Action

The participants of the consultation call for:

  • Stricter global enforcement of laws prohibiting sexual exploitation and use of children by adults and encourage efforts to hold perpetrators legally and financially responsible;
  • Concrete measures to address the problem as a community with human dignity based on Christ’s calling being the center and inspiration in serving others;
  • Churches to maximize resources and exert more effort in combating human trafficking and other harsh living conditions;
  • The church community to come together in solidarity to fight against the inhuman and cruel act of human trafficking.

The participants appeal that:

  1. The Church community, especially women, join hands in organizing various fora on human trafficking. This is a significant way to educate our constituency on the realities of human trafficking and its impact especially to women and children. Maximize Biblico-theological resources that uphold human dignity and worth as people created in God’s own image;
  2. Advocate for the passage of laws against traffickers; call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting sexual exploitation and use of children by adults and hold perpetrators legally responsible;
  3. Partner with women advocacy organizations, the United Nations, and other local law enforcement agencies dealing with human trafficking;
  4. Organise church bodies and inter-faith movements on local, national, regional and global levela in order to establish alliances to fight human trafficking;
  5. Address the root causes of human trafficking to be able to work for a justice system that restores victims and punishes perpetrators, and also work to change the country and global economic structures and policies that create the conditions in which human trafficking thrives.
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