The fight against human trafficking is not just a numbers game

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(John J. Studzinski, a Journalist of ‘AMERICA, the Jesuit Review’, writes about the work of OSR sisters in Manila, Philippines. Given below are some excerpts from the article followed by the link to read the full article)

“It was a humid, electric evening, like any other in Manila. Our little team huddled in the back of a battered old van, headed to a part of the city known for its upmarket hotels and its brothels. It is a destination for many desperate young women (and some men) seeking to sell their bodies in the hope of building a better life for themselves and their families.”

“We were with three Redemptorist sisters, who had allowed us to shadow them as they carried out their ministry to prostituted women. For at least 20 years they had been going to red light districts to offer what help they could. We followed, as the sisters in their simple blue habits walked past two bouncers guarding a brothel. As we entered, a group of beautiful Filipino women in brightly coloured dresses ran toward the sisters, embracing them like long-lost siblings. We were ushered into a room where the sisters would be less likely to distract from the business of the brothel, and we watched as fellowship was shared.” […]

“The skeptical reader might question the value of spending time with exploited women in a brothel. But every frontline abolitionist I know insists on the value of building a trusting relationship with victims and survivors. These gateway initiatives pave the way for an array of other services offered by the church, including shelters, rehabilitation programs, awareness-raising, advocacy and other preventive work. Many of these projects are underdeveloped, and most do not receive funding beyond their congregations, where resources are scarce. The church’s full potential as a force against exploitation is far from being realized.” […]

“It is too often assumed that women religious will just keep doing this work, against the odds and with little support. They get a paternal pat on the head but are rarely seen as an important voice at the table or worthy of serious resources. We constantly hear from sisters and others who are keen to expand the scope of their invaluable projects but who need their work to be further enabled.”

“We have an opportunity to put matters to rights: by taking it upon ourselves to raise the profile of the courageous members of our own Catholic community who undertake frontline accompaniment and by helping the international community to appreciate work that prioritizes the needs of the individual over the demands of the funding community. Let us seize these opportunities so that we can realize our church’s phenomenal potential to make slavery history.” […]

To read the full article please click the link below,

https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/11/15/fight-against-human-trafficking-not-just-numbers-game

John J. Studzinski, AMERICA, the Jesuit Review

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