February 20, 2018 – In its January meeting, the Conference of Religious Major Superiors (CRMS) Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei formalised the inauguration of Arise, the CRMS desk for dissemination of information and coordination of anti-human trafficking initiatives between Institutes of Consecrated Life and their ministries across the three countries.
The idea for Arise had been conceived at the Southeast Asia Major Superiors Congress in Pattaya in December 2016, and discussed in CRMS meetings in 2017. In November, several religious and lay collaborators met in Kuala Lumpur to plan how Arise could work. One immediate outcome was the participation of three lay representatives at the Talitha Kum Asia meeting later that month.
The Arise desk will work in close partnership with the Global Shepherd network, and has joined the Talitha Kum network. It will also collaborate with local Church leadership and NGOs.
The CRMS has mandated Arise to organise an annual programme of awareness and engagement with the local Church and wider community, sponsored by CRMS, to commence in late 2018.
We continue to pray, as Pope Francis recently asked, “that the Lord may convert the hearts of traffickers … and give those who are caught in this shameful scourge the realistic hope of regaining their freedom”.
December 12, 2016 – Catholic religious from six countries in Southeast Asia have made a joint declaration against human trafficking. This commitment was made as the 72 delegates from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand concluded a meeting on “Integrity of the Human Person vis-à-vis Human Trafficking” held in Pattaya, Thailand from November 5 to 9.
They pledged to motivate and inspire their communities to fight for the freedom of all those who are trafficked and enslaved; to work with civil authorities, international and local NGOs, other faith communities and other people of good will to eradicate human trafficking; and to do all in their power to ensure that the dignity of victims of trafficking is restored, and to give them reason to hope.
On 30 June 2016, the US State Department released its 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The ranking of both Malaysia and Singapore are unchanged. Malaysia remains in the Tier 2 Watch List and Singapore in Tier 2.
This means that the US State Department believes that the governments of the two countries do not fully meet the minimum standards for fighting human trafficking but are making significant efforts to do so. (About the TIP Report)
Malaysian NGO Tenaganita that combating human trafficking is not a priority for Malaysians. Its programme director Aegile Fernandez, “It’s not a priority agenda for Malaysia. It’s not just the government of the day, but if you look at even the opposition parties, if you look at Malaysians as a whole. We seem to turn a blind eye, turn a deaf ear to what is happening.” (The Star)
10 March 2016 – The Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking-in-Persons (TIP) has launched a National Approach against TIP, built on the National Plan of Action which guided its anti-TIP efforts from 2012 to 2015.
The National Approach sets out the key strategies and desired outcomes to guide Taskforce agencies and stakeholders in their plans to combat TIP over the next 10 years. The four outcomes are as follows:
- Prevention: A public that is aware of TIP crimes and actively takes steps to prevent, combat and suppress TIP; government officials and stakeholders who are well-trained, competent and professional in identifying and dealing with TIP cases.
- Prosecution: An effective end-to-end criminal justice response to TIP crimes, involving comprehensive investigations and prosecution of all offenders who may be involved in trafficking or the exploitation of victims.
- Protection: An appropriate victim care and support framework that looks after the needs of all victims of trafficking.
- Partnership: A strong ecosystem comprising both domestic and international stakeholders to put forth a whole-of-Singapore response against TIP
Press release: Launch of Singapore’s New National Approach Against Trafficking-In-Persons
National Approach against Trafficking in Persons
On 21 November 2015, Asean leaders signed the Asean Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP). This document establishes a clear and precise legal framework for the Asean region to address the complex issue of trafficking in persons.
The three principal objectives of ACTIP are:
- PREVENT and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children;
- PROTECT and assist human trafficking victims with full respect for their human rights; and,
- PROMOTE cooperation among the relevant parties.
Download the Asean Convention Against Trafficking in Persons here: http://www.asean.org/images/2015/November/actip/ACTIP.PDF
Opinion piece in Malaysia’s New Straits Times: http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/11/113864/tackling-scourge-human-trafficking-rings
August 6, 2015 – As part of the international Year of Consecrated Life, the Catholic Religious in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei have ramped up their collaborative efforts to fight human trafficking. With the assistance of a collaborator, they created this website to spread the word about human trafficking and to make the materials they have developed available to a wider audience. The website, http://saynotohumantrafficking.info, went live on July 30, UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
The Religious priests, sisters and brothers also moved from raising awareness to urging action by committing to urge Catholics in their ministries to pray a Rosary Against Human Trafficking. The special rosary prayers are based on the Sorrowful Mysteries of Christ, and can be downloaded here.
“This is part of our prophetic stance as a voice for the voiceless,” said Franciscan Friar John Wong, CRMS President. “In this Year of Consecrated Life, it is all the more important that Catholic Religious stand in solidarity with all who are suffering, and to speak out on behalf of the women, men and children who are caught up in the net of modern day slavery.”