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”.
February 8, 2018 – On the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita, designated by Pope Francis as a day of prayer, reflection and action to end human trafficking, we join the Holy Father in praying that “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”.
Yesterday, during his general audience, Pope Francis appealed for concerted action against human trafficking by civil society and institutions.
We take this opportunity to share that the Trees of Hope campaign resulted in a mini-forest of almost 60 trees. The campaign was launched on July 30, 2017, during the ceremony for the signing of a joint declaration by faith leaders in Malaysia, organised by the Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur in collaboration with the CRMS. The faith leaders were the first to light the virtual Trees of Hope and by the end of the campaign, 5,904 people had lit a leaf, taking a first concrete action against human trafficking.
July 30, 2017 – On UN World Day of Human Trafficking, faith leaders in Malaysia signed a joint declaration against human trafficking in Kuala Lumpur. Standing together, they declared:
Inter-Faith Joint Declaration against Human Trafficking
Inspired by our confessions of faith, we, the undersigned, stand together today in solidarity with the millions of people who have been trafficked and enslaved.
In our religions, every girl, boy, woman and man is a free person, and all exist for the good of all in equality and fraternity. That people are trafficked and exploited physically, economically, sexually and psychologically for the profit, benefit and pleasure of others goes against the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity.
Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. It is a scourge that must be eradicated.
Thus, we pledge today to do everything in our power, within our faith communities and beyond, to fight against human trafficking and to work for the freedom of those who have been trafficked and enslaved, that their dignity may be restored and that they may once again have reason to hope.
READ ABOUT THE EVENT
CLICK HERE TO LIGHT UP THE TREES OF HOPE! treesofhope.info
This Lent, join us in standing in solidarity with trafficked people.
We invite you to join us in praying a Way of the Cross that is a reflection on human trafficking. We ask you to gather with friends or pray on your own using special reflections on human trafficking for each week of Lent. The Way of the Cross and reflection leaflets can be found here.
You may also wish to say a rosary for victims of trafficking. Special rosary prayers based on the Sorrowful Mysteries of Christ can be downloaded here.
Wishing you God’s grace and mercy during your Lenten journey.
26 July 2016 – Malaysian authorities need to prosecute more human trafficking cases if they are serious about tackling the problem, NGO leaders said Tuesday as a U.S. ambassador at-large who specializes on the issue was visiting the country.
Representatives of several local NGOs voiced such concerns during a Monday night meeting in Kuala Lumpur with Susan Coppedge, the U.S. State Department’s envoy for the monitoring and combating of human trafficking, according to one of them. They also told Coppedge about their frustration over a lack of official follow-up after last year’s discovery of scores of graves in the jungles of northern Perlis state that held the remains of smuggled people.
“We feel that we can have all the laws on trafficking that we want in Malaysia, but if there is not enough implementation on the ground, nothing is going to work,” Sumitha Shaanthinni Kishna, coordinator of the Migration Working Group, one of the NGOs, told BenarNews.
“That’s what we told her, we are more concerned on what’s being implemented on the ground rather than what being put on paper.”
Read the full story in BenarNews: Malaysian NGOs Demand Government Action on Human Trafficking
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
Join people of faith all over the world in a global day of worship, prayer and action on human trafficking. In Australia, Freedom Sunday is on October 18, which is also European Anti-Trafficking Day.
Encourage your parish or faith community to show your compassion for the men, women and children who have been trafficked and exploited around the world.
Pray the Freedom Prayer.
RESPONSE: God of Freedom, who leads us into life, deliver us from every evil and make us deliverers of others.
On this holy ground of worship, In this sacred place of prayer, we have heard the voice of freedom crying ‘Let my people go’. [R]
Where chains restrain God’s children, where humans trade in kin and skin, may your words pass on your promise of a land where liberty is sweet. [R]
Give us faith to face the pharaohs who line their pockets from this plague. Send us as salvation’s sponsors, willing servants; slaves to love. [R]
More information as well as resources for Freedom Sunday can be found here.