Wednesday, 26 February 2014

 (Asian Movement of Women Religious Against Human Trafficking),
AMRAT Regional Meet at Jashpur, Chattishgarh, India
16th Feb – 19th

Pope Francis said . “Trafficking in persons is a despicable activity, a disgrace to our society that calls itself 'civilized'!” He called upon the international community to find “effective initiatives and new approaches for safeguarding their dignity, improving their quality of life and for facing the challenges emerging from modern forms of persecution, oppression and slavery.” (Pope Francis, Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, May 24, 2013)
Trafficking between Indian states is rising due to increased mobility, rapid urbanization, and a growth in a number of industries that use forced labor such as construction, textiles, etc. An increasing number of job placement agencies lure adults and children for sex trafficking or forced labor, including domestic servitude, under false promises of employment. Chattishgarh is one of the states of origin from where women, children and girls are being trafficked. It is the fact to note  that  there are AMRAT members, the  women religious actively work against trafficking in persons  by creating awareness, rescuing and rehabilitating the trafficked persons.
 As  planned  the IXth AMRAT Meet  was held for the regional coordinators, executive members and sisters  working for this  cause. The meeting was  in  Asha Deep, the Social Service Society , the Jesuit centre at Pathalgaon in Jaspur district in Chattishgarh.  There were 20 sisters from 10 congregations from Mumbai, Delhi, Jharkhand  and Chattishgarh.
Srs.Annie Jesus and Emelda FMM welcomed  the sisters  with  colourful  traditional tribal dance  of the place performed by animators and the students of Kansabel .They beautifully enacted the evolution of tribals history and their development in their lives by the interventions of missionaries. The meeting began with official welcome by Sr.Sahaya FMM the president of AMRAT.
Rev.Fr.Agapit Tirkey .S.J. the resource person of the day dealt with topic on Safe migration. He explained about the trafficking  and unsafe migration leading to sex trade and labour exploitations. 
On the 2nd day  Srs.Jyoti BS and Sr.Sahaya FMM briefed about the history of AMRAT with the help of video clips and power point pretensions. Then the regional coordinators presented their report which was   inspiring. The group discussion  brought in a variety of insights and reflections which led to the Action Plan for the year.
At the end of the meeting all the participants expressed their joy of being part of AMRAT and promised to extend their collaboration in implementation of the action plan.

At  every night documentaries on human trafficking was viewed to the participants.
Each person forced into slavery has a unique story—a story of struggles, hopes and dreams.
This  is what  we witnessed as we heard the tearful stories of the young girls who were trafficked  and rescued by  Sr.Annie FMM and her staff .During the exposure visit we interacted with these girls. It was heart breaking to hear their sad stories.
All the participants appreciated the great work carried out by the FMM sisters at Kansable in spite of all the hardships and opposition even to the extent of threat to their lives. The meeting ended with the short picnic to the Sangam.
Let our prayer be............(Proverbs 31:8-9) teaches us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Thanks to Sr.Annie FMM and her community for organising such inspiring exposure visit and meeting.


Sr. Zubaida,fmm -Pakistan 
Organized  awareness programme on  Human trafficking in person for the young Religious, Novices and Pre-Novices of five different Congregations here in Pakistan. It was a good response as 35 members participated and were grateful for sharing about the victims of Human trafficking, they were really taken up for that is done and have been sorry for not doing much for criminal act. 
 In future we  plan to continue to share and to make aware people  how to stop this criminal 
act. Through pastoral work and in school..

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A Day Of Prayer And Fasting

Request of Women Religious to Pope Francis

J_BakhitaFebruary 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.  The idea for this day came after Pope Francis entrusted two Vatican academies to study the problem of human trafficking, and a group of women religious asked the pope to raise greater awareness in the church about the issue by establishing a worldwide day of prayer and fasting.

“On that day, we will lift our voices loudly in prayer, hope, and love for trafficking victims and survivors,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle. “If just one person realizes from this day that they or someone they know is being trafficked, we will have made a difference.”

25th of every month is celebrated as the ORANGE DAY

Promoting the ORANGE DAY
25th  of every month is set aside as the ORANGE DAY to highlight the issue of violence against women and girls. Orange Day aims to spark worldwide awareness of the fact that violence against women and girls is a violation of their Human Rights and to call for its eradication without reservation, without equivocation and without delay. Getchinaorangedayinvolved, share emails and posts, messages on the Facebook and tweet about it to promote awareness to say ‘No’ to violence and UNITE to irradiate violence against women and girls. Let us join together  and promote this cause so that violence against women and girls may stop.        Some of our schools and communities have already introduced this day and are going a way ahead to promote this day.
Orange Day: January 25
On January 25, the UNiTE campaign will focus on access to justice for survivors of violence against women and girls in the lead up to February 14th, when the V-Day initiative will launch the One Billion Rising for Justice action.
251112_antiviolence_stopviolence_scrabbleWhat can you do?
1. Wear anything orange every 25th  of the month to take a stand on ending violence against women & girls.
2. Encourage all your friends and others to wear orange on every 25th of the month, share posts & tweet about it!
images 323. Use & share the photo of the UNiTE ribbon – the new symbol for ending violence against women and girls;
4. Change your Facebook cover photo to the cover photo of the Say NO – UNiTE Facebook page, promoting the Orange Day and the ribbon.
5. Proclaim loud and clear that every 25th of the month as Orange Day! Make UNiTE ribbon, the global symbol on ending violence against women & girls!
6. Share some ideas if you have and we can post it to make this day more effective.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014



The  meeting began at 10 St. Angela school staff room, Jaipur Rajasthan; with a prayer and a Bhajan by Sr. Aurora M.S.A. thereafter Sr. Carol welcomed all the 11 members from Ajmer, Jaipur, Kota, Udaipur, and Chandigarh (Punjab).
We are privileged to have 3 resource person namely Mr. Govind Beniwal- Member Child rights commission Rajasthan, Mr. Vijay Goyal- Resource Institute for Human Rights Jaipur, Mr. Shiv from Allaripu;  each members came their introduction.
Mr. Govind said that it is not olnly the problem of India but the problem of the whole world. The whole family is affected. Women, men, and children fall prey to trafficking worldwide. They are viewed as valuable commodities in the sex trade or labor industry, vulnerable individuals are targeted by traffickers poised to exploit their desperation, misfortune, and ignorance. They may be lured by false promises of employment opportunities and a better life, abducted, or sold outright by families who themselves are in need of money or hope to provide a better life for their children.
Explaining further 'what is trafficking' he said Human trafficking is a horrific crime against the fundamental rights and dignity of the human person and there are several forms of  human trafficking such as:
o   The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for:
o   sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
o   labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
o   Coercion includes threats of physical or psychological harm to children and/or their families. Any child (under the age of 18) engaged in commercial sex is a victim of trafficking.
Indian law had accepted this as problem/issue and this is always done by force if done by mutual consist than it is not come under trafficking. Owing to the lack of anti-human trafficking laws, enforcement of such laws where they exist, along with the ease and ability to re-exploit individuals, human trafficking has become one of the fastest growing sources of profits for criminal enterprises worldwide.
Traffickers lure vulnerable men, women and children with false promises of good jobs, an education, economic security and even love. Once lured, the traffickers are able to keep their victims from seeking help by confiscating identification documents, using threats of violence against the victim or their family, as well as subjecting the victim to physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse. No sector or industry is immune from human trafficking. Victims have been identified in factories, restaurants, construction work, agricultural fields, hotels, spas, nail salons, and even private residences.
How to Identify a Human Trafficking Victim? These are some red flags:
  • Seems anxious, fearful or paranoid. Avoids eye contact.
  • Tearfulness or signs of depression.
  • Unexplained bruises or cuts or other signs of physical abuse.
  • Appears to be in a relationship with someone who is dominating.
  • Never is alone and/or always has someone translating or answering questions on their behalf.
  • Not in control of their own finances.
  • Presents with secrecy or unable to answer questions about where they live.
  • Inconsistent details when telling their story.
  • Has no identification such as a license, passport or other ID documents.
  • Inability to leave their job or residence. Says they cannot schedule appointments.
  • Being a recent arrival to the United States and does not speak English.
  • Is under 18 and providing commercial sex acts. Or at any age unwillingly providing commercial sex acts.
  • Is afraid of law enforcement or receiving help from an outside entity.
If you can find an opportunity to get he/she alone, ask him/her the following screening questions:
  • Can you leave your job or house when you want?
  • Where did you get those bruises or is anyone hurting you?
  • Do you get paid for your employment? Is it fair? How many hours do you work?
  • (If foreign national) How did you get to the present destination and is it what you expected? Are you being forced to do anything you don't want to do?
  • Are you or your family being threatened?
  • Do you live with or near your employer? Does your employer provide you housing? Are there locks on doors or windows from outside?
Mr. Vijay & Shiv shared with us the various rescue operations held in Rajasthan especially, Jaipur, Kota, and Ajmer and how challenging it is. We need to network with BGOs and Law Enforcement officers who are involved in these rescue operations; need to visit the places children works railway stations, factories, bus stands, hotels, Dhabha etc. Build up rapport with the children and win over their confidence and then only they will share with us.

After the tea break we went into groups district - wise and discussed how and what we can do as way forward. The Resource persons explained to us the following:

Way forward: Prevention is very important and how we can focus on certain ideas

v    Maping to identify the destination/ source areas
v    Organize awareness building programs and social protection programs
v    Pressure building on govt.
v    Prevent Child marriages, Child labour.
v    Security of a child and woman.
v    Shelter Homes, Shishu Homes
v    In our country, there are places where these children are kept like shelter home etc.
v    Child welfare committee.
v    Human rights Education in Schools and in communities/ colonies
v    Childline – 1098
v    Access to entitlement
v    formation of village child protection committees at P.S. level; inorder to check the trafficking source & destination, child  & family migrants
v    Crisis management centers for Counseling & Legal Aid services
v    Identify the child labourers and inform the child Welfare committee of the place.
v    Get involved in rescue operation.

The following are the district-wise Action Plan:

Ajmer :    Sr.Carol  MSA , Sr.Lillian PSA, Sr.Cecil PSA,

v    Base line survey and data collecting.
v    Crisis management center.
v    Get involved with Alaripu NGO

Kota     Sr. Aurera M.S.A., Sr. Sudha P.S.A., Sr. Terisita
§  Visit the children in the Railway Platforms, Dhaba, renbasera, mess centre build up confidence with them, gather informations about them and continue the contact with these children
§  Visit on Monday and thirsday from 7 to 10 am .
§  Maintain Record and other informations gathered.
§  Continue with child line information
§  Crisis management for mentally tortured children.
§  Awareness programs about human trafficking.

Udaipur           Sr. Mala, Sr. Kirti 

Jaipur              Sr.Helen MSA, Sr.Tejohono SMA, Sr.Jerin SMA

v    empower our own children.
v    give awareness program through children.
v    establish child guidance center.

Panjab & Chandigarh      Sr.Joyal PSA, Sr.Josain PSA, Sr.Sunila PSA

Through family visiting, we will do a survey of the bounded labours especially about those people who have come from outside like Orissa, Bihar, Nepal etc.
We will have continues meeting with the labours and children for having a good relationship.
In the school level, we will keep an awareness programs for the children regarding child abuse.

We have fixed the next meeting to be held in the 1st week of February. Sr. Lillian P.S.A. gave a vote of thanks and thanked our resource persons for giving us this golden opportunity to learn, and understand about human trafficking.  We also plan to organize a training program for those who wish to get involved in this program; date is not fixed.

Sr.Aurora  MSA 

Natural Disasters and Child Trafficking

Almost two months after Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the central part of the Philippines, people are still suffering from hunger, dehydration, displacement and emotional stress, as well as another tragedy often linked to natural disasters: human trafficking.

Out of the thousands of survivors relocated to Manila and Cebu, a yet unknown number of youngsters have been snatched by mafias to be sold to prostitution dens and modern slavemasters, according to Bishop Broderick Pabillo, convenor of the Philippines’ Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking and Manila’s auxiliary bishop.

“During disaster situations [like Haiyan], a lot of people are desperate to look for work, shelter, and education, among other things. These particular vulnerabilities are the usual things offered to them by exploiters,” Pabillo told Devex. “It’s sad that victims are already suffering the effects of disasters and are still being put under human trafficking.”

Haiyan affected over 16 million people with 4 million displaced, according to the country’s disaster management agency. Although a number of victims have decided to come back and rebuild their lives in their devastated communities in Leyte and Samar, the majority remain in Manila and Cebu.

These people include women and children, the most vulnerable to human trafficking, a long-standing concern in the Philippines, described as “a source … destination and transit country for men, women and children who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor” by the, part of the U.S.-based aid groupFHI 360.

Challenges and solutions

Some of the most common forms of human trafficking include prostitution, child labor and forced labor, with either rural-urban transitions or just rural ones in the case of agricultural labor with none to very low wages.

Human trafficking is sadly common in the Philippines after calamities like Haiyan.

“These cases are definitely not isolated. There are times when Filipinos are the ones who approach [these foreigners],” he said. “According to a study we conducted, those who exploit are usually the victims’ kins or close ties … with most of them ignorant that they are being exploited already.”

One of the most pressing challenges in addressing this issue is precisely this lack of awareness to the forms and causes of human trafficking. Being aware improves the rescue rate of human trafficking because people will be able to save themselves — something Pabillo hopes the aid and development community can further contribute to: “[Being aware] helps because when a potential victim knows who to call or who to go to, response will be immediate.”

Another challenge is the rate and manner of prosecution when the traffickers are caught.

The Philippine judicial system is notorious for being a hollow institution with conviction and prosecution rates remaining very low due to incompetence or corruption. The bishop noted that having a high conviction and prosecution rate in human trafficking cases would set an example for those who are thinking of committing such crimes in the future, especially those belonging to larger syndicates and criminal groups.

Lastly, rehabilitation and psychological treatment for victims needs to be improved significantly.

Pabillo emphasized that the development community can make a significant mark in this aspect because of their expertise and technical knowledge that can fast-track the usually long and arduous process of recovery.

“It’s a challenge for all of us to eradicate human trafficking as a form of modern day slavery,” he concluded, adding that Haiyan’s example should start a more earnest focus on human trafficking in the country as stronger and more devastating disasters are expected to hit the Philippines.

Combat human trafficking, Pope urges new ambassadors to Vatican

Vatican City, Dec 15, 2013 / 04:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Meeting with 17 newly appointed ambassadors to the Holy See, Pope Francis encouraged them to work together, regardless of creed, against the “slavery” of human trafficking.

“This is a true form of slavery , unfortunately increasingly common, which affects every land, even the most developed, and which affects the most vulnerable people in society: women, children, the disabled, the poorest and those who come from situations of family or social disintegration,” the Bishop of Rome told the newly accredited ambassadors, including the representative of Palestine, Dec. 12 at the Vatican's Clementine Hall.

“In these persons, in a special way, Christians recognize the face of Jesus, who identified with the smallest and the neediest among us. Others, who do not refer to a religious faith, in the name of our common humanity share our compassion for their suffering and the commitment to free them and to tend to their wounds. Together we can and must take action to free the victims of human trafficking and to put an end to this horrible 

He mentioned the victims of forced labor, and those trafficked for both labor and sexual exploitation, saying “this cannot continue: it constitutes a grave violation of the human rights of the victims and is an affront to their dignity, as well as a a defeat for the global community.”

“All persons of good will, whether they profess a religion or not, cannot allow these women, these men and these children to be treated as objects, deceived, violated, often repeatedly sold, for various purposes, and at the end either killed or ruined physically and mentally, to end up discarded and abandoned. It is shameful.”

Pope Francis continued, calling trafficking a “crime against humanity,” saying “we must unite” to end this “increasingly aggressive” scourge which he said threatens not only its victims but “also the foundational values of society,” justice, and “family structure and social life.”

Speaking to the representatives of so many nations, the Roman Pontiff said there must be a “more decisive political will” to end trafficking and protect the rights of those trafficked and to prevent the corrupt and criminals from eluding justice and having the last word.”

He urged better legislation throughout the world, noting particularly the importance of laws to “facilitate regular migration” so as to “reduce the problem.”

In addition to the transport of illegal migrants, Pope Francis noted as causes of human trafficking the drugs and weapons trades, and the mafia.

He commended the measures taken by government to combat trafficking, yet also lamented the involvement “at times” of “public officials and members of peace missions” in the 
tradeDescription: in persons.

“However, to effectively combat this scourge, it is necessary for action to extend to the fields of culture and communication. Also, we must deeply examine our consciences: how many times do we tolerate that a human being is considered as an object, displayed to sell a product or to satisfy immoral desires?”

“The human person must never be bought and sold like merchandise. Whoever uses and exploits human persons, even indirectly, becomes complicit in their oppression.”

The Roman Pontiff told the ambassadors that he addressed this concern of his to them because he believes “in the value and the strength of concerted commitment in combating it.”

“Therefore, I exhort the international community to adopt an even more unanimous and effective strategy against human trafficking, so that in every part of the world, men and women may no longer be used as a means to an end, and that their inviolable dignity may always be respected.”

Pope Francis concluded, offering the ambassadors his “best wishes” and pledging the help of the Roman Curia in their mission.

“I invoke upon your persons and upon your families, as well as upon your staff, an abundance of divine blessing.”

Saturday, 30 November 2013

The First Asia Policy Conference on Human Trafficking

International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons
An evangelical response of hope to the phenomenon of trafficking

TALITHA KUM: The First Asia Policy Conference on Human Trafficking was held at the Salesian Retreat House, Thailand from November 10-14, 2013. The networks which represented the conference were:  Talitha Kum -Thailand - APWRATH, Australia – ACRATH, and India- AMRAT. The meeting initiated with the Eucharist celebrated by Fr. Theppharat Pitisan, SDB  and concelebrated by Fr. Emmanuel Chan Rhan Huh. The members of the AMRAT had the joy of animating the liturgy.  The lighted candles carried at the entrance procession represented the place of work in their respective countries. At the end of the Eucharist Sr. Rita Mascarenhas requested the participants to come forward and take the lighted candles along with them to be light for the fragile humanity trapped in the flesh trade. Later Sr. Marivic Sta. Ana FMA, the program coordinator instructed the group about the Gallery walk and  of its presentation  the next day and  gave a rationale and the objectives of the 3-day conference. The Thailand group  – APWRATH.(Asia Pacific women Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) saw to the opening ceremony in a creative and meaningful way.
Sr. Estrella Castalone, FMA, coordinator of TalithaKum  in her opening message said; Jesus by His very example reminds each one of us of our delicate mission: He did not work the miracle alone but was always accompanied by His disciples. He did not command  but lovingly  took the girl by the hand and said;  “TalithaKum, little girl arise!”  And this is exactly what we are committed to undertake at TalithaKum, to repeat the same words of Jesus to everyone affected by human trafficking,
She quoted the first Urbiet Orbi message given on Easter Sunday by Pope Francis.  He said: “Human trafficking is the most extensive form of slavery in the 21st century”.  Commenting on the words of the Pope, Sr, Estrella said; that we all know what the Pope was talking about,  this modern slavery called human trafficking and how extensive it is because we touch the lives of people who have been affected by it and that is why we have committed ourselves to put a stop to it.  And that’s the reason  why TalithaKum exists!  
The Gallery Walk: was one more a creative initiative, each one was encouraged to go around and look at the posters prepared by each group. It was a glimpse of works and accomplishments of TalithaKum in Asia and TIP Country profiles.
The Resource persons for all these 3 days were Atty. Cristina Sevilla, LL.M. who spoke about International Instruments and model laws on Anti-Trafficking in Persons.
Ms Jean Enriquez, Executive Director, CATW-AP spoke on Legislative and Policy Advocacy on Anti-Trafficking. Ms Amihan Abueva, from the Philippines a representative  of ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection on the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). Her  discussion was taken from ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection on the Rights of Women and Children. The Resource persons helped in drafting the country Policy on Anti- trafficking in Persons,  each group got together  to put the ideas and   identify objectives and effective key strategies and approaches: i.e., policy and legislation, protection, prevention, recovery and reintegration. The questions raised by the assembly were:  Is there a need to improve, to revise the policies, Legislations  concerning  Trafficking?  After much discussion the assembly came to a common platform, saying that; Media does a good propaganda/publicity, so how could we work in collaboration with the media persons?
Sr. Estrella Castalone FMA. presented the works accomplished by TalithaKum Asia through  a powerpoint presentation. She also appreciated and thanked all the participants and collaborators who reached out generously in supporting this event. As a token of love and gratitude, each participant and the resource  persons were given a Rosary blessed by Holy Father Pope Francis. Everyone indeed felt blessed and happy to receive this gift from Sr. Estrella. The Certificate of Participation was given  by Sr. Marivic Sta. Ana, FMA to all the participants. The closing ceremonies was seen by AMRAT- INDIA. This was followed with the Power Point presentation on the Samaritan Woman depicting, it is Jesus who is the source of our life and we as consecrated women are called to bring life to its fullness in the lives of people. It was nice to see 10 FMA involved in this mission of Human Trafficking in different networks.