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Each year, since 2012, the Verbum Dei community has been asked to give a one-day formation on Prostitution and Human trafficking to Exodus, an inter-congregational group of around 75 novices, from various congregations and different countries.
The module was facilitated by James McTavish. He gave an overview of the current problem with around 36-40 million victims of trafficking each year, with the majority of victims forced into prostitution and sex trafficking.
Here is the sharing of Priscilla Su, a Verbum Dei misionera:
“Human trafficking and prostitution are not new issues. Actually, they have been around for some time, it is just that they are “hidden in plain sight.” The formation created an awareness in me of modern slavery that needs to be addressed in this day and age.
It is very easy to say that we know of these issues and that they are out there on the streets, in the lives of people that we see each day. However, how often have we simply walk pass them as if it was just another person living their lives, making a livelihood.
What amazed me was to see the number of “girly” bars that are present in Malate, which is just one of many such areas in Manila. The danger is that we get so used to how things are, desensitized, and we just turn a blind eye to the issue at hand. During the formation, James also shared with us the teachings of the Church, and the prayer intention of Pope Francis in the month of Feb for 2019 and 2020. The need of prayer on this issue is real as we see the alarming number of people including children being trafficked and sold for prostitution each year.
No doubt, there are many organizations and groups that are creatively and tirelessly creating awareness to speak for the voiceless. However, we need to address the root of it all - wherever there is demand, a supply will always be provided regardless of it means. Human trafficking and prostitution business will only continue to grow as a multi-billion-dollar industry.
This is where the gift of the charism is revealed, a charism that God has called us to and placed into our hands to convert the hearts of the people, that through the grace of God, hearts may be transformed to restore the dignity of all involved – namely the 3 “B’s” (Business, Buyer and Bought). As any one of the 3 B’s could be sitting there in one of the pew in Church, either generously donating to the church funds and piously praying yet there is a lot of incoherence in the way that they live their lives, or on the other hand praying and waiting for someone to rescue them out of their situation.
There is an urgent need to address and/or readdress the issue of modern slavery, perhaps one might not feel equipped to speak up in various ways, yet a prayer offered for the victims, for the traffickers and the buyers is already an active step for asking for the grace of God for the conversion of hearts. We can also pray for the religious, and laity who are actively working with the victims to have a compassionate and persevering heart to accompany them in hope of regaining their dignity as precious children of God. To also pray for those who are creating awareness on the issue of human trafficking and prostitution, to have creativity that captures the hearts of the traffickers and buyers to put an end to the demand. We can all do something, if only we would try.”
Here are some photos of the event:
See Pope Francis, Prayer intention for February 2020 see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URe5524MijY
For a Verbum Dei spiritual reflection Spiritual reflection for day against human trafficking see:
For a challenging anti-trafficking advert see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLuqUpu6cY0
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