The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) announced the expansion of the CBCP Cluster Against Human Trafficking (CCAHT) to bolster the church’s fight against modern-day slavery.
Following reports about the increasing number of cases of online sexual exploitation and abuse of children in the Philippines, the CBCP made the decision to expand the CCAHT’s partnership with other church offices.
They say the move aims to strengthen the church response to the issue “collaboratively.” (Read: 3 Strong Filipinos Who Survived Modern-Day Slavery)
According to Bishop Rex Ramirez, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Health Care, the expanded collaboration hopes to more effectively fight human trafficking at the grassroots level and provide the proper aid to victims.
“[The collaboration allows] ministering to the victims in their sectors and has the potential to empower or stop the victimization or contribute their network to stop human trafficking together,” says Ramirez.
“Healing after the trafficking is part of the Health Care ministry. Trafficking of organs is also part or related to the apostolate. All Commissions have a part to contribute to this,” he adds. (Read: CBCP Launches Nationwide Program for the Care of Environment)
The new partners of CCAHT include the CBCP Commissions on Health Care, Family and Life, Indigenous Peoples, and the Committee on Public Affairs.
Cluster Against Human Trafficking
The CCAHT was formed in 2017 to aid victims of human trafficking and slavery. For four years, the cluster has been collaborating with different ministries down to the dioceses.
Currently, its members include the Commissions on Migrants and Itinerant People, Social Action, Youth, and the Office on Women. (Read: ‘Refugees, Migrants Create Caring Communities’ – Tagle)
Aside from collaborations, the CCAHT also engages with concerned agencies, conducts research at the diocesan level, and standardizes modules and guidelines for diocesan response and engagements.
The CBCP is also part of the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT), which was formed in 2013.