The real pandemic of our contemporary world is not only human trafficking but the dehumanization of our own values which allows for these shameless practices to pervade.
Series: Global Menace Human Trafficking
Pushing for women’s rights in a highly chauvinistic society seems like a lost cause. But for someone who has experienced attempted rape by her peers and violence under the very hands of her husband, fighting violence against women comes a natural instinct as it literally hits closer to home.
Human trafficking is a global menace that international policy-making and cause-oriented organizations have long been trying to address. While some progress is being made at the international level, through the formation of commissions and watchdogs, efforts to curb trafficking at the local level are still wanting. Impediments are often tied to local regulations (or the lack of them) and, sometimes, to culturally-driven fear. It is, therefore, at the grassroots level that efforts should be focused to stop trafficking. Even among ourselves, through our own little way, we can stop this menace from spreading.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world, rooted in gender inequality, discrimination and harmful cultural and social norms. Violence against women and girls has been described by the World Health Organization as a global public health pandemic, with 1 in 3 women around the world experiencing physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. While efforts are being exerted to eliminate violence against women in all its forms across all sectors, a change in attitude by men towards women is the key to ending the cycle of violence once and for all.
In Ireland, the discovery of a syndicate bringing impoverished young men and women into slave-like conditions in Romania has shocked police and the public. The human trafficking ring was centered in Letterkenny, County Donegal where a group of young men was being forced to work without salary and to sleep in dirty, unsanitary degrading conditions.
“Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past and is, therefore, the means for correcting our misperceptions.” – Gerald G. Jampolsky, author of Love Is Letting Go of Fear
The insistent invitation of Pope Francis to the Church to ‘go out to the peripheries’ of society in order to encounter Christ there, is, on one hand, an implicit acknowledgment that the ‘peripheries’ in society and in the world are still many and, on the other hand, that we are not doing enough to be present and minister to those who live in the ‘peripheries.’ It is, therefore, inspiring when we come to know someone like Bro. Paulino (Paul) Bongcaras, who has made the ‘peripheries’ of Cebu City not just a place for his outreach activities, but a place he calls home.
Mutilated, starved, enslaved and beaten yet totally consumed by love for his tormentors even to his death, Saint Isaac Jogues (1607-1646), apostle to the Native Americans, remains one of the most fascinating missionaries of all time. Miraculously escaping from his first capture, he eventually died as a martyr at the age of 39. Canonized together with the other seven North American Jesuit Martyrs in 1930, St. Isaac Jogues has traditionally been claimed by the Catholic Church of the United States because he was martyred in what was later to become the state of New York.
“Tell us, Mary: What did you see along the road?” “I saw the tomb of Christ alive, and the glory of the Resurrected. I saw the witnesses of the Angels, I saw the Shroud. Christ has resurrected my hope!” (Paschal Sequence)