Extract below from DOMINICAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE – Summer 2014 Newsletter
Margaret Mayce, OP, DLC/NGO Representative to the United Nations
RESPONSE TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING
– Abby McCrary, Dominican Volunteer
This spring, an Amnesty International document entitled “Decriminalization of
Sex Work: Policy Background Document.” was leaked, causing quite a stir. In it, the
prestigious human rights organization advocates for the right to buy and sell sex.
Such an aim is clearly in opposition to Amnesty International’s mission, and would seem to ignore the exploitation and violence endemic in the prostitution industry.
The Dominican Leadership Conference, represented by Abby McCrary on the UN NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons (CSTIP), composed a statement to encourage Amnesty International to more thoroughly examine their stance in light of how it could potentially create a climate for sex trafficking and exploitation to flourish. In part, this statements reads: “As legal regulations are lessened, prosecution becomes even more difficult in cases of human trafficking. Decriminalization…makes it more difficult for prosecutors to identify and punish traffickers. Full decriminalization of prostitution fuels the growth of modern day slavery by providing a façade behind which traffickers of sexual exploitation are able to operate more effectively.”
Our Sisters Abroad
Meanwhile, our Sisters in Europe and Asia-Pacific are also very involved in this issue through RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation – www.renate-europe.net) and TALITHA KUM in the Philippines. Our Dominican Sister Cecilia Espenilla (Philippines) writes,
“We, the Dominican Sisters of the Philippines have agreed that our common advocacy is to fight human trafficking. Hence, since last year we have organized talks and seminars on human trafficking and participated in the same seminar organized recently by Bishops Conference of the Philippines. This school year we will do intensive awareness campaign to both Private and Public School students, the most vulnerable targets of traffickers, where the mission of the sisters are situated. We focus on the 3Ps, Prevention and Partnership and Prayer. We have been in partnership with Visayan Forum, one of the most successful NGOs in the Philippines in fighting human trafficking. Another important element that I think we religious should get involved in, if we have the opportunity, is to sit on human trafficking meetings of the government. I am fortunate that I was given an invitation to sit in this kind of meeting of the Department of Justice of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) which is being Chaired by the Vice-President of the Philippines himself, Honorable VP Binay.”
Sr. Cecilia, along with our Dutch Sister Marjolein Brunein are in the process of starting to organize a global network of Dominicans engaged in advocacy against human trafficking and exploitation. This is a wonderful response to one the greatest tragedies of our time, described by Pope Francis as “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity.”