Preventing Human Trafficking in the Philippines
By Andy Alegre, Global Fellow from the Philippines
In the Philippines, we commemorated the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking through a nationwide campaign that included a series of actions. The Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (PIMAHT) together with Talitha Kum Philippines (TKP) usually promote and observe this day on February 8th in the Philippines every year. This day is also known in the Catholic faith tradition as the Feast Day or Memorial of St. Josephine Bakhita, a victim and survivor of slavery, freed later on and found faith.
“No to trafficking! We promote an economy of care, which breaks down inequalities. We invite the global network to join us in raising awareness and taking action. Please raise your vioce and share on social media using the hashtag #PrayAgainstTrafficking and #thePowerOfCare.” — Andy Alegre
To commemorate this day, we held an online prayer session together with churches and various organizations using a special vigil of prayer prepared specifically for this year’s event. Together, we prayed for freedom, healing and restoration of human trafficking victims and survivors and the protection of advocates.
We also had an opportunity to participate in a global, live-streamed youtube conversation and dialogue about Human Dignity and Human Rights. In this virtual setting, we interacted with speakers and participants on key topics as they related to the issue of Human Trafficking. This online event series had also included creative ways such as a live global marathon of prayer and reflection against human trafficking. It was a great honor to be joined by the PIMAHT secretariat members and other organizations.
Between 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm Philippine Time, we also participated in the global storm of awareness messaging via Twitter! Using the hashtag #PrayAgainstTrafficking, we spent the full hour tweeting and re-tweeting messages to raise awareness and inspire actions from churches and faith communities. Below is one example of the tweets we shared:
“On Bakhita’s Day, we participate in the global online prayer marathon against trafficking. The theme: “The power of care. Women, the economy, human trafficking.“
I would always participate every year in this campaign through prayer, awareness, and prevention sessions against human trafficking either in churches or in vulnerable communities. I also utilize my social media in the Twitter storm which just started two years ago.
Hopefully that next year, PIMAHT can do another campaign that is wider in scope. I will share next year’s plan with Goldin Fellows so that we can participate together.
*Andy Alegre also serves as a Secretariat member of PIMAHT, a national faith-based movement formed in 2013 that is composed of representatives from the 3 largest Christian church councils together with other partner organizations united in the fight against all forms of human trafficking.