Religion, Migration, and Human Trafficking: Experimental Evidence From Grassroots Practitioners

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: Booth 46
Oral Presentation
Joel TEJEDO , Asia Pacific Theological Seminary, Baguio City, Philippines
This study investigates whether faith-based organizations are making an impact in preventing or caring for the victims of human trafficking and prostituted women. This study assumes that human trafficking is closely linked with migration which often causes prostituted women to be trapped into sexual slavery. This study critically suspects that because human trafficking is closely linked with organized syndicate and criminal organizations, faith based organizations remain on the sideline of social engagements into the public sphere. This study executed an in-depth interview with particular faith-based organizations working among prostituted women to probe whether these organizations are actively engaged in combating human trafficking in their own respective area of ministry. This study utilizes critical questions to test whether there are indications of participatory engagement of these organizations in partnering with government agencies or the civil society.
This study finds out that faith based organizations are driven by their passion to see victims and prostituted women transformed by the power of the gospel. This observation is based from the following evidences that faith-based organizations, despite the danger and risk involved, are actively engaged in providing various interventions and aftercare services for the victims fueled by their religious convictions and values. It was evident from the study however that migration, whether it is legal or not, is a mechanism of organized syndicates to deceive and betray victims of human trafficking. Also, it resonates to the study that combating human trafficking in local and international level requires corroborative network and engagement of faith-based organizations to non-government organizations and government agencies such as legal and justice experts. This study suggests a theological framework in which faith-based organizations adopt and suggests ways on how to mobilize Christian churches to combat human trafficking in the local and international context.