Article/News by: Rossela Charisma G, Remo & Dr. Maria Zorayda A. Torres
Sacrificing 45 minutes for the 45 million victims of human trafficking and modern slavery all over the world, Sacred Heart College (SHC) participated in the iFight Movement in partnership with the Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc. and Cable News Network (CNN). The SHC family composed of the Daughters of Charity, SHC administrators, personnel and students all vowed to campaign to knock out human trafficking in the country and in the globe.
Event hosts, Mr. Eduard Mancilla and Ms. Erica Calub, facilitated the 45 minute-campaign cum program at the Integrated Basic Education Department Grounds at 1:30 in the afternoon. The SHC family gathered to wave their iFIGHT flags to signify their oneness in the global campaign to knockout human trafficking, mostly among women and children.
The director of SHC’s Community Outreach Program and Dean of the College of Social Work, Sr. Aubrey B. Casimiro, pointed out in her opening message that human trafficking is a crime against humanity. She said that it is a significant issue in the Philippines, similar to prostitution in children. In an effort to deal with the problem, the Philippines passed R.A. 9208, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, a penal law against human trafficking, sex tourism, sex slavery and child prostitution.
In consonance with the efforts done by the government, the Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc. and the CNN, Sr. Aubrey spearheaded the iFIGHT Movement Project 2017 in SHC and explained to the SHC family the value of increasing people’s awareness on the stark reality faced by victims of human trafficking in the country. According to her, “those who are usually lured by human traffickers are those who do not know what they’re entering into, those who do not know anything about the trade, those who are helpless like the innocent children, the uneducated individuals seeking for a greener pasture. But with proper knowledge and information, by raising people’s awareness, I am optimistic that we can help prevent human trafficking in the communities and in the country, in general.”
One of the important highlights of the iFIGHT Movement Project was the dramatized performance about “The Many Faces of Modern Slavery in the Philippines”
by the ENG 103-4 class (Speech and Oral Presentation Skills) of Dr. Maria Zorayda A. Torres. The class composed of students from the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) depicted how human trafficking and modern slavery happen even at home, at work, in the streets, and in other places and situations. The drama actors and actresses were able to move the audience to pause, watch intently how recruiters offer women and children attractive jobs in the country or abroad, but instead coerce, force or control the victims into the sex industry for tourists as well as other exploitative labor operations. The performance also presented the destructive effects of human trafficking on the lives of molested or trafficked individuals, their family and the community where they belong.
While the inspirational songs like “’Wag Ka Nang Umiyak,” “Hawak Kamay”
performed by selected IBED students and “Power of Your Love”
rendered by Mr. Rolando Abrigo III of the Promotion Office and selected HED students enlivened the program, sharing of insights from SHC student participants were elicited. Grade 9 student, Patrick Lenard Laano, expressed that through the iFIGHT Movement Project, especially through the dramatized performance, he learned about these crimes and mentioned that “I really felt sad about these realities happening in the country. I am thankful I have been informed.”
Meanwhile, students of IBED, Senior High School and the Higher Education Department have one common realization regarding the event. “We can use the social media as the easiest and fastest way to increase awareness and to let other people know the reality that 45 million people around the world had experienced and are still experiencing today. We will do our share of informing others about this to help in crime prevention, to stop human trafficking.”
SHC Vice President for Academics, Dr. Luzviminda G. Calzado, closed the event with a message emphasizing the importance of empowering others to avoid being a victim of human trafficking and modern slavery. According to Dr. Calzado, “we should help the suppressed and the oppressed - women and children. The law, R.A. 9208, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, remains simply a piece of paper without our efforts to help empower one another, to increase each other’s awareness about this development concern, and to break the chains of those already victimized. I cannot do it alone. We should be one SHC family to do this, one family helping others to break the bondage of slavery.”
Dr. Calzado’s last line signalled the major highlight of the iFIGHT Movement Project 2017. The whole SHC family paused for a moment, gathered together, raised and waved their iFIGHT flaglets, and chanted, “I fight, we fight human trafficking!”