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Trafficking of persons is a serious crime against humanity, says Bishop Harold Perera at Caritas South Asia Sub Regional Conference

The upsurge in labour migration in recent years has aggravated the problem of trafficking in persons which is a serious crime against humanity, said the Chairman of the Catholic National Commission on Migrants, Rt Rev Dr Harold Anthony Perera in his address as Chief Guest at the South Asian Sub Regional Conference on Anti Trafficking hosted by Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC in Colombo this week. Trafficking is now an organized business with profit maximization as its main objective, His Lordship pointed out, adding that the Church has condemned human trafficking and Pope Francis has called it an ‘open wound’ on humanity itself. While combating this crime is an extremely difficult task, we are anyhow called upon to be compassionate to the victims and protect them, Bishop Harold Perera said.

Welcoming nearly 40 foreign and local participants to the conference, the National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC, Rev Fr George Sigamoney said that in the past few years Caritas has invested much time, energy and resources to grapple with this issue through awareness raising, research and advocacy programs. “We are determined to wipe out this gross violation of human dignity brought about by trafficking in persons and we will not rest until we have mapped out a strategy for the entire Asian Region by working closely with our Caritas colleagues in other countries”, Fr Sigamoney said. “We have to be creative in our approaches because those who perpetrate such crimes are somehow finding innovative ways in which to carry out their unlawful activities”, he noted.

Hon. Neomal Perera MP, Deputy Minister of External Affairs who was a Guest of Honour at this event observed that Caritas has built good relationship with the Government not only in its Anti Trafficking work but in other fields too, such as safe migration, disaster management, relief and rehabilitation.

Also present at the conference was His Lordship Bishop Isao Kikuchi of Japan who is the current President of Caritas Asia and Mr Zar Gomez, Regional Coordinator for Caritas Asia.