Church seeks protection of migrant women, children

Church seeks protection of migrant women, children

MANILA– The Catholic Church has dedicated this year’s National Migrants’ Sunday to women and children, saying these vulnerable groups are not being given sufficient protection.

The bishops’ Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People said there is real need to protect  women and children who are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

As its marks the 31st NMS, coinciding with the observance of the First Sunday of Lent, the Church invites dioceses and parishes to be “more vibrant” in attending to the problem.

The ECMI said special attention must also be given not just to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) but also to other nationalities who are victims of persecution, war, and discrimination.

“Concretely, it is likewise an invitation for us in the parishes, as one community to do our part of accompanying them…. especially women and children who are vulnerable and voiceless,” said the ECMI.

Overall, recent government statics show how migration is becoming feminized as more women are migrating of their own volition, seeking better economic opportunities.

The 2015 survey on OFWs by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that there were slightly more OFW women than men.

In terms of age, women OFWs also tend to be younger than men. In short, they leave the country at a much younger age.

The PSA said about seven percent of female OFWs were in the 15 to 24 years age group and 29.5 percent were in the 25 to 29 years age group.

As previously reported, the ECMI said there are more than a million trafficked OFWs, mostly women who are eventually forced into exploitative conditions, drug trade, and white slavery.

“The supposed positive experiences and productive impacts of migration are overshadowed [by] hardships and difficulties, putting in jeopardy the migrants human rights and dignity as persons,” it also said.

The first NMS celebration was held on March 8, 1987 and has been marked since then through the efforts of the ECMI, the service arm for migrants of the CBCP.

The ECMI is mandated  by the CBCP to provide and coordinate  pastoral  and social services to the migrants and their families, especially those who are in distress and facing complex problems because of migration.

ECMI assists parishes and dioceses in organizing a ministry for migrants and their   families. It also coordinates with hundreds of chaplains and pastoral countries in more than 50 countries. CBCPNews