Religious leaders to fight against human trafficking

KUALA LUMPUR: Leaders of various faiths in Malaysia have come together to pledge to do their best in the fight against human trafficking.

Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Rev Father Julian Leow Beng Kim said 21 million people were trafficked every year, half of whom could be found in the Asia-Pacific region.

“This effort between religious superiors and the Catholic Archdiocese is long overdue.

“We are all called to do something regarding human trafficking,” he said.

Leow, who is representing the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia, was among 10 religious leaders who signed an Inter-Faith Joint Declaration against Human Trafficking during an event at his official residence yesterday.

The historic joint declaration was held in conjunction with the United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

It was spearheaded by the Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur in collaboration with the Conference of Religious Major Superiors Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei.

Other signatories were the Malaysian Buddhist Association, the Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardhana Society, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, the Malaysian Hindu Sangam, the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Malaysia, the Buddhist Missionary Society, the Council of Churches of Malaysia, the Malaysian Gurdwara Council and the Federation of Taoist Associations of Malaysia.

In a press release issued during the event, it was stated that the Federal Territory Mufti Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri was not able to attend but pledged his support for the cause.

The declaration came about a month after the release of the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, which saw Malaysia upgraded to Tier 2 from the watchlist on Tier 2.

They jointly declared that those “exploited physically, economically, sexually and psychologically for the profit, benefit and pleasure of others goes against the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity”.

They also pledged to fight trafficking by working for the freedom of victims, to restore their dignity and give them a reason to hope once more.