2018 Asia-Pacific Workshops

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Raising Our Voices against Human Trafficking in Asia

In January of this year, Terranea, a luxury resort in Southern California was accused of human trafficking and exploitation of its foreign interns. The majority of these interns are young adults and came from the Philippines and other Asian countries. Based on the U.S. State Government report, the Philippines in particular is a source country and to a certain extent, a transit country for men, women, children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. “An estimated 10 million Filipinos work abroad, and a significant number of these migrant workers are subjected to sex and labor trafficking—predominantly via debt bondage—in the fishing, shipping, construction, education, home health care, and agricultural industries, as well as in domestic work, janitorial service, and other hospitality-related jobs, particularly across the Middle East, Asia, and North America. Traffickers, typically in partnership with small local networks, engage in unscrupulous recruitment practices that leave migrant workers vulnerable to trafficking, such as charging excessive fees and confiscating identity documents. Illicit recruiters use student, intern, and exchange program visas to circumvent the Philippine government and destination countries’ regulatory frameworks for foreign workers.” (The 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, U.S. Department of State Diplomacy in Action) As an ecumenical Christian community founded on justice, peace and the integrity of creation, we should raise our voices to mobilize for advocacy against Human trafficking.

Lester Edwin Ruiz, PhD., Senior Director for Accreditation and Institutional Evaluation
E. San Juan, Filipino American writer and film maker
Trafficked Survivor

A People and Peninsula Divided: Addressing Uprootedness in Korea as a Key to Peace and Reunification

Peace in the Korean Peninsula requires addressing the reunification of people uprooted by the Korean war and years of division. Now the threat of full-scale nuclear war between North Korea and the U.S. and its allies has increased under the new U.S. administration. Such a conflict would have a devastating impact not only in the region, but across the globe given the humanitarian and environmental impact of even just one detonated nuclear weapon. The recent easing of tensions during the Olympics raises the possibility of a shift in direction from hostility to building relationships and trust based on mutual exchanges between people. This workshop will explore various efforts to establish relationships and understanding between North Koreans and the U.S. and how we can advocate for peace instead of the devastation that would be brought on by war in the region.

Danny Hall, Director of Public Affairs
Soka Gakkai International-USA
Daniel Lee, Divided Families USA
Daniel Jasper, American Friends Service Committee

Justice Uprooted: Widening Waves of Killings and Escalating Repression and Displacement in the Philippines — What Faith Communities in the U.S. Can Do

Under US-backed President Rodrigo Duterte, the Filipino people are currently facing an onslaught of fascist attacks. Over 12,000 people, mostly from the ranks of the poor, have been killed under Duterte’s drug war. The war on the Moro people and extended martial law throughout Mindanao gave more power to the military to bomb communities and has created a grave humanitarian crisis in Mindanao with more than 325,000 evacuees. There have been increased politically-motivated killings, arrests and detentions on fabricated charges against opponents of Duterte’s policies and cause-oriented groups struggling for reforms, including the brutal killing of 72-year-old Catholic priest Father Marcelito Paez last December 4, 2017 and of a Protestant minister Pastor Lovelito Quiñones last December 3, 2017. There is concern that the plan of charter change for federalism will consolidate ex ecutive powers, extend terms of elected officials, dissolve congress, exempt lawmakers and administration officials from paying taxes, removal of restrictions on 100% foreign ownership of land and strategic enterprises, and removal of the ban on foreign bases without Senate concurrence. There’ve been attacks on press freedom, with administration moves to discredit and shutdown independent media outlets which have questioned Duterte’s actions. As concerned people of faith in the U.S., we have a role to play in putting a stop to the killings and bombings, ending Duterte’s campaign to silence dissent, and preventing the imposition of full-blown dictatorship in the Philippines.

John Din, Director of the Columban Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office in the Philippines
Fr. Benjamin E. Alforque, MSC, Convener, Rise Up for Life and Rights
Dr. Maria Natividad Marian Silva Castro, Executive Director, Community-Based Health Program – Butuan
Teodoro Acevedo Casiño, Former Party List Representative, Congress of the Philippines
Jerome Aladdin Succor Aba, Advocacy Staff of Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao

Millions Uprooted: Our Moral Obligation to Confront Climate Change
Co-sponsored with Eco-Justice section. Visit that page for full description.

Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations