Home Christian News Church Leaders Advocate for Greater Crackdown on Human Trafficking at ASEAN Summit

Church Leaders Advocate for Greater Crackdown on Human Trafficking at ASEAN Summit

Human Trafficking
Photo courtesy of International Christian Concern

Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Leaders from 11 Southeast Asian countries will meet for the 42nd ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit from May 10-11 in Indonesia.

Church leaders and advocacy groups have asked leaders to take concrete steps to combat human trafficking in the region. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said eradicating human trafficking was one aim of the host nation.

Father Chrisanctus Saturnus, an Indonesian priest who works with migrant people near the borders of Malaysia and Singapore, told media outlet UCA News that the nations comprising ASEAN need to discuss steps and roles to combat trafficking “because so far crimes have been repeating.”

Father Marthen Jenarut, who is the head of Ruteng Diocese’s Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission, believes it is a good thing that the 2023 ASEAN summit is held in East Nusa Tenggara. This province is a known hub for human trafficking.

“I hope that this summit can produce a firm commitment as well as collaborative work between countries to minimize human trafficking cases,” Father Jenarut said in a statement.

Amid the backdrop of the ASEAN Summit, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently released its 2023 annual report and recommended that Indonesia be placed on the U.S. Dept. of State’s Special Watch List (SWL). Indonesia and ten other countries were cited for their government’s severe religious freedom violations.

While the Indonesian Constitution protects minority religions such as Christianity, local governments often deny church building permits and church closures are common.

This article originally appeared here.