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Episcopal summit focuses on human trafficking in Asiamerica communities

April 25, 2014
Office of Public Affairs

Focusing on the need to build awareness about the crime of human trafficking, the public is invited to an Episcopal Church event, Summit on Human Trafficking: Mobilizing Communities against Modern Day Slavery on May 10 at St. James Episcopal Church, 84-07 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY.

Sponsored by the Episcopal Church Asiamerica Ministries and the National Alliance For Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), the Summit will gather grassroots organizations together to build awareness to human trafficking.

The goal, according to Rev. Dr. Winfred B. Vergara, missioner for Asiamerica Ministries, is to start conversations towards creating an Asiamerica Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

“The United States is a destination country for transnational trafficking networks that bring foreign nationals into the country for purposes of both sexual and labor exploitation,” Vergara said.  “Migrants from all over the world are trafficked. Two of the main forms of trafficking are sex trafficking and labor trafficking in which individuals perform sex or services through use of force, fraud, or coercion.”

The keynote address, “What is Human Trafficking,” will be presented by the Rev. Raynald Bonoan, rector of Holy Spirit Church in Safety Harbor, FL who along with celebrated rescuer, Anna Rodriguez of the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, rescued several victims of Human Trafficking.

Djay Arucan from GABRIELA Party List and Candice Sering, chair of GABRIELA- New York will moderate the panel of survivors, highlighting the case of the Philippines as one of the top countries of human trafficking and emphasizing the transnational reality of the problem.  GABRIELA is a global activist women’s rights organization working directly to serve the survivors and the families of victims as well as working to effect meaningful legislations in the Philippines.

Also speaking will be:


  • Lelanda Lee, of the Diocese of Colorado and a member of the Episcopal Church Executive Council, will address the resolutions passed by the General Convention.
  • Attorney Cristina Godinez and Fr. Julian Jagudilla of St. Francis of Assisi Migrant Center will speak on Comprehensive Immigration Reform and TPS (Temporary Protected Status) Philippines.
  • Monique Wilson of the “Miss Saigon” Broadway musical and Global Director of “One Billion Rising for Justice” will highlight the cultural aspects.
  • Taiko Drummers from Metropolitan Japanese Ministry will conclude the event with “call to mission” drumming.

Workshops include: Breaking the Chain of Internalized Oppression & Empowering Survivors; Building Asiamerica Coalition Against Human Trafficking Using ABCD Approach; and TPS Philippines and Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

NY elected officials who are working on the issue of Human Trafficking, have been invited to make brief remarks and assist in advocacy, including State Senator Jose Peralta, Congresswoman Grace Meng and Councilman Daniel Dromm.

In addition to the Episcopal Church’s Asiamerica Ministries and NAFCON, other sponsoring organizations include: the Episcopal Church Offices of Government Relations, Global Relations, and Episcopal Migration Ministries; Healthfirst and Health & Gideon Sciences, Inc.; and various ecumenical and community groups.

The organizing committee includes: Vergara; Lynnaia Main, Episcopal Church Global Relations Officer; Cris Hilo; Candice Sering; Zarah Vinola; Christina Hing; the Rev. Noel Bordador; Tetchie Mercado; Elizabeth Mui; Blandina Salvador; Bob Wong; and Charles Martellaro.

Registration is $10 and is available here

For more information call St. James Episcopal Church at 718-592-2555.

Episcopal Church Asiamerica ministries:



The Episcopal Church: