(Vatican Radio) The Vatican’s permanent representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Msgr. Janusz Urbańczyk, has addressed three separate panels at the “17th Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference”.
The focus of the conference is on trafficking in children and is taking place in Vienna.
Msgr. Urbańczyk addressed the panels on “Human Trafficking Threats for Children in Crisis”, “Towards Effective Child Protection Systems to Fight Human Trafficking”, and “Looking forward: Guidelines for Policy Development and Implementation”.
At the heart of the Holy See’s message was a call to view the current migration crisis as a “crisis of humanity”.
“The Holy See wishes to reiterate once again that the current crisis of migrant and refugee flow is primarily, in the words of Pope Francis, a crisis of humanity. As such, it is vital that all actors recognise that above all ‘Migrants are not a danger, they are in danger’”.
Msgr. Urbańczyk also urged enhanced cooperation between governments and non-governmental organizations, as well as with members of the private sector.
“It is of great urgency to strengthen cooperation and coordination with NGOs that work in the areas of concern and know the context of poverty and vulnerability where situations of exploitation very often arise. It is also opportune to cooperate with the private sector, in particular with national and local companies, as well as with multinationals, so that they may adopt rigorous and law-abiding behavior.”
Pope Francis on Monday sent a message to the conference: click here to see it.
Please find below the three separate statements:
STATEMENT BY MSGR. JANUSZ URBAŃCZYK, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOLY SEE, AT THE 17TH ALLIANCE AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS CONFERENCE “TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS AND THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD”
To read the full story on Vatican Radio: Click Here
“The trade in human beings, a modern form of slavery, … violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters and constitutes a true crime against humanity.” —Pope Francis
You may not see the problem, but it’s there. It’s estimated there are more than 21 million human trafficking victims worldwide. This is not something that only occurs in dark alleys in the far corners of the Earth, though. It’s happening around the world every day.
“They are hidden from view. You don’t recognize them in the back kitchens, shops, gas stations and in hospitality. They are also tucked away in fields. They don’t come out and ask for help. It’s a different kind of slavery than long ago,” says Dr. Lucy Steinitz, Catholic Relief Services senior technical advisor for protection. “They are not in shackles or on plantations. People are coerced into harsh employment under horrible conditions, and then have no freedom to leave. They are beaten, violated and told they are worthless—that no one else wants them anymore.”
Here are 7 facts about human trafficking you may not know, plus 3 ways you can help.
The real definition of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud or coercion. It’s important to note, though, that human trafficking can include, but does not require, movement. You can be a victim of human trafficking in your hometown. At the heart of human trafficking is the traffickers’ goal of exploitation and enslavement.
Exploitation covers more than you think.
Sexual exploitation and forced labor are the most commonly identified forms of human trafficking. More than half of the victims are female. Many other forms of exploitation are often thought to be under-reported. These include domestic servitude and forced marriage; organ removal; and the exploitation of children in begging, the sex trade and warfare.
Causes of trafficking: It’s complicated.
The causes of human trafficking are complex and interlinked, and include economic, social and political factors. Poverty alone does necessarily create vulnerability to trafficking, but when combined with other factors, these can lead to a higher risk for being trafficked. Some of those other factors include: corruption, civil unrest, a weak government, lack of access to education or jobs, family disruption or dysfunction, lack of human rights, or economic disruptions.
It’s a lucrative industry.
Along with illegal arms and drug trafficking, human trafficking is one of the largest international crime industries in the world. A report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) says forced labor generates $150 billion in illegal profits per year. Two-thirds of that money came from commercial sexual exploitation, while the rest is from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture, child labor and related activities.
To read the full story by Rebekah Kates Lemke on Catholic Relief Services: Click Here
\Statement on the occasion of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking
On the occasion of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, 8 February, Caritas Europa casts the spotlight on the global tragedy of trafficking in human beings. This scourge affects millions people in the world and generates billions of euros for criminal groups.
“I was 12 when a friend of the family visited my parents. She said that she knew people in Paris who were about to be parents and they were looking for a teenager who could take care of the baby. They promised that I will be paid and receive an education. I felt I was dreaming. I was on my way to France to study,” told Olivia, who was trafficked and abused as a domestic slave for 9 years in Paris.
Caritas organisations from across Europe work daily with victims of trafficking like Olivia. But neither Caritas nor civil society alone can seriously challenge the global indifference that feeds trafficking in human beings. Caritas Europa thus calls on European states and the European Union to fully ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. And to do their outmost to tackle the root causes of trafficking.
To read the full story from Caritas Europa: Click Here
Vatican City – Nearly 80 doctors, law enforcement and health officials from around the world vowed to fulfill the directive of Pope Francis to combat human trafficking and organ trafficking in all their condemnable forms.
After a conference on organ trafficking at the Vatican, participants signed this week a statement agreeing to unite in fighting the crime of organ trafficking, submitting 11 proposals for implementation by healthcare and law enforcement professionals around the world.
The creation of the statement was one of the main objectives of the Summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Participants in the summit gave reports on the issue and how it is currently being combated in their respective countries.
“We the undersigned pledge our commitment to combat these illicit and immoral practices,” the statement, published Feb. 9, reads.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only about 10 percent – or 120,000 – of the estimated 1 million organ transplants needed are performed each year. This data was presented to Pope Francis in 2014, and is an example of the demand for organs creating, in large part, the drive for illegal trafficking.
To read the full story by CNA/EWTN News on Manila Bulletin: Click Here
(Vatican Radio) On Monday, Pope Francis spoke out against human trafficking, in an address to members of RENATE: Religious in Europe Networking against trafficking and exploitation).
The group is in Rome for their 2ndEuropean Assembly, which took place on Sunday. The theme of this year’s assembly was “Ending Trafficking Begins with Us.”
In his address to members of the group, Pope Francis once again denounced “the trade in human beings” as “a modern form of slavery, which violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters, and constitutes a true crime against humanity.” He acknowledged that much has been accomplished in educating the public about human trafficking, but said “much more needs to be done on the level of raising public consciousness” and in coordinating the various efforts of those engaged in fighting against trafficking in human persons.
The Holy Father commended the work of RENATE in raising public awareness about the extent of “this scourge which especially affects women and children.” He especially praised them for their “faithful witness to the Gospel of mercy, as demonstrated in [their] commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims.” The Pope made special mention of the work of women in accompanying other women and children in the process of recovery.
To read the full story and listen to the program on Vatican Radio: Click Here
Vatican City, 19 July 2016 – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations, gave a speech on 13 July dedicated to the elimination of trafficking in children and young people, in the context of the current debate in the assembly on this theme.
“The Holy See has long spoken out against the evil of human trafficking, forced labour and all forms of modern slavery. And through the dedicated work of so many Catholic religious institutes, national and diocesan programs, and groups of faithful the Catholic Church has sought to fight to address its various causes, care for those it victimises, wake people up to the scourge, and work with anyone and everyone to try to eliminate it”.
He went on to note that Pope Francis had dedicated his Message for World Day of Peace 2015 to this theme, making it a priority of international diplomacy for the Holy See. He has spoken about it to newly accredited diplomats, to international religious leaders, to an alliance of international police chiefs and Church leaders, to social scientists and scholars, to mayors from across the globe, to judges and to various conferences throughout the world. “He hasn’t merely been talking”, the nuncio added. “He has been taking action, catalysing the Holy See’s hosting conferences, spearheading the 2014 Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery and willed the creation of the Santa Marta Group, named after his residence in the Vatican, which brings together Catholic leaders and international law enforcement officials to battle this scourge”.
The Holy Father’s essential message is that human trafficking is an “open wound on the body of contemporary society”, “a crime against humanity”, and an “atrocious scourge that is occurring in many of our own neighbourhoods”. “When he was here at the UN last September, he called for concrete steps and immediate measures for … putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of … human trafficking, … the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, [and] slave labour, including prostitution, stressing, ‘We need to ensure that our institutions are truly effective in the struggle against all these scourges'”. Archbishop Auza emphasised that to this end, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was an important sign of hope, insofar as it focused, in three different targets, on the world’s attention and commitment to confronting this plague.
To read the full bulletin from The Holy See Press Office: Click Here
U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story shared a harrowing story of sex trafficking in Georgia last month with an audience in Vatican City and one particularly notable guest: Pope Francis.
Story was one of more than 60 judges and prosecutors from around the globe invited to share insights with the pope June 3-4 at the Judges’ Summit on Human Trafficking and Organized Crime. The summit was hosted by the Pontifical Academy on Social Studies in Vatican City.
“This particular summit involved judges and prosecutors from 26 countries, and it focused on human sex trafficking, forced labor and organ trafficking, as well as organized crime,” Story said. “The United States was requested to participate, and I was asked by the ambassador at-large on human trafficking to be part of a team that went.”
Atlanta is an identified major human trafficking area, according to Story, because of the international airport and convention center in the city. Convention business, he said, is often linked to sex trafficking.
To read the full story by Kristen Oliver of the Gainesville Times: Click Here
In accordance with the Magisterium of Pope Francis, the declarations of the leaders of the main religions and of the mayors of the major cities of the world, we affirm that modern slavery in terms of human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, and organ trafficking are Crimes against Humanity and should be recognised as such. Organized crime that aims directly or indirectly at expanding modern slavery in its abovementioned forms must also be considered a Crime against Humanity.
We the undersigned have assembled at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to address how representatives of the Judiciary can best face this daunting challenge.
Today, the elimination of modern slavery is a new moral imperative for the 193 Member States of the United Nations, according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 8.7) approved in September 2015.
The effective application of criminal law is a necessary condition to “eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers” (SDG 8.7), and to help remedy its consequences for victims and society. Criminal justice is intrinsically linked to social justice, which in turn is linked to environmental justice. The Encyclical Laudato si’ affirms that, “Today we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (§ 49). Rehabilitation, resettlement and re-integration aim to free the victims of modern slavery and human trafficking and restore their human dignity, enabling them to become socially and economically independent. Only when they are no longer at risk of being re-trafficked or compelled to resort to illegal and humiliating activities, can they contribute positively to society.
To this end, we endorse the following 10 goals:
To encourage each state to increase resources and international judicial and police collaboration in order to raise low prosecution and conviction rates for criminals, strengthening supranational institutions for the fight against traffickers and the protection of human rights.
Having approved the UN Sustainable Development Goals and ratified the 2000 UN Protocol Against Trafficking in Persons (Palermo Protocol), all nations must recognize modern slavery, human trafficking, and forced labour and prostitution as Crimes against Humanity with commensurate sentences.
Assets seized from convicted traffickers and criminals must be devoted to victim rehabilitation and compensation, and making reparations to society. The crime of money laundering must be severely prosecuted, because it is the process of transforming the proceeds of crime and corruption into ostensibly legitimate assets.
To read the full story at The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences: Click Here
Judges and prosecutors from around the world gather and vow to fight the problem
VATICAN CITY — Judges and prosecutors from around the world pledged Friday to crack down on human trafficking and help victims of modern-day slavery in the latest Vatican initiative to draw attention to the problem and rally resources to fight it.
At a Vatican summit of judges, prosecutors and other public officials, Pope Francis signed a declaration stating human trafficking, forced labor, prostitution and the trafficking of organs as a “crime against humanity” that should be prosecuted and punished as such.
The 10-point declaration, which was also signed by the conference participants, pledged increased funding for international cooperation to boost prosecutions of traffickers and consumers of the sex trade. It also pledged better support for victims, including issuing temporary residence permits, and said repatriation should never be the default judgment against victims.
History’s first Latin American pontiff has made the fight against human trafficking a priority of his pontificate as part of his emphasis on looking out for society’s most marginalized, including refugees and the poor.
To read the full story by Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press: Click Here
by Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA – La Crosse Task Force to Eradicate Modern Slavery
This is a compendium of references about the efforts of Pope Francis to end modern slavery.
Commentators have attributed the term “the Francis Factor” to our current pope in describing his leadership in a world of transmigration, diversity, and violence. His approach encourages dialogical processes and a global response. Pope Francis frequently is hailed as prophetic, scientific, activist, and pastoral. However we wish to view it, we cannot doubt that he has broken the papal mold of leadership. Almost immediately after his election in March 2013, Pope Francis wrote this little note to the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
I think it would be good to examine human trafficking and modern slavery.
Organ trafficking could be examined in connection with human trafficking.
That’s how it all started at the Vatican. Under the auspices of the Pontifical Academies of Science and the Social Sciences, the Holy See launched a multi-pronged attack on human trafficking never undertaken by church leadership prior to this time. This Pope has dedicated more attention to the discussion of human trafficking than any other Pope or world religious leader before him.[ii] One year later he would again take up the specific theme of organ trafficking in Brazil[iii] and again make a strong reference to it in his World Day of Peace Message in 2015.[iv]
“a social scourge . . . a true form of slavery”; “a grave violation of the human rights of those victimized and an offense against their dignity, as well as a defeat for the worldwide community. . . shameful” . . . increasingly aggressive crime which threatens not only individuals but the basic values of society and of international security and justice, to say nothing of the economy, and the fabric of the family and our coexistence”[x]
“predatory and harmful . . .the frequently overlooked tragedy of migrants . . .”[xi]
Pope Francis not only names the issue, he gives us specific and particular ways that we can do something about it either personally, corporately, and/or politically. For example:
I ask my brothers and sisters in the faith and all men and women of good will for a decisive choice to combat the trafficking in persons in which ‘slave labor’ exists.[xx]
Exploiters and clients at all levels should make a serious examination of conscience both in the first person and before God! [xxi]
What is called for, then, is a shared sense of responsibility and firmer political will to gain victory on this front. Responsibility is required towards those who have fallen victim to trafficking in order to protect their rights, to guarantee their safety and that of their families, and to prevent the corrupt and criminals from escaping justice and having the last word over the lives of others. Suitable legislative intervention in the countries of origin, transit and arrival, which will also facilitate orderly migration, can diminish this grave problem.[xxii]
Fraternity needs to be discovered, loved, experienced, proclaimed and witnessed . . . marked by reciprocity, forgiveness, and complete self-giving . . .[xxiii]
. . . we need to make a good examination of conscience: how many times have we permitted a human being to be seen as an object, to be put on show in order to sell a product or to satisfy an immoral desire? The human person ought never to be sold or bought as if he or she were a commodity. Whoever uses human persons in this way and exploits them, even if indirectly, becomes an accomplice of injustice.[xxiv]
The United Nations really needs to take a very strong position on climate change with a particular focus on the trafficking of human beings as a problem that has been created by climate change. . . We cannot separate man from everything else. There is a relationship which has a huge impact, both on the person in the way they treat the environment and the rebound effect against man when the environment is mistreated.[xxvi]
. . . our communities of faith are called to reject, without exception, any systematic deprivation of individual freedom for the purposes of personal or commercial exploitation[xxvii]
Globalize fraternity, not slavery or indifference . . . There is also need for a threefold commitment on the institutional level: to prevention, to victim protection and to the legal prosecution of perpetrators. I invite everyone, in accordance with his or her specific role and responsibilities, to practice acts of fraternity towards those kept in a state of enslavement.[xxviii]
I urgently appeal to all men and women of good will, and all those near or far, including the highest levels of civil institutions, who witness the scourge of contemporary slavery, not to become accomplices to this evil, not to turn away from the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, who are deprived of their freedom and dignity. Instead, may we have the courage to touch the suffering flesh of Christ, revealed in the faces of those countless persons whom he calls “the least of these my brethren”[xxix] (Mt 25:40, 45). (12/8/14)
Society is called to form new legislation that penalizes traffickers and help rehabilitate victims.[xxx]
These realities serve as a grave summons to an examination of conscience on the international level.[xxxi]
. . . we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences. . . Today the 193 states of the United Nations have a new moral imperative to combat human trafficking, a true crime against humanity. Collaboration between bishops and the civil authorities, each in accordance with his own mission and character and with the aim of discovering best practice for the fulfilment of this delicate task, is a decisive step to ensuring that the will of governments reaches the victims in a direct, immediate, constant, effective and concrete way.[xxxii]
. . . strengthen the bonds of cooperation and communication which are essential to ending the suffering of the many men and women and children who today are enslaved and sold as if they were a mere commodity . . . [xxxiii]
Major Efforts led by Pope Francis
Pope Francis began his anti-human trafficking efforts by calling three international conferences to study the issue and make recommendations. The first preparatory workshop was held in November 2013 with the purpose to examine the status quo and develop an agenda to fight the problem. Early in 2014 a Vatican conference was designed for law enforcement agencies, and a third in July 2015[xxxiv] with mayors from around the world. Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Science, hosted the first of three international gatherings on trafficking and the marginalized. He said the pope’s focus on the issue is driven by a deep desire to be close to those who suffer, recognizing that Christ himself can be found in their wounds. “He really has always had this ‘nose for’ the people of the Beatitudes, those who are poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted, and so on . . . this is his instinct.”[xxxv]
The Global Freedom Network convened on March 17, 2014 involved seven religious leaders (Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Orthodox) commonly willing to eliminate the underlying networks of human trafficking and related endemic issues. In collaboration with the heads of the Muslim faith, the Anglican Church, and the founder of the Walk Free Foundation, a resolution was proclaimed to end modern slavery by 2020. Nothing with such specific focus had ever been undertaken by any other pope or religious group. It outlined six necessary steps to accomplish the goal.
Awareness: Mobilizing faith communities
Ethical purchasing: Supply-chain proofing
Services/facilities for victims and survivors of forced labor, prostitution and organ trafficking
Lobbying: Law reforms and enforcement
Prevention: Education and awareness
Funding: private donors along with national and international organizations
Not only does Pope Francis speak about human trafficking in many venues, he has also written authoritatively about it in both of his encyclicals — the 2013 Evangelii Gaudium ¶211[xxxvi] and in the 2015 Laudato si ¶91, 92[xxxvii]. He continues to keep this grave evil and crime on the agenda of the nations of the world. As recently as April 7, 2016, Cardinal Vincent Nicols on the pope’s behalf addressed the special conference on combatting human trafficking and modern slavery at the United Nations in New York.[xxxviii]
Promoting continuity in prayer and awareness by faith communities around the world, Pope Francis endorsed an International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking by several Vatican congregations and global leaders of men and women religious on February 3, 2015[xxxix] – another example of Pope Francis’s empowerment of others.
Now, what do we do? Some suggested radical acts to end modern slavery
Some of these ideas are related to developing communities of trust. They are adapted here with reference to human slavery prevention and support for trafficked survivors.
Befriend a survivor who needs support.
Volunteer at a Boys and Girls Club and thereby provide friendship to youth who may at risk.
Get to know a registered sex offender in your neighborhood.
Connect with a group of workers for farmers who grow your food and visit them. Ask what they get paid.
Track to its source one item of food you eat regularly. Each time you eat that food, pray for those who helped make it possible to come to your table.
Become a pen pal with someone in prison.
Participate in a worship service where you will be a minority.
Confess something you have done wrong to someone and ask them to pray for you.
Share the costs of your health care through a network to assist human trafficking survivors.
Start conversations in your community with whom you need to deepen trust – law enforcement, troubled teens, a different political party, a different faith tradition.
Pope Francis knows that ultimately converting hearts and minds is what will determine whether people of all faiths, economists, businesses, police and politicians take action. Each of us needs to take action in some way.
[xiv] Conference held at the Vatican for law enforcement, church workers and charity representatives on April 10, 2014; To New Ambassadors Accredited to the Holy See. Clementine Hall. December 12, 2013; To the Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See, January 13, 2014; To Delegates of the International Association of Penal Law, October 23, 2014: L’Osservatore Romano, 24 October 2014, p. 4; Declaration on International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, December 2, 2014; UN conference in New York on April 7, 2016.
[xxvi] Kirchgaessner, Stephanie in Vatican City and staff. “Pope laments ‘meaningless lives’” in tying human trafficking to climate change.” THE GUARDIAN. July 21, 2015. Remarks by Pope Francis following conference with mayors. Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of Cities. July 16, 2015 in Rome.
[xxxiv] See #EndSlavery http://www.endslavery.va/content/endslavery/en/who.html that describes all the ways in which the pontifical academies of science and social sciences have been involved. #EndSlavery is an initiative of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Sciences for their work to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking, a task Pope Francis assigned to them in 2013.
[xxxvi] Evangelium Gaudium 211: I have always been distressed at the lot of those who are victims of various kinds of human trafficking. How I wish that all of us would hear God’s cry: “Where is your brother?” (Gen 4:9). Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labor? Let us not look the other way. There is greater complicity than we think. The issue involves everyone! This infamous network of crime is now well established in our cities, and many people have blood on their hands as a result of their comfortable and silent complicity.