Holy See: ‘Migration Crisis, Human Trafficking A Crisis Of Humanity’

Msgr. Janusz Urbańczyk, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) - RV
Msgr. Janusz Urbańczyk, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – RV
 
(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

UN Chief: Human Trafficking a Problem in Many Conflict Zones

Outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Tuesday on all countries to investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking and said the most vulnerable victims are women, children and refugees caught up in conflict areas around the globe.

Ban, addressing the 15-member Security Council during an open debate on human trafficking in conflict zones, said extremist groups from the Islamic State to Boko Haram and al-Shabab traffic in persons, especially women and girls, as a weapon of terror and source of revenue.

“We have to fight trafficking for the sake of the victims,” Ban said. “When we do, we will also decrease funding for terrorists — and make everyone safer.”

Ban, whose term as top U.N. official ends Dec. 31, spoke the same day the Security Council unanimously approved its first-ever draft resolution on human trafficking in conflict situations. The resolution seeks to strengthen the United Nation’s ability to counter the phenomenon and bolster the international community’s ability to respond to it.

Yuri Fedotov, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said the building blocks for fighting international human trafficking can be found in the United Nations’ Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on the practice, which was adopted by the General Assembly and went into effect in 2003.

He said trafficking victims have been detected in 106 different countries and territories worldwide. The good news, he said, is that 158 countries have criminalized most forms of the practice in line with the protocol.

To read the full story by Dave Bryan of the Associated Press on ABC News: Click Here

New U.N. Role Needed To Fight Human Trafficking In Conflict: Experts

Refugees and migrants cross the Old Sava Bridge heading in the direction of the Croatian border, in Belgrade, Serbia November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Refugees and migrants cross the Old Sava Bridge heading in the direction of the Croatian border, in Belgrade, Serbia November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – People displaced by war across the world are at heightened risk of human trafficking due to gaps in the United Nations’ response, campaigners said on Monday, calling for the creation of a new U.N. office to fight modern slavery.

Nearly 46 million people around the world are living as slaves, forced to work in factories, mines and farms, sold for sex, trapped in debt bondage or born into servitude, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by rights group Walk Free Foundation.

Refugees are considered particularly vulnerable as poverty, insecurity and the necessity to flee war push them in the arms of traffickers who often operate with impunity in conflict areas.

Almost half of migrants traveling to Italy from North Africa said they were forced to work against their will along the way, mainly in lawless Libya, a survey by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) published last month found.

The U.N.’s response to trafficking amid the global refugee crisis has been fragmented, according to a report by Freedom Fund, an international initiative to fight slavery.

Several agencies, including the U.N.’s refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have taken steps to tackle different forms of trafficking, but with little coordination, the Freedom Fund said.

 To read the full story by Umberto Bacchi on Reuters: Click Here

Fight Against Human Trafficking Moving “Centre Stage”

A young Bangladeshi trafficking victim who was sold to a brothel. Photo : UNICEF-Shehzad Nooran

A young Bangladeshi trafficking victim who was sold to a brothel. Photo : UNICEF-Shehzad Noorani

The fight against human trafficking is increasingly moving “centre stage” as an issue for the international community, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, (UNODC).

The agency says that human trafficking affects every country of the world, as countries of origin, transit or destination.

Andita Listyarini reports.

UNODC says there are no firm figures for the number of people globally who are victims of human trafficking, although it does disproportionally affect women and children, who make up some 80 per cent of those trafficked.

Speaking at an event at the UN focusing on the ratification of the Palermo Protocol, an instrument to prevent, suppress and punish traffickers, the Executive-Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, said fighting crimes such as trafficking was critical to  meeting new development targets.

“The focus on crime is no longer on the periphery of building sustainable development; it is moving centre stage and it is increasingly being recognised as a significant barrier to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

According to UNODC, sexual exploitation is by far the most commonly identified form of human trafficking representing 79 per cent of all cases, followed by forced labour.

Andita Listyarini, United Nations.

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To download or listen to the story at United Nations Radio: Click Here

UN Report Proposes Action by Security Council, Private Sector on Human Trafficking in Conflict

NEW YORK, 8 SEPTEMBER 2016 – A report detailing ideas for action by the Security Council and the financial, technology and recruitment sectors to fight human trafficking in conflict was published today by the United Nations University (UNU), a United Nations think tank, and supported by the governments of the United Kingdom and Liechtenstein. The report, Fighting Human Trafficking in Conflict: 10 Ideas for Security Council Action, also identifies steps by which UN personnel in conflict zones could increase protection for potential victims, especially those displaced by conflict.

“With an estimated 45.8 million slaves alive today, modern slavery is one of the most significant human rights tragedies of our time. Conflict makes people especially vulnerable to exploitation and enslavement by groups like Da’esh/ISIL, and Boko Haram,” says Matthew Rycroft, CBE, UK Permanent Representative to the UN. “The United Kingdom is committed to working with international partners, including tech companies and other private sector actors, to address this scourge. We welcome the 10 concrete ideas for action proposed in this report and look forward to discussing them with our fellow members of the Security Council in the months ahead.”

Security Council members first took up the issue of human trafficking in conflict in December 2015 at the prompting of the United States and after hearing the heart-wrenching testimony of Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a Yazidi survivor of sexual enslavement by ISIL. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will release a report on this topic, which is expected to be formally debated in the Security Council in December. The UN University report provides ideas for consideration by UN member states prior to that debate.

To read or print the full press release: Click Here

The Holy See At The United Nations: Eliminating The Trafficking Of Children And Young People

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

Declaration of The Judges’ Summit Against Human Trafficking and Organized Crime

pass_judgessummitgroup
pass_declaration3june2016

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Address of Cardinal Nichols to UN on Human Trafficking

Cardinal Nichols at the UN

Address by Cardinal Vincent Nichols to the Special Conference held at the United Nations in New York on 7 April 2016 on the combatting of human trafficking and modern slavery.

I am honoured to address you this afternoon on this most important topic which is increasingly demanding not only our attention but that of the entire world. I address you behalf of the Santa Marta Group, an international network of cooperation and initiatives, active in this work against human trafficking and modern slavery. I speak, therefore, in the name of the Catholic community which today again wishes to make clear its unequivocal support for all who undertake this work and its willingness to take part in it.

In asserting this commitment of the Church, I emphasise the foundations from which we act: a radical commitment to the dignity of every human person, a dignity which has to be protected and promoted in every circumstance and time; a dignity which does not depend on the abilities or status of a person but which is rooted entirely in the inner depth of the person’s existence, in the gift of human life which always comes from the Divine Creator who has shown himself to be our loving Father. Human trafficking and slavery radically strips a person of this fundamental dignity, reducing them to the status of a commodity. It is an evil crying out to heaven. That there are over 20 million people callously held in modern slavery in our world today is a mark of deep shame on the face of our human family that no words alone can remove. The challenge that the eyes of faith see before us today is to work to our utmost to rescue, protect, assist and serve the poorest of the Father’s children who have be sold into slavery even as Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers ‘in the beginning'(Gen 37.32).

More personally I stand before you because of three key moments in my life.

The first was four years ago when I listened, for the first time, to the witness of a young woman who had been betrayed into the slavery of enforced prostitution. Her story was heart-wrenching. But what added a particular depth to my shock was the fact that she was a young English woman, trafficked from England into slavery in Italy.

To read the full address posted on Independent Catholic News (ICN): Click Here

New Trafficking Ambassador Addresses U.S. Mission to the United Nations

After almost a year without a leader, the State Department Trafficking in Person’s office has a new Ambassador, Susan Coppedge Amato, confirmed by Congress in October. She certainly seems like a good choice for the job.

At her first public appearance today, Ambassador Coppedge, a former federal prosecutor from Georgia with a strong record prosecuting human trafficking cases, made clear that while the United States has some strong laws on the books to prosecute traffickers, “we must all do more to address this problem.”

Speaking at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Coppedge presented her office’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, a 382-page volume on anti-trafficking efforts around the world that Coppedge called “the United States’ principle diplomatic tool” to convince other countries to do more to fight this form of modern slavery.

The credibility of that report has recently been called into question, however – an issue the new ambassador will need to address. As a Reuters news report revealed in August, the TIP report released last summer (before Coppedge took office) upgraded the rankings of 14 countries, even though State Department experts reportedly did not believe the evidence supported improvement on their efforts to combat trafficking.

Malaysia, for example, long criticized for not doing enough to combat forced labor and sex trafficking, was upgraded this year to “Tier 2 Watch List,” a step above its previous “Tier 3” ranking –  essentially a failing grade. (Tier 3 countries are those “whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”) Malaysia’s upgrade was crucial to President Obama’s ability to win “fast-track” approval for his proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Congress, since Malaysia would be a partner in the proposed trade agreement, and Congress has prohibited “fast-track” approval of any trade deal that includes a Tier 3 country. The upgrade of Malaysia therefore raised understandable suspicion that the State Department’s change in rank was more an attempt to push through the trade deal than a reflection of any actual improvement in the country’s anti-trafficking efforts. The lack of a leader in the State Department to champion the anti-trafficking cause may have smoothed the way for that upgrade – or at least left skeptics suspicious.

To read the full story by Daphne Eviatar at Human Rights First: Click Here

Ozark Henry Appointed UN Ambassador Against Human Trafficking

Flemish musician Piet Goddaer, better known by his stage name, Ozark Henry, has been appointed a National Goodwill Ambassador against human trafficking. He was chosen by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for his vast international network among activists and artists and his past commitment to campaigns on social issues.

Goddaer is the department’s first Goodwill Ambassador in Belgium. “Mr Goddaer is a prominent Belgian artist who has demonstrated a strong commitment to helping raise awareness about the crime of human trafficking,” said UNODC director of public affairs Jean-Luc Lemahieu. “His rhythmic voice and melodic music make him one of Belgium’s most influential modern-day storytellers, who will help UNOCD spread the word about this horrific crime that afflicts so many vulnerable victims.”

To read the full story by Lisa Bradshaw, of Flanders Today: Click Here