Statement from US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking: The Nexus Between Migration and Human Trafficking
The International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking 2018 spotlights the vulnerability of people on the move — migrants, refugees and internally displaced people — to human trafficking. The theme chosen for the fourth edition of the Day is “Migration without Trafficking: Say Yes to Freedom and No to Slavery.”
Trafficking in persons is a grave violation of human rights. Approximately 40.3 million people are victims of modern-day slavery around the world. Refugees and unaccompanied children are some of the most vulnerable targets of labor and sex traffickers.
As people who are committed to ending the scourge of human trafficking and welcoming all who are in need, we know that one of the best ways to prevent vulnerable women, men and children from becoming victims of human trafficking is by supporting our neighbors—migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons, and asylum seekers; protecting our young Dreamers in the U.S.; and advocating for full and robust funding for programs that reduce poverty and vulnerability.
The Board of Directors of US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking unanimously endorsed a strong statement entitled “The Nexus Between Migration and Human Trafficking” at our October 2017 meeting. As we pray and reflect on this theme on February 8, we invite our members and supporters to share the statement widely and use it as a basis for their advocacy work as together we address these two crucial, interrelated issues.
The Nexus between Migration and Human Trafficking
United States Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, a collaborative, faith-based national network that works to eradicate modern-day slavery, deplores the increase in human trafficking in the United States and around the world, some of which results from forced migration and our failed national refugee and immigration policies.
New immigrants may be susceptible to trafficking because of their precarious social and economic circumstances. Undocumented immigrants are at even greater risk because they live in constant fear of apprehension, detention, and deportation. Increased immigration enforcement only serves to push immigrants further into the shadows and gives a chilling advantage to traffickers who use people’s immigration status as a tool to exploit their labor or coerce them into participating in the sex trade.
President Trump’s decision to drastically decrease refugee admissions places these children, women and men, already among the most vulnerable and desperate people on earth, at even greater risk of forced labor and human trafficking.
Unfortunately, at a time when a record number of people are on the move--forced from their homes by violence of all kinds including poverty, armed conflict, abuse, and persecution, the United States is woefully unprepared to deal with the threat of human trafficking. To date, many positions in the State Department which aid in anti-trafficking efforts both in the United States and internationally are not filled. The administration’s plans to defund international agencies, including UNICEF, the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, and the World Food Program that support people on the move and federal programs housed in the U.S. Department of State and the Justice Department undercut anti-trafficking efforts and feed into the hands of those who seek to exploit migrants and refugees.
We call on faith leaders, members of the Trump Administration, and our legislators in Congress to insist that our nation “welcome the stranger” and care for those seeking refuge. We demand that our national policies, programs, and laws uphold the dignity of all human beings and seek to end the trafficking of children, women, and men who are all God’s children made in God’s image and likeness.
We have just completed production of a new brochure, which provides information on our organization and much more. It highlights the many valuable resources on our website, and provides general information on human trafficking for those who are new to this issue.
Members are encouraged to download and print copies of the brochure, which is 11” x 17”, from the attached pdf file. Help us spread the word far and wide about USCSAHT, and encourage others to support our work!
To view, print, or download the PDF: Click Here