Caritas calls for a wave of solidarity against human trafficking

Caritas Internationalis calls on all people of good will to support the fight against human trafficking and urges governments to strengthen protection and support services for victims.

February 09, 2022

The power of care

By Lisa Zengarini
As the Church observes the eighth World Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking on February 8, Caritas Internationalis urges all people of goodwill to help counter the culture of indifference and exclusion that surrounds often the victims. “This requires an outpouring of solidarity to receive, accompany and defend the victims, who must be received with unconditional compassion and must be protected,” said Aloysius John, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, noting that victims are often “invisible”. . .

Tackling the causes of human trafficking
John further stresses that human trafficking cannot be eradicated without addressing its root causes, including extreme poverty, also triggered by conflict and violence, as well as environmental degradation and climate change. .

“Human trafficking can only be stopped by ending wars and violence, raising awareness of the risk of falling into the trap of human trafficking, and promoting an inclusive economy that allows people to live in dignity on their land.

“As Pope Francis has called us to do, we must be ‘promoters of a care economy’, which ‘cares about work, creating employment opportunities that do not exploit workers through poor working conditions. demeaning work and grueling hours,'” John added.

Protect victims
Caritas Internationalis, whose 162 members work with victims and is a member of COATNET – a coalition of Catholic NGOs committed to the fight against human trafficking – also calls for concrete actions to prevent human trafficking, as well as to protect those who suffer this crime.

It is specifically aimed at governments that call on them to implement the United Nations Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons and other relevant conventions; improving protection and support services for survivors of human trafficking among people on the move; establish national anti-trafficking plans and ensure that victims receive adequate care, skilled protection and access to justice.

Talitha Kum
The Day of Prayer against Human Trafficking was instituted in 2015 by the Pontifical Councils for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and for Justice and by the International Unions of Religious Superiors (IUSG), following of Pope Francis’ call to fight human trafficking and take care of the victims.

The international prayer service is organized by Talitha Kum, a global network organization of religious women founded by the UISG that advocates for and assists victims of human trafficking. The day is marked significantly with the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita, a former Sudanese slave canonized in 2000 by Pope Saint John Paul II and patroness of modern Sudan and all victims of human trafficking.

A hidden crime
The number of victims of human trafficking has increased dramatically over the past decade and has increased further during the COVID-19 crisis.

Although present in all countries of the world, trafficking in human beings, whether for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced labor, domestic servitude or other forms of exploitation, remains a hidden crime, traffickers targeting the marginalized and the poor.

In 2020, 109,216 victims of human trafficking were identified worldwide. However, they represent only the tip of a much deeper iceberg. Indeed, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has estimated that there are more than 40 million victims worldwide.

women and children
Women and girls represent a large number of victims of trafficking, particularly for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Children living in extremely poor households are also particularly vulnerable. Globally, one in three detected victims is a child, but in low-income countries children make up half of detected victims, with most being trafficked for forced labour.

Although more traffickers have been brought to justice since the UN Trafficking Protocol came into force nearly 20 years ago, most cases still go unpunished.–Vatican News

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