World Day Against Trafficking in Human Persons – 30 July 2014

24 July 2014 | General Interest

Human trafficking is the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for sexual or labour purposes. It is a modern form of slavery.

Despite the fact that human trafficking is widely condemned as a violation of human rights by international conventions, it is estimated that throughout the world 27 million people are trafficked. Women and children represent 80 percent of those affected by this complex web of bondage that robs them of their youth, their dignity and their freedom and reduces them to objects for use and misuse.

Human trafficking is a crime fuelled by global poverty, inadequate education and opportunity, ethnic discrimination and societal gender inequity, and by the demand for cheap labour and cheap sex. It is a crime that transcends cultures, class and geography. Trafficking is linked to prostitution, drug use, homelessness and marginalisation Virtually every country in the world is affected by this crime, whether as an origin, transit or destination country for smuggled migrants by profit-seeking criminals.

We have all seen media reports of suffering, smuggled migrants, who are vulnerable to life-threatening risks and exploitation; thousands of people have suffocated in containers, perished in deserts, dehydrated or drowned at sea. Their suffering is degrading and shameful. Generating huge profits for the criminals involved, migrant smuggling fuels corruption and empowers organized crime. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that the illegal profits made from the use of forced labor in the private economy worldwide amount to $150.2 billion per year, exceeding both the population and GDP of many countries or territories around the world.

 "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 could hear God's cry "Where is your brother?"(Gen 4,9) Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Where is the brother or sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labour. Let us not look the other way."
(Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium  211).

We pray and work together to free the victims of human trafficking. 

4 simple actions you can take:

  • Learn about the global Fair Trade movement so that your purchases help ensure that producers in the developing world receive fairer prices and better working conditions
  • Consult the Trafficking in Person's Report 2014 to find out how well your country is doing in its efforts to address the issue of human trafficking
  • Read the monthly Stop Trafficking Newsletter to educate yourself about this important social issue
  • Purchase FAIRTRADE, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certified chocolate to ensures that no slave labour has been used in the chocolate’s production.

Images: Human Trafficking is a Crime. Used with permission.
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