Pope Francis: Our society sometimes tolerates and encourages human trafficking
Published on Feb 9, 2018
Published on Feb 12, 2018
Pope Francis encouraged the work of the Santa Marta Group on February 9, 2018, in an address to its members in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. The group, established by the Holy Father in 2014, was concluding its February 8-9 meeting in the Vatican.
“Experience shows that such modern forms of slavery are far more widespread than previously imagined, even – to our scandal and shame –within the most prosperous of our societies,” the Pope said. “As leaders in law enforcement, research and public policy, and pastoral assistance, you offer an essential contribution to addressing the causes and effects of this modern-day scourge, which continues to cause untold human suffering.”
The Santa Marta Group is an alliance of international police chiefs and bishops from around the world working together with civil society in a process endorsed by Pope Francis, to eradicate human trafficking and modern-day slavery. This week’s gathering was the fifth for the group.
This year’s conference focused on regional realities with tailored solutions to human trafficking in each continent. With input from every continent, each region discussed their experiences, both the successes and challenges they face, with growing collaboration identified as a priority in neighboring countries where the challenges are similar.
Education and economic opportunity is the focus on the supply side from countries of origin and the need for a strong legal framework, accountability and active citizenship on the demand side in countries of destination. While there are significant similarities in approaches to combating human trafficking across regions, the need for local action was emphasized, recognizing the significant levels of internal trafficking taking place.
The conference also featured contributions from international agencies, introducing the role of the private sector and the importance of transparency in supply chains. Practical ways to address difficult to track human trafficking, such as slavery within seafaring, were also discussed. A challenge to the group was to increase their accountability through greater transparency with the media, both on work done and long-term strategy. An example was shared from the UK, where Church and Law Enforcement partnered with a media outlet (the Evening Standard) to raise awareness of human trafficking, investigate cases of modern slavery and propose solutions through a roundtable chaired by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
Cardinal Nichols, President of the Santa Marta Group, in his address to Pope Francis, drew attention to the need to always remember the victim at the center of this evil crime; the enslaved person who demands our action in combating trafficking. Cardinal Nichols said:
“Our Santa Marta Group meeting has been a hard look at one of the dark faces of globalization: the scourge of human trafficking and modern slavery. In contrast, Holy Father, we thank you for the many ways in which you make visible the truly human face of our world. Constantly in your actions and words, you remind us that the well-being of the human person must always be at the center of every endeavor.”
The following is a Vatican-provided translation of the Holy Father’s address today to the “Santa Marta Group,” meeting in the Vatican, Feb. 8-9, 2018:
* * *
Dear Brother Bishops,
I am happy to greet you, the members of the Santa Marta Group, at the conclusion of your Conference, which is devoted this year to providing a worldwide perspective on human trafficking and modern slavery. As leaders in law enforcement, research and public policy, and pastoral assistance, you offer an essential contribution to addressing the causes and effects of this modern-day scourge, which continues to cause untold human suffering.
It is my hope that these days of reflection and shared experiences have brought into clearer light the interplay between the global and local aspects of human trafficking. Experience shows that such modern forms of slavery are far more widespread than previously imagined, even – to our scandal and shame –within the most prosperous of our societies.
God’s cry to Cain, found in the first pages of the Bible – “Where is your brother?” – challenges us to examine seriously the various forms of complicity by which society tolerates, and encourages, particularly with regard to the sex trade, the exploitation of vulnerable men, women and children (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 211). Initiatives to combat human trafficking, while concretely aimed at dismantling criminal structures, must increasingly consider broader issues associated, for example, with the responsible use of technology and the communications media, to say nothing of exploring the ethical implications of models of economic growth that privilege profit over persons.
I trust that your discussions in these days will also help to raise awareness of the growing need to support victims of these crimes by accompanying them on a path of reintegration into society and the recovery of their human dignity. The Church is grateful for every effort made to bring the balm of God’s mercy to the suffering, for this also represents an essential step in the healing and renewal of society as a whole.
Dear friends, with gratitude for your commitment and cooperation in this vital area, I offer my prayerful best wishes for your continued work. Upon you and your families, and upon all those whom you serve, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of wisdom, strength and peace. And I ask you, please, to remember to pray for me.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by the Vatican]
Related Articles/ Videos on Human Trafficking click below:
Pope Francis: Citizens and institutions must join forces against human trafficking http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2018/02/08/pope-francis-citizens-and-institutions-must-join-forces-against-human-trafficking/
Holy See to UN: ‘Take Greater Role in Preventing Scourge of Human Trafficking’ http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2017/03/16/holy-see-to-un-take-greater-role-in-preventing-scourge-of-human-trafficking/
The Holy See and the fight against human trafficking – Archbishop Auza’s Address to Fordham University http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2017/03/06/the-holy-see-and-the-fight-against-human-trafficking-archbishop-auzas-address-to-fordham-university/
Pope Francis in Santa Marta: Today God mourns the innocent killed by bombs and human trafficking http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/10/27/pope-francis-in-santa-marta-today-god-mourns-the-innocent-killed-by-bombs-and-human-trafficking/
Pope Francis calls on governments to take action against human trafficking http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/02/09/pope-francis-calls-on-governments-to-take-action-against-human-trafficking/
Pope Francis on World Day Against Human Trafficking: A look at the numbers… http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/07/30/pope-francis-on-world-day-against-human-trafficking-a-look-at-the-numbers/
Pope Francis’ best messages to the youth and church’s effort to stop human trafficking http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/tag/pope-francis-best-messages-to-the-youth-and-churchs-effort-to-stop-human-trafficking/
Pope Francis: Modern slavery is a crime against humanity – Human trafficking http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/tag/pope-francis-modern-slavery-is-a-crime-against-humanity-human-trafficking/
VATICAN TACKLES HUMAN TRAFFICKING: 50 million known slaves worldwide http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/tag/vatican-tackles-human-trafficking-50-million-known-slaves-worldwide/
Human Trafficking Issues http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2014/07/13/human-trafficking-issues/
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking
Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. This may encompass providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage, or the extraction of organs or tissues, including for surrogacy and ova removal. Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. Human trafficking is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim’s rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation. Human trafficking is the trade in people, and does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), forced labor alone (one component of human trafficking) generates an estimated $150 billion in profits per annum as of 2014. In 2012, the ILO estimated that 21 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery. Of these, 14.2 million (68%) were exploited for labor, 4.5 million (22%) were sexually exploited, and 2.2 million (10%) were exploited in state-imposed forced labor.
Human trafficking is thought to be one of the fastest-growing activities of trans-national criminal organizations.
Human trafficking is condemned as a violation of human rights by international conventions. In addition, human trafficking is subject to a