By Matters India Reporter
Manila: Human trafficking as a form of slavery is a key concern for the church, says a top Vatican functionary.
“There has never been as many people enslaved as there is now. There is an estimated 45 million people in the world in traffic even as we speak. Just imagine the extent of that,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN on July 30, the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
He was speaking at the Fourth Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at University of Santo Tomas (Catholic University of the Philippines) in Manila.
“After Yolanda typhoon of 2013 that struck Philippines, so many fishermen lost their jobs, everyone becomes so vulnerable to whatever offer of any job they could get, many become so vulnerable to human trafficking in the fishing industry,” said the prelate, a Filipino.
“If you are not aware of these things then you have to be aware,” added Archbishop Auza, a native of Talibon, Bohol (Philippines).
Archbishop Auza said 71 percent of those trafficked are still women but the number of children being trafficked is also increasing because of the same reason, sexual exploitation.
Catholic bishops continue to tackle the problem of human trafficking by teaming up with different Church agencies to fight modern slavery.
Part of the initiative will focus on broader education campaign about human trafficking and wider support for victims through spiritual and social services.
Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labor and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labor globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation.
While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.
Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims. Children make up almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Additionally, women and girls comprise 71 per cent of human trafficking victims, the report states.
In 2010, the General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, urging Governments worldwide to take coordinated and consistent measures to defeat this scourge. The Plan calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programs in order to boost development and strengthen security worldwide.