On February 8, International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, Caritas Internationalis calls on all its members to engage in the fight against this tragedy of our modern society and urges governments to strengthen protective and supportive services for the victims and to establish National anti-trafficking plans.
“The victims of human trafficking are often the invisible, but they are the most vulnerable populations, and we are called to accompany and protect these women, men, and children,” says Aloysius John, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis. “The 162 members of our Confederation are in close contact on a day to day basis with these people who are compelled to perform hard and dangerous labour or engage in commercial sex acts. While some are taken by force, others are lured into the trap. But all of them experience terrible conditions”.
Caritas Internationalis secretary general, also underlines that it is not possible to eradicate human trafficking without addressing the root causes that forced the people to flee and expose them to the risk of being exploited: extreme poverty, also triggered by climate changes and environmental degradation, conflicts and violence. “Human Trafficking can be stopped only by ending wars and violence, by raising awareness on the risk of falling into the human trafficking trap, and by promoting an inclusive economy that allows people to live in dignity in their lands. As Pope Francis called us to do, we should be ‘promoters of an economy of care’, that “cares for work, creating employment opportunities that do not exploit workers through degrading working conditions and gruelling hours.’”
On the day of the liturgical memory of St. Bakhita, Caritas Internationalis urges all people of goodwill to help counteract the culture of indifference and exclusion that often surrounds victims of trafficking. “This requires a wave of solidarity to receive, accompany and defend the victims, who need to be received with unconditional compassion and must be protected. Only by acting together can we say “no” to this crime with one voice,” adds John.
Caritas Internationalis – which is a member of COATNET, the coalition of catholic NGOs engaged in the fight against human trafficking – also calls for concrete action to prevent human trafficking and also to protect those who suffer this crime, asking governments to:
- implement the Palermo Protocol and other relevant conventions
- improve protective and supportive services for survivors of trafficking among people on the move
- establish National anti-trafficking plans
- ensure that victims receive careful care, qualified protection and access to justice
Caritas Internationalis is co-organising and participating in the eighth edition of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons (https://preghieracontrotratta.org)