Human trafficking is among the vilest crimes still being committed against humanity in this modern society. It is a crime that defiles the dignity of the human person. Borrowing from the words of a famous Catholic theologian, Edward Schillibeeckx, I describe it as “a dark fleck in our history.” In Pope Francis’ speech after the Angelus prayer on February 8, which he declared a Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking, he decries the evil of human trafficking and describes it as a “shameful scourge unworthy of a civilized society.” He maintains that each of us should “commit to be a voice for these our brothers and sisters humiliated in their dignity.”
Among the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committed to eradicating human trafficking is the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons (CSTIP) www.ngocstip.org/. CSTIP is a coalition of NGOs “dedicated to the eradication of human trafficking in all its forms through education, advocacy, research, and monitoring compliance with UN treaties, protocols, laws and resolutions.” During the recent Commission on Social Development at the UN, the Salesians of Don Bosco, in collaboration with CSTIP, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, sponsored a parallel event titled: “People First: Community Responses to Human Trafficking.”
Panelists at this event highlighted the realities of human trafficking and modern slavery in our present world, and the plight of victims of this heinous crime from the perspective of a survivor. Among the panelists was Peggy Cummins SNDdeN (left) director of Bakhita House, a shelter for women in vulnerable situations in the Boston area of the US. Other participants included academia, health personal, a representative from the US Department of Homeland Security, and a survivor/advocate against human trafficking.
Listening to the panelists, participants were filled with a renewed resolve and a sense of urgency to continue in the fight to end human trafficking and modern-day slavery in our world. However, because of the scale and the multidimensional nature of this issue, eradicating human trafficking requires the concerted efforts of multiple actors—individuals, groups, communities, civil society, private sector, national/regional governments and the international community. Human trafficking/modern-day slavery happens everywhere; therefore, almost everyone can do something to help eradicate it.
Read more: www.unodc.org/unodc/human-trafficking/