30/04/2012 2:00 pm
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Palazzo San Callisto, Vatican
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Men, women and children are bought and sold every day – transported into slavery for sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and forced farm/construction labour. Human trafficking is real and now ranks as the second most profitable worldwide criminal enterprise after the illegal arms trade.
There are 1.1 billion Catholics across the world – the Catholic Church can use its global networks to help fight the scourge of human trafficking. To this end, the Vatican hosted a May 2012 conference in Rome at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on combating human trafficking.
The day focused on prevention, pastoral support and rehabilitation and saw a victim of trafficking share her harrowing story. The conference drew on a wide variety of speakers and organisations, including the Deputy Head of the UK Human Trafficking Centre, CARITAS Lithuania and the nun who set up Albania Hope – an anti-trafficking charity.
Delegates came from all over the world - Lithuania, Nigeria, Thailand, South Africa, USA, Europe - also present was the Head of the Polish Police Force and a senior member of the FBI.
The conference was organised by the Office for Migration Policy (OMP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, building on a successful partnership with the Metropolitan Police.
In which awareness-raising takes place in a target country about the reality of what migration to a Western country involves. Because a significant amount of trafficking is done by deception, e.g. the promise of a well-paid job in a Parisian hotel, there is scope for well-planned prevention campaigns. They can help people understand the risks involved in accepting apparently good jobs and thus preventing at least some people being enticed by criminals into leaving their homes.
Pastoral Care (in-country)
Raising awareness, however successful, will only stop a certain amount of trafficking because much is coercive so it is necessary to look at how victims can be helped pastorally and practically when they are apprehended by statutory authorities. Much work has been done on how best to assist the recovery of very vulnerable people when they are released from their captivity and the conference looked at how that might implemented more widely.
Once freed, victims need help resettling into their host country or in returning to their home state. The relationship pioneered by Caritas Lithuania and the Metropolitan Police provides a model of how to help victims find economic and pastoral support.
Here is a detailed list of the speakers who addressed conference delegates
Human Trafficking Seminar