This Friday, 18 October is European Anti-Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Sister Patricia Mulhall, csb invites readers to pray and take part in a number of actions to support the campaign. She writes:
Worldwide, 27 million adults and 13 million children are victims of human trafficking around our world. Although human trafficking is often the ‘invisible’ international crime of the 21st century and accurate statistics are difficult to acquire, researchers estimate that more than 80% of victims are female. Their stories tell of abuse, devastating physical, emotional and psychological harm. This crime is a fundamental violation of human rights, tantamount to slavery. Victims are lured with false promises of well-paid work. Often instead, their passports or identification papers are confiscated and they are held in forced bondage. Due to language barriers, lack of knowledge about available services, and the frequency with which their traffickers move them, both they and their perpetrators are difficult to track.
An estimated $32billion is generated from human trafficking every year. Little wonder it is a ‘thriving’ trade in the exploitation of vulnerable human persons.
Recently, Pope Francis asked experts to look closely at human trafficking, to explore ways to combat it, beginning with a conference in Rome in November 2013.
He said: “Human trafficking is a despicable activity, a disgrace to our societies that describe themselves as civilised. Refugees, displaced and stateless people are particularly vulnerable to the plague of human trafficking, which increasingly involves children subjected to the worst forms of exploitation... We are living in a world, in a culture where the fixation on money holds sway, and the ‘trade in people’ is vile activity.”
Anyone working with victims, or involved in education awareness, advocacy and campaigning work on behalf of victims of human trafficking, know this to be true.
When people are treated as objects to be bought and sold, abused and exploited, their condition ought not to leave us indifferent. This is the slavery of our time. Our faith calls forth our response. Victims cry out for help, just like the lepers cried out to Jesus for healing.
I invite you to respond with your prayers and support, on Friday, 18 October – European Anti-Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Your prayers give hope to those who are working to end human trafficking.
POST a MESSAGE ON FACEBOOK or Email to RENATE in three simple steps:
• Write a message of support on your hand
• Photograph it
• Send your photo to RENATE Facebook Timeline
or Email to [email protected]
For more information see: www.renate-europe.net/
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