SPECIAL ISSUE ON
HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND MODERN DAY SLAVERY
We promise to stand with people who are poor by seeking out and addressing critical needs, particularly in those places where our presence could make a difference. --Promise Chapter 2006 - Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange
January 11 th is National Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Awareness Day
PRINCIPLE III: SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
9. Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social, and environmental imperative.
b. Empower every human being with the education and resources to secure a sustainable livelihood, and provide social security and safety nets for those who are unable to support themselves.
Pope John Paul II on Trafficking
The trade in human persons constitutes a shocking offense against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights. Already the Second Vatican Council had pointed to “slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, and disgraceful working conditions where people are treated as instruments of gain rather than free and responsible persons” as “infamies” which “poison human society, debase their perpetrators” and constitute “a supreme dishonour to the Creator” (Gaudium et Spes, 27). Such situations are an affront to fundamental values which are shared by all cultures and peoples, values rooted in the very nature of the human person.
--Pope John Paul II, Letter to Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran on the Occasion of the International Conference “Twenty- First Century Slavery-the Human Rights Dimension to Trafficking in Human Beings,” May 15, 2002
WHAT TYPES OF SLAVERY EXIST TODAY?
There are more slaves in the world today than were captured from Africa during four centuries of slave trade. Today, an estimated 27 million people are enslaved around the world in some form. The organization Free the Slaves uses these categories to differentiate types of modern day slavery:
A person becomes bonded when their labor is demanded as a means of repayment of a loan or money given in advance. There are 20 million people working as bonded laborers worldwide. This is particularly common in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Brazil and the Caribbean.
This affects people who are illegally recruited by governments, political parties or private individuals, and forced to work, usually under threat of violence. Every year, Burma’s military dictatorship enslaves tens of thousands of people to work as porters for the army or on government construction projects.
Worst forms of child labor
This refers to children who work in dangerous or exploitative conditions. While not all child labor is slavery, millions of children worldwide work in conditions of slavery.
Commercial sexual exploitation of children
Children are exploited through prostitution, trafficking and pornography. They are often kidnapped, bought, or forced to enter the sex market. Child sex tourism is particularly common in Asia.
This involves the transport and/or trade of humans, usually women or children, for economic gain and involves force or deception. Often migrant women and girls are tricked and forced into domestic work and prostitution. Women from Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and South America are trafficked frequently to regions such as the US, EU, Japan and the Middle East.
Early and forced marriage
Women and girls are married without choice and forced into a life of servitude, and often physical violence. This occurs in North Africa and some Asian countries.
Traditional or ‘chattel’ slavery
Today people are still bought and sold as commodities. They are often abducted from their homes, inherited or given as gifts. This is common in West Africa, particularly Mauritania.
FACTS ON SLAVERY IN THE 21ST CENTURY
-- Adapted from Education for Justice
WHY IS SEX TRAFFICKING ALLOWED TO EXIST IN THE U.S.?
In 2000 Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 to “combat human trafficking by punishing traffickers, protecting victims, and mobilizing U.S. government agencies to wage a global anti-trafficking campaign.” In December 2005 the End Demand for Sex Trafficking Act passed, which seeks to lower the demand for sex trafficking. However, despite these laws, there are still many problems that inhibit effective prosecution of sex traffickers:
• A failure to identify victims. There is an appalling difference between the estimated number of victims trafficked into the U.S. and the number of victims found.
• A failure to prosecute traffickers. Many states remain unable to adequately address the problem, because of poor coordination between agencies, poor education about sex trafficking and limited support from the federal government.
• A failure to provide rehabilitation services to victims. Even after the passage of the 2005 Act, NGOs and social service agencies still bear the primary responsibility for identifying survivors, attending to their immediate needs for physical safety and housing, referring them for health care, facilitating their access to protection and rehabilitative services, and helping foreign victims to return to their countries of origin or begin new lives in the United States.
• A failure to educate the public about sex trafficking in the United States. Most Americans do not know what sex trafficking is, or if they do, they think it is a problem that occurs in other countries.
IDENTIFYING VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING/GETTING INVOLVED
The Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline (1.888.3737.888) can assist in determining if a person is a victim of human trafficking and can help you determine the next steps in providing support for potential victims. Victims of trafficking are numerous but often inconspicuous; victims are not criminals and the government is able to help them.
The Department of Health and Human Services, HHS, has awarded 18 grants for street outreach to organizations to help them identify victims of trafficking among populations with whom they are already operating. The groups targeted are those that are engaged in current outreach, and have an expertise on vulnerable populations, and have built a level of trust among them.
HHS established the Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness campaign, which promotes public awareness about trafficking and the protections available for trafficking victims. The goal of the campaign is to help communities identify and serve more victims of trafficking so that every individual forced, coerced, or fraudulently induced into exploitative work will have the courage and support to come forward and receive the full protection and benefits offered by the TVPA.
-- Adapted from The Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking
WHAT COMPANIES CAN DO
• 21st Century Slaves http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0309/feature1/
• Free the Slaves http://www.freetheslaves.net/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=183&srcid=183
you came to set us free from all forms of slavery and to heal us into freedom. Let us remember those who have suffered from slavery and the millions who still suffer as slaves.
We pray for Raj, in Bangledesh, whose family sold him into slavery at 10 because the younger children were starving and they needed to buy rice.
We pray for Victoria, 17, from Moldova, forced into debt slavery in Bosnia and put to work as a prostitute.
We pray for 14-year-old Jonah from Sierra Leone, who was enslaved by the military when he was ten.
We pray for Julia Gabriel, 19, smuggled from Mexico to find a better future in the U.S., only be to be forced to pick crops under armed guard in South Carolina for 12 - 14 hours a day.
We pray for Mai, 27, a new mother, who was separated from her baby and forced to work on roads in Burma.
We pray for all your children who have suffered the injustice of slavery.
We know, Lord,
Liberator Lord, hear us, help us, and set your children free through us. Amen
–Education for Justice