Combating Human Trafficking

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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 Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) is hosting a conference on combating human trafficking on 8 May 2012. The day will focus on prevention, pastoral support and rehabilitation and will see a victim of trafficking sharing her harrowing story. The conference will draw in a wide variety of speakers, 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 will come from all over the world – Lithuania, Nigeria, Thailand, South Africa, USA, Europe – also present will be the Head of the Polish Police Force and a senior member of the FBI.
The lead Bishop for Migrants in England and Wales and key organiser of the conference, Bishop Patrick Lynch says:

“We are, first of all, very grateful to Cardinal Turkson for hosting this conference which will bring together people representing the Church, law enforcement agencies, NGO’s, religious orders and a variety of embassies from a number of different countries throughout the world. My hope is that it will create within the Church a greater awareness of the extent and tragedy of human trafficking, but also that it will strengthen the resolve of Church groups, governments and civic groups to work together to prevent trafficking and support those people and projects who do heroic work in helping the victims of trafficking.”
Conference speaker, Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, is all too aware of the tragedy of human trafficking:

“The trafficking of human beings by its very nature operates across the globe and involves the most serious exploitation of human rights. Those who are trafficked are often tricked, deceived, subjected to threats of violence or targeted due to their vulnerability. There are many people around the world doing a great deal to support victims and assist the authorities to bring traffickers to justice, the Catholic Church is particularly active in this area. The conference in Rome will bring together experts from many of the regions where trafficking occurs. These will be decision makers and it is the aim of the conference to begin a process of coordinating and sharing these resources to improve prevention, pastoral care and reintegration. If the conference results in preventing one person being trafficked it is has been a success. We now have an opportunity by working together to save many hundreds and possibly thousands from this most evil exploitation.”
The conference is being co-organised by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Office for Migration Policy (OMP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, building on a successful partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service.


Vatican Human Trafficking Conference

Human Trafficking Seminar