2011-05-21 12:28:29

Conference on modern-day slavery held in Rome

Over 12 million people are caught up in people trafficking every year – but that number jumps to 27 million if one counts those entrapped by debt bondage or other forms of slavery.

A conference on this modern-day slavery was held in Rome this week, co-sponsored by the United States Embassy to the Holy See and the Miami-based St. Thomas University School of Law.

Titled “Building Bridges of Freedom: Public-Private Partnerships to End Modern-Day Slavery,” the conference brought together delegates to discuss merging the resources of governments, civil society, the private sector and faith-based communities in the most effective ways to stop this widespread practice.

“In the year 2000 we visited cities in Italy and it was a harrowing experience: Shocking to see our girls on the streets of Italy, half naked, in the cold,” said Sr Patricia Ebegbulem, a founding member of the Nigeria-based Committee for the Support of the Dignity of Women (COSUDOW).

“Many of them had been trafficked,” she said.

COSUDOW now works to educate the women of Nigeria to prevent human trafficking before it even begins. The organization also works with victims who have returned to the country to re-integrate them back into society.

Listen to Sr Patricia Ebegbulem’s interview with Kelsea Brennan-Wessels: RealAudioMP3

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