2013-05-17 17:15:52

Holy See condemns human trafficking

17 May, 2013 - The Holy See has unequivocally condemned “the abhorrent and immoral practice of trafficking in human beings,” urging concrete actions from the international community to free the victims from “this repugnant form of contemporary slavery” and help rebuild their lives. The point was made this week by Indian Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio and Holy See's Permanent Observer at the United Nations in New York. Addressing a high-level meeting on the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, the archbishop noted that very often migration is a necessity rather than a free choice, and the sense of desperation gives human traffickers the opportunity to pry on migrants, thus making human trafficking one of the fastest growing criminal activities in today’s world. Describing trafficking in persons as a “shameful crime against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights,” the Holy See’s representative urged for effective juridical instruments against this “abominable trade in human beings, to prosecute its profiteers, and to assist the rehabilitation and reintegration of its victims.” To this end, the creation of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children by the Global Plan of Action provides a tangible means for ensuring support for those who suffer the dehumanizing impact of being trafficked. “While political, social and legal protections are indispensable to combating the scourge of human trafficking,” Archbishop Chullikatt said they “must also work to address those societal factors which foster the environment that makes human trafficking possible.” One such overriding factor he said was the growing trend of regarding human life as a commodity, evident especially in the women and girls who are trafficked each year for the sole purpose of making money from the sale of their bodies. He called for changing lifestyles and models of behaviour, particularly with regard to the image of women, which, he said, has led to the a veritable industry of sexual exploitation.
Trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation accounts for 58 per cent of all cases reported globally and demonstrates how increased demand fuels this market for human slavery and tolerates its immense human costs. It is a grim reminder that prostitution and consumers of so-called “sexual services” not only contribute to the trafficking of women and girls but also disrespect their human dignity. Another trend that reduces human dignity to a commodity is the demand more for less without due regard for the rights of workers. Forced labour he said accounts for more than a quarter of victims of trafficking. Archbishop Chullikatt pointed out that at the root of human trafficking was extreme poverty which victimizes the poor and the defenceless. Hence, he said, the fight against human trafficking entails addressing poverty eradication and lack of equal economic opportunity.

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