Human Trafficking 2018


“Modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labor and prostitution, and organ trafficking, is a crime against humanity.  Its victims are from all walks of life, but are most frequently among the poorest and most vulnerable of our sisters and brothers.”

                                                                                            Pope Francis, 2014


February 8th has been designated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking.  February 8th is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy.  After being freed she became a Casossian sister and dedicated her life to sharing her story of deliverance from slavery and working with the poor.  She was declared a Saint in 2000.


We have written about human trafficking in previous articles and yet the issue of trafficking continues to be a “crime against humanity” as Pope Francis states.


There are an estimated 40.3 million victims of modern-day slavery or trafficking worldwide.  25 million are victims of labor or sex trafficking.  Trying to identify who the victims are remains a challenge for United States efforts to stop trafficking. Every country is affected by human trafficking. In 2016, the Department of Justice convicted 439 traffickers.  This was an increase from the previous year but still it is not enough.


Migrants and refugees are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking as these individuals are brought across United States borders and forced into various forms of slavery, including labor trafficking. 


A great effort is being made in the United States to educate consumers about the items which they purchase.  Another area of trafficking is in the supply chains of various products.  Before an item or food product has entered our homes, schools, offices, etc., it has traveled through the hands of many persons who are often treated as slave labor. 


How do we make moral purchasing decisions?  This is a tough question. We can learn more about being a responsible consumer and finding out about goods that may be products of forced or child labor.  Four helpful websites are the following:


Human trafficking takes on many faces. Worldwide every country is involved or affected; trafficked victims are of every nationality and race.  The abolition of slavery in the United States did not end slavery in this country.  Doing away with sweatshops in New York city and elsewhere which existed in the last centuries did not stop slavery.  Human trafficking raised its ugly head in other ways and is truly a “crime against humanity.”


Prayer, educating ourselves, making more ethical choices in products we choose, getting involved by urging our lawmakers to eliminate human trafficking and speaking out for justice towards the poor and vulnerable are all ways we can become involved in stopping human trafficking.


                                                                                                                   Ann Kasparek,smr   

                                                                               If you want peace, work for justice”

                                                                                                                       Pope Paul VI