In 2013 the United Nations, UN, member states adopted a resolution that designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. They thought it was necessary to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”
Although many countries have national trafficking laws in line with the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol, people continue to be trafficked. In some countries, victims are criminalised while the traffickers go unpunished. Women and girls are likely to be trafficked for sexual slavery and marriages. On the other hand, men and boys are forced to do labour jobs or to be soldiers. Nowadays, refugees from war and persecution are the most vulnerable to becoming victims.
Recently, some Sisters Hospitallers from Santa Teresa’s Home in London attended a conference on Human Trafficking – Raising awareness, organised by Conference of Religious.
There were several speakers, among them Mick Duthie, Deputy Director and former Police Officer and Helen Miller, Detective Sergeant in the Metropolitan Police.
They spoke extensively about modern slavery as one of the greatest evils in our world today. It is happening here in the UK too. It is characterised by targeting the most vulnerable in our society and using them as commodities from which to make a profit.
Modern slavery encompasses sexual exploitation, forced labour, child slavery, forced criminality, domestic servitude, forced marriage, organ harvesting and human trafficking. It can affect men, women and children, from abroad or from the UK. Victims are forced to work against their will on farms and building sites, in factories, restaurants, nail bars, car washes, brothels, massage parlours and private homes. Traffickers and exploiters use coercion and deception to keep control over their victims.
Human trafficking is a specific crime, under which people are moved for the purpose of exploitation within a town or between regions of a country. It can also involve international organised crime, where victims are recruited and trafficked between countries. Exploitation, which is illegal under the UK and international law, is a multi-billion dollar industry. In 1850, the cost of a slave was £30.000 in today’s money. Today a slave costs an average of £100.
There is an estimate of 45 million people in 167 countries and 1 in 4 are children. In 2014 an estimated 10,000-13,000 victims in the UK (Home Office estimation) 7000 have been reported in 2018. They come from Nigeria, Vietnam, UK, Eastern Europe and many other parts of the world.
The police investigating modern slavery work closely with the church through different organisations like Santa Marta Group run by the church where the Congregation of the Adoratrices is very closely involved. There are many other church organisations among which are the Brothers of St John of God, who work as a team to combat this increasing evil.
We can help to stop it. We can be part of it directly or indirectly. But also, we can help to stop human trafficking. Here are some examples: pray, create awareness, sponsored events, local Parish website, donations, volunteer service, life skills, therapeutic activities, pastoral Care and translation to reach more people.
If you have any suspicions, you can contact UK Human Trafficking Hotline on 0800 0121700 or 999