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Overwhelming response to Vatican petition for proposals to fight human trafficking

2013-11-04

The Vatican ended the first of two seminars, leading to a four-day conference, on how to do away with human trafficking. The two day event addressed the state of 29 million people worldwide considered to be modern slaves. 

PROF. JUAN JOSE LLACH
Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences
"This was an explicit petition from Pope Francis to the Vatican academies to analyze this topic and come up with solutions. We received 49 proposals from the participants, and we hope to draft a statement on behalf of our academies."

The Vatican will sort the proposals and complete a statement in the coming weeks. However, it probably wont include concrete steps like the creation of a DNA registry, because they said it would only address a small part of the problem.

During the workshop, participants discussed challenges in fighting human trafficking. The biggest, is that, since it's an illegal activity, the extent of the problem is not well known, yet. Plus more challenges arise as times change.

PROF. WARNER ARBER
President, Pontifical Academy of Sciences
"In future times, probably unqualified labor work will be much less demanded for. I feel that in long term, that increases unemployment, which will create another big problem of social behavior.” 

Unemployment, along with poverty and education, emerged as big risk factors that lead to human trafficking. In addition to the well known aspects like forced labor or sexual exploitation, participants also spoke about newer trends.

PROF. JUAN JOSE LLACH
Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences
"There are children who are forced to beg on behalf of criminal groups. There are children worse off who are forced to sell drugs. They're turned into users, then into dealers. And there have been many deaths of teens that have wanted to leave this groups."

The two day event included approximately 80 participants, major players from across the world in the fields of science, including social and medical sciences.

Another seminar will take place next year. Both events will help organizers put together a four-day mega conference at the Vatican, in 2015. Pope Francis is then expected to take direct action to address human trafficking.


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