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Vatican announces Human Trafficking campaign for Brazil's World Cup 2014

2014-05-20

It's no secret that Pope Francis is a huge soccer fan. In the past year, he has received everything from personalized jerseys to signed soccer balls. 

On a social level, it's also true that he has been very vocal about condemned human trafficking.

Now a group of religious are putting these two factors together, by launching a campaign against human trafficking, specifically during the World Cup in Brazil in mid June. It's called:  Play for Life

SR. CARMEN SAMMUT
Talitha Kum
"Without this awareness, the World Cup Final may turn out to be a terrible shame instead of a feast for humanity.”

The campaign is being launched by Talitha Kum, which includes a worldwide network of women religious who for years now, have helped victims and developed prevention programs. Falling into the trap, they say, isn't as complicated as it may seem. A false promise of a better job is often the hook. 

SR. GABRIELLA BOTTANI
Talitha Kum
"They trick them by offering them what seems to be like a dream job in another city or foreign country, so they go voluntarily. But then they're forced into prostitution. The fact that they go voluntarily at first makes the business more lucrative and much more easier for the criminals.” 

The plan of action is already underway in Brazil. It includes marketing in the cities buses and metros, education in schools and a presence at airports and other high risk areas.  

But when it comes to human trafficking, these sisters say, it's not just about sexual exploitation. The problem also includes the sale of organs, forced labor and vulnerable children also face high risks. 

SR. GABRIELLA BOTTANI
Talitha Kum
"There are a lot of forms of kidnapping. This includes the adoption of kids who eventually disappear without a trace. Then there are those who are kidnapped to be beggars.” 

About 21 million people are affected by this crime worldwide. Some experts the industry is becoming even more lucrative than the sale of illegal drugs.  


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