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International conference on human trafficking begins at Vatican

2015-04-17

Human trafficking is one global problem that Pope Francis has devoted significant effort and energy to.

POPE FRANCIS
December 2, 2014
"The victims are from all walks of life, but usually it affects the poorest and most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.”

Since his election to the papacy, the Vatican has convened several conferences to study strategies to combat human trafficking. Experts and politicians from across the global have participated.

The latest conference has just started. The main theme was how corrupt governments allow the problem to persist.

GUSTAVO VERA
Alameda Foundation (Argentina)
"I think, first of all, states must try to defend life, liberty, and dignity. They have to have a firm stand on the issue of human trafficking. For me, firm means not only penalizing traffickers but also following the money trail, seizing property from the mafia, and using it to help people."

MARIA YANETH
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
"There are some governments that have gangsters and mobsters in them. Human trafficking is an organized crime. It's not every official and it's not statewide, but when we speak of organization, some state officials allow this problem to grow more each day.”

Those most affected by human trafficking are immigrants. However, in some European countries, citizens are even becoming targets of traffickers.

KATE GARBERS
Unseen (United Kingdom)
"Last year in the UK, there were over 2,700 people recognized as victims of trafficking. The top countries of the moment, that people are being trafficked into the UK from, are Albania, Vietnam, Nigeria, and Poland. We also are seeing an increase of UK nationals been trafficked within the UK.”

MARIA YANETH
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
"We all have to act at different levels, with different responsibilities.”

Last December at the Vatican, Pope Francis signed an agreement with other leaders of world religions to join forces and stop this injustice within six years.

There are an estimated 36 million people worldwide affected by human trafficking, whether they are enslaved prostitutes, indentured servants, or forced organ donors.


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