From the very start, stopping human trafficking and modern day slavery have been two main points of focus for Pope Francis.
"I want to thank those who work with migrants, by helping them and supporting them through these difficult moments. Defending them against those who Blessed Scalabrini described as 'merchants of human flesh.' Those who want to enslave migrants.”
In fact, Pope Francis also promoted the International Day of Prayer and Reflection against human trafficking, which was held for the very first time back in February. He called on governments to take action and also for every day Christians to do what they can to help.
"May each and every one of us feel committed to be a voice of our brothers and sisters whose dignity is being humiliated.”
July 30th marks the World Day Against Human Trafficking. It's part of an international call to bring attention to the issue. According to the Jesuit Refugee Service, human trafficking is growing to such a degree that it generates almost as much profit as drug trafficking and the illegal sale of weapons.
Women and children are the main victims. It's estimated that every year, half a million women are lured to Europe under the promise of a job. In reality, they are subjected to sexual exploitation. Those who find potential candidates earn roughly 500 dollars per person. According to UNICEF, an estimated 2 million children are forced into child prostitution. But some are also victims of organ trafficking. Others are forced to take up arms and fight in local wars.
Forced labor is also problem. According to the International Labour Organization, roughly 21 million people are practically slaves who work in the textile industry, construction or doing domestic work.
With a long list of issues related to modern day slavery and human trafficking, the Vatican is promoting a set of programs to that the vulnerable don't turn into victims. In fact in mid July, more than 65 mayors from the world's main cities visited the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis and see how they too can collaborate and help stop these problems on an international level.