Thursday 30 July marks World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Despite progress made against the global slave trade, human trafficking still exists in the world. And it occurs all over the world, including in our own country.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that there are more than 40 million people in our world today who are victims of human trafficking. Some are women and men trafficked into forced labour in factories, agricultural fields, hospitality and domestic servitude.
Some are children trafficked to pick our coffee or to work in dangerous mines for minerals to make our mobile phones, other electronic goods and cosmetics. Some are young girls, boys and women trafficked into sexual exploitation in brothels, dance bars and the pornography industry.
The current Covid-19 crisis has only exacerbated the problem, impacting people most vulnerable to trafficking. These are people who already often live in poverty and lack suitable housing and healthcare.
This is a global problem that also exists locally. Forced labour and human trafficking happen in every country, including Australia.
It is a billion-dollar industry. Yet behind all the statistics is a human person with their own story.
So how might a good citizen, who is also a Christian, view issues of human trafficking?
The United Nations affirms that trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights, which threatens national security and undermines sustainable development and the rule of law. ‘No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and servitude shall be prohibited in all their forms.’ (Article 4 Universal Declaration of Human Rights).
Pope Francis says that human trafficking is, without doubt, a crime against humanity for its unjustifiable violation of human dignity and freedom of victims. Trafficking seriously damages humanity as a whole, tearing apart the human family and the Body of Christ.
At ACRATH, our vision is of a world free of human trafficking. ACRATH’s work is inspired by Jesus who said: ‘I have come that all may have life and have it to the full.’ (John 10:10). That means a life of freedom and dignity for all.
This is a challenge that we will need to address together.
On 30 July, during World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, take a moment to reflect that you personally are able to make choices that will put a stop to human trafficking. Here are some specific actions, and some topic to discuss you might consider:
- Become an ethical consumer of coffee, chocolate, fashion and electronic goods etc.
- Ensure your school/workplace staff room and your own kitchen use only slavery-free products.
- Talk with 4-5 friends or family members about the issue of human trafficking.
- Visit the following website to further educate yourself https://acrath.org.au/
- Arrange a display or forum to raise awareness of the extent of the crime of human trafficking in locally and globally.
- Put a notice in the school/parish bulletin about 2020 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
- Organize a fund-raising activity to support ACRATH’s work against human trafficking.
- Organize a letter-writing campaign asking federal politicians to support groups such as ACRATH who to work with victims of human trafficking in Australia.
Praying together for an end to human trafficking:
Loving God, it’s hard to express what our minds can hardly comprehend or our hearts feel when we learn of people like us being trafficked because of human greed.
Response: May our prayer and actions cast light on the crime of human trafficking and help bring it to an end.
It’s difficult to hear of people being threatened, deceived and forced into sexual exploitation or forced labour. Response
We remember all who have been trafficked and robbed of their God-given dignity, that they will be strengthened by love and support that is tender and good. ResponseGive us faith and courage to stand in solidarity with all trafficked persons that together we will find the freedom that is your gift and thus create a safer world. Response