Human trafficking is a devastating, complex and increasingly rife problem in the modern world. Described by Pope Francis as a ‘crime against humanity’, this organised and global crime trades both adults and children for money.
Calling on Catholics around the world to pray with him for the victims of trafficking during February, his Holiness said:
‘The money from their dirty, underhanded business is blood money. I’m not exaggerating: it’s blood money.’
The Church in action
Missionaries and the global Church are at the forefront of the fight against human trafficking. The Church in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania have committed to help save victims of trafficking and all who are exploited in this way.
The Santa Marta group is a global alliance of police chiefs, Bishops and religious communities who work with civil society to tackle human trafficking. At its second regional conference, it recommended that Bishops’ Conferences create a special office to deal with human trafficking. It also recommended that Bishops’ Conferences work with authorities to cut ‘the umbilical cord of human trafficking and slavery today’, as Archbishop Philip Anyolo of Kinsumu in Kenya put it.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Santa Marta group said:
‘Human trafficking is an extremely profitable criminal activity and those who carry it out have no limits both in their desire for profit and in their insensitive indifference to people’s dignity. They must be stopped and the victims saved, loved and supported’.
Missionaries are at the forefront – and Missio is with them
It’s perhaps unsurprising – but nonetheless tragic – that communities that are poor are the main victims of trafficking. And these are the communities where Missio carries out its vital work.
Last year on World Mission Sunday, we shared the story of Sister Clara and her order in India. With support from Missio in England and Wales, the Sisters work to rescue, rehabilitate and nurture children who are victims of trafficking. Children like Shorti*, Vandoosha* and 12 million others like them. The Sisters provide counselling, spiritual care and a safe haven. They reshape what would have been a desperate future into one of hope.
When you donate to Missio, you’re making sure we can reach more victims of trafficking, through the tireless work of missionaries around the world. Thank you for supporting us>>
In a similar project in Ethiopia, the parish church in Jajura is running a vital project for young women. Many of them leave their homes and travel to the Middle East to work as domestic help. They’re lured by the promise of well-paid work and a chance to escape poverty.
But sadly, many of these young women are physically and psychologically abused while working overseas. Some are forced to work long hours, or locked in their rooms by their employers. And many return home unpaid and traumatised.
Jajura parish welcomes young women of all faiths and backgrounds, and offers them healing and counselling in the church hall. Missio is helping to fund a new church building for the parish, so this desperately needed work can continue.
Together we can end human trafficking
With the focus of the global Church directed at trafficking, we really can work to bring this crime against humanity to an end. In February, Pope Francis asks all Catholics to hear the cries of our migrant brothers and sisters who are victims of trafficking. You can find this month’s prayer intention here.
Thank you for supporting Missio in any way you can.