On March 15, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, gave an intervention during the Security Council Open Debate dedicated to “Trafficking in persons in conflict situations: forced labour, slavery and other similar practices.”
In his statement, Archbishop Auza said that fighting the atrocity of trafficking in persons is one of the defining priorities of the papacy of Pope Francis. To eliminate human trafficking, the international community must eliminate its causes: extreme poverty, underdevelopment, exclusion, lack of access to education and employment, and especially wars and conflicts. All provide traffickers opportunities to exploit the vulnerable. Archbishop Auza decried the lack of serious efforts to punish those guilty of gross violations of human rights in Mesopotamia and to prevent arms and weapons of mass destruction from getting into the hands of armed groups who can use them to create the violent situations in which traffickers thrive. He also noted how the criminalization of the situation of undocumented migrants makes them far more vulnerable to exploitation. Up until now, Archbishop Auza emphasized, the response to trafficking in persons has not been commensurate to the plague. He urged much more to be done in raising public awareness, in coordinating a response among governments, the judiciary, law enforcement and social workers at the national and international levels, and in preventing and stopping armed conflicts.
The statement can be found here.