UN Human Rights Council

Holy See speaks on need to stop human trafficking and to protect its victims

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Church and migration
UN Human Rights Council

GENEVA, 14 September 2011—Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi speaks before the 18th Session of the Human Rights Council, calling for laws and conventions to prioritize the prevention of human trafficking, to protect its victims and to strengthen the prosecution of traffickers.

Madam Chairperson,

1. The trade in human beings, especially of women and minors, has become a powerful global business involving many countries of origin, transit and destination. The victims of trafficking in persons are estimated at almost three million a year, a lucrative trade that generates an annual income of over thirty billion U.S. dollars. After a risky journey, these women and minors become bonded to their masters as slaves with passports and personal documents seized and a sense of identity destroyed. What is new is the globalization of this trade, the development of a global market which exploits the extreme poverty and vulnerability of many women and minors who try to escape intolerable conditions of misery and violence.

The consequences of this enslavement are a loss of psycho-physical identity, of personal dignity and freedom. In this systemic violation of human rights, in particular, a woman comes to consider herself as an object, a thing, a piece of merchandise and is forced to live as an illegal, a social and cultural outcast, emptied by sexual abuse of her deepest values, her femininity, self-esteem and her concept of love and life. Such degradation stifles any dream of a bright future.


To read Msgr. Tomasi`s statement in its entirety, please see the pdf below.