The U.S. State Department recently released its annual report on the state of human trafficking around the world – a scourge that by some estimates has enslaved upwards of 27 million people. Charge’d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, Mario Mesquita shared some of the report’s findings with Tracey McClure.
The report examines 188 countries and rates them in a Tier system according to how effectively they combat trafficking in persons and respond to the needs of victims. “It’s the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-trafficking efforts,” says Mesquita. “And it raises awareness, it forces people to look at this issue seriously because modern day slavery, trafficking in persons and the effort against it, has to be, must remain a foreign policy priority and that’s one thing the United States is committed to. … Human trafficking undermines rule of law and creates instability. It tears families and communities apart; it damages the environment. It corrupts global supply chains and labor markets…it is a broad based problem and we need to continue to raise awareness in all communities, in all countries…it’s a problem in all countries.”
Mesquita says the Holy See shares similar concerns about trafficking in human persons. “It’s absolutely something that we know the Holy See cares about and shares our concerns about. And indeed it’s been an important issue for Pope Francis. Pope Francis has emphasized the need to act against human trafficking on multiple occasions and obviously we welcome his strong voice in the international call to action.”
Cooperation is especially needed on the governmental level to succeed in ending human slavery. Countries need to continue to dialogue, to further prevention, the identification of victims, aid to victims, and the prosecution of traffickers. But mostly, world leaders should work together to end what is clearly an ethical scourge on societies.
“We all do have a moral obligation to stop this problem and having that clearly enunciated by world leaders is integral.”
Learn more at the Vatican Radio article: U.S.: Combatting human trafficking is a moral obligation.