Pope Setting Up Fight Against Human Trafficking

Pope Francis wants action against modern forms of slavery including forced labor and prostitution. Dozens of academics, doctors and clerics were hosted by the Vatican to discuss issues close to the pope’s heart, including the struggle against organ trafficking and people smuggling.

Trafficking in Human Beings should be defined as “a crime against humanity” in both national and international law, and the Catholic Church needs to become more aware of “the gravity of the situation” and to become more fully engaged in combating this criminal activity.

An international workshop on “Human Trafficking: Modern Slavery”, was held in the Vatican, 2-3 November, at the expressed wish of Pope Francis. The event brought together 82 participants from Churches and States, as well as NGOs and organizations of civil society involved in combating this criminal activity. Among the recommendations are:

  • Every country to develop “national action plans” to combat human trafficking.
  • The creation of “international or regional courts” to prosecute traffickers.
  • A study of ‘the role of the internet in promoting and helping human trafficking’.
  • ‘More concrete involvement’ by all the Bishops Conferences worldwide, as well as the clergy and lay people, parishes, schools and the media, to combat human trafficking.
  • Denouncing the activities of criminal organizations and urging people ‘not to buy goods or services’ that have involved such criminal activity in their production.
  • The Holy See sign and/or ratify the relevant international legal instruments in the field, including the Palermo Protocol and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Human Trafficking.
  • The insertion of ‘an end to human trafficking and all forms of slavery’ in the new post-2015 Global Development Goals.
  • The elimination of prostitution.

Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, recalled how Francis was actively engaged in combating human trafficking as archbishop of Buenos Aires and as Pope is determined to do even more to try to end it. He sees the failure of the international community to take note of the seriousness of the situation as the result of ‘the globalization of indifference”, which allows this criminal activity to prosper internationally.

The Vatican academies will host a second workshop in 2014, and a four-day conference in 2015.

Learn more at the Global Post article: Pope wants to step up fight against modern slavery and Gerard O’Connell’s Vatican Insider article: Vatican meeting calls for human trafficking to be defined as “a crime against humanity”.


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