The video we see portrays the internal struggle of a family who is unable to provide for all of their children. Seeing that they do not have enough food in order to feed each of their three girls, the family makes the painful decision to abandon their youngest daughter, and ends with a scene of the girl being left on a train alone by her mother.
This video at first seems a bit shocking and far away from our own reality: how can this mother do that to her daughter? How is it possible for a mother to abandon her child?
It almost doesn’t seem real, or seem to fit in with our daily experience is like. However the fact is, child abandonment and trafficking is a monumental problem in poor countries such as India, and the numbers of children affected by this are on the rise. The fact that this video shows a white suburban family who seem to have a nice home and decent clothing brings the situation a little closer to home: this is what it would look like if we were forced to choose between watching our family starve or abandon one so as to care for the rest.
Awareness of the issue of human trafficking in general has been on the rise in recent years, especially with the pontificate of Pope Francis, who told a group of new ambassadors to the Holy See in December that human trafficking is “an issue that worries me very much and today is threatening people’s dignity.”
“This cannot continue: a grave violation of the human rights of the victims and is an affront to their dignity, as well as a defeat for the global community. All persons of good will, whether they profess a religion or not, cannot allow these women, these men and these children to be treated as objects, deceived, violated, often repeatedly sold, for various purposes, and at the end either killed or ruined physically and mentally, to end up discarded and abandoned. It is shameful…a crime against humanity.”
Our Holy Father has some fierce words against this trade, and even called for the end of child labor during his general audience this week in honor of the World Day against the exploitation of child labor, which will took place Thursday, June 12.
The number of persons affected by trafficking is increasing, especially in war and conflict zones or refugee camps, which are growing daily due to the increase in persons fleeing their country due to violence. And sadly yet truly, there is a lot of money involved in the trafficking of persons, so often heads turn in the other direction when they see it happening.
What our beloved pontiff is saying, and what this video clearly states, is that it is a problem that is now on the radar, and it must stop, because it is not only a grave injustice to the person, but the act itself is contrary to the nature of human beings and family life. And when allowed to flourish it disrupts the entire foundations that a society is built on, making it a society no longer structured on justice and the common good, but rather a cycle of self-interest which disregards the human person and allows the poor to remain in poverty and degrading conditions so that one’s own needs are met.
In the face of such a heinous and growing crime, we must first and foremost follow the instructions of our dear Pope Francis in being Christians who are able to look at those affected by trafficking and abandonment and “recognize the face of Jesus, who identified with the smallest and the neediest among us. Together we can and must take action to free the victims of human trafficking and to put an end to this horrible trade.”