A quick internet search will show that Pope Francis has spoken about human trafficking frequently and regularly since he was elected, but what is human trafficking and what is the big deal? This selection of videos gives some more insight into the issue.
The United Nations’ definition of human trafficking is nearly 70 words long, which shows that it can involve many different aspects, but what it comes down to is the illegal movement of people for the purposes of exploitation. This exploitation involves work of some kind, for which the worker is probably not paid, and includes, but is not limited to, sexual exploitation of women and children. It affects every country in the world, whether as the origin or destination of trafficked victims.
If you type ‘human trafficking’ and the name of your country, state, county or maybe even your town into a search engine, you will find news stories about trafficking in your area. How can I be sure? I tried it: arrests were made and victims of trafficking rescued from house around the corner from my place of work (in rural England).
Trafficking happens, not just because people living in poverty are vulnerable to exploitation, but because there is a demand for it and you and I may well be part of the problem. There is a demand for cheap goods and services: I want value for money, just like everyone else. As a recent Vatican study group rightly pointed out, this problem requires careful study in order to find effective solutions. The worst thing we can do is assume that it is a far-away problem. Trafficking is taking place right here, right now.
Victims of trafficking come in all shapes and sizes as this first video shows:
Human Trafficking happens all around the world, even where you would least suspect it.
This is Katie’s story: a victim of trafficking and prostitution. She isn’t even 20 years old yet
Finally, Hide and Seek, portrays the journey of one victim, hidden in plain sight, who started out with hope and false promises: