“It’s a disgrace” that people are treated “as objects, deceived, raped, often sold many times for different purposes and, in the end, killed or, in any case, physically and mentally damaged, ending up thrown away and abandoned”
“This cannot go on,” trafficking “constitutes a serious violation of human rights and is an affront to (victims’) dignity as well as a loss for the world community”
“Together we can and we must commit ourselves so they may be freed and this horrible trade can be put to an end”
“Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that’s become ever more aggressive, that threatens not just individuals, but the foundational values of society”
Pope Francis, December, 2013
“…everyone must acknowledge and feel that child slavery still exists in the world, in its ugliest face and form. And this is an evil, which is crime against humanity, which is intolerable, which is unacceptable and which must go. That sense of recognition must be developed first of all. And secondly there is a need of higher amounts of political will. There is a need of higher amount of corporate engagement, and the engagement of the public towards it. So, everybody has a responsibility to save and protect the children on this planet.”
Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Co-Winner
Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery
The Church of Saint Francis Xavier, under the leadership of Father Joe Marina, is committed to the abolition of modern-day human slavery. In January, 2014, Winifred Doherty, RGS, spoke to parishioners about modern slavery/human trafficking, its insidious nature and its reach around the world and particularly here in New York City. Thereafter, Father Marina asked the many ministries at Xavier to incorporate the issue of combating modern slavery into their discussions and activities.
Subsequently , the Peace and Justice Committee formed an Anti-slavery Sub-committee which has been developing parish wide activities to combat modern slavery including, but not limited to, developing this web page, awareness programs, advocacy projects, prayer programs, lobbying activities, and free trade activities. The Sub-committee already conducted two modern slavery/human trafficking awareness training sessions.
Most of us first learned about slavery in elementary school when we studied the Civil War. We learned that slave traders abducted millions of Africans, herded them in chains onto ships, sailed them to this country and sold them at auction to American plantation owners in the South. These Americans became owners of enslaved human beings whose families and freedom were ripped from them. The owners forced the slaves to work, under threat of violence, for no pay while the slaves endured extremely harsh working and living conditions. The owners often brutalized the slaves sexually or for no reason at all.
The Civil War eventually ensued, and Abraham Lincoln, through the EmancipationProclamation, abolished slavery in this country. Slavery is history. So we learned.
NOT SO! Although every country in the world has outlawed slavery, there are more enslaved human beings in the world today than ever before in history. The modern-day slave trade, often referred to as human trafficking, is flourishing around the globe, including in the United States. It is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. Modern slave traders, often called ”traffickers,” abduct, trick, or coerce legions of human beings into bondage every day, traffic them around the world and sell them into slavery. Modern slave owners are no different than those of the past. They own human beings whose families and freedom were ripped from them. The owners force the slaves to work, under threat of violence, for no pay while the slaves endure extremely harsh working and living conditions. The owners often brutalize them sexually or for no reason at all.
Modern slavery takes many forms. The most prevalent form of slavery in the United States and in the New York City area is sex slavery. Thousands of women, girls, men and boys are trafficked and sold into the sexual exploitation industry here every year. Over 200,000 children may be at risk in the United States every year.
Labor slavery exists in many countries including the United States. For instance, slave traders regularly sell Haitian children to Americans who enslave the children in their homes and force them to work as domestics. Many of these children are physically and sexually abused as well. Many adults are also enslaved as domestics here.
Slaves work for us. Labor slavery exists in the supply chains of many of the American companies that we patronize or whose products we use, such as Wai-Mart, Safeway, Hershey, Costco, Whole Foods and P.F. Changs. Slave owners force agricultural slaves, children and adults, to work the fields that produce much of the fruit and vegetables we eat. Owners force slaves to work on fishing boats for the seafood we eat and in clothing sweat shops for the clothes we wear. In Africa, they force child slaves to pick cocoa beans for the chocolate we enjoy.