Two new Vatican documents have emphasised the need to step up international collaboration and prosecution of human traffickers, while also providing support to victims. Source: Crux.
The first document, “Lights on the Ways of Hope,” is a collection of papal reflections on migration, refugees and trafficking which includes Pope Francis’ speeches, homilies, audiences, prayers and documents going back to Easter 2013, including his 2016 exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.
The second document, “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking,” is 42 pages long and focuses on the reality of human trafficking and responses to the problem. It’s the fruit of a six-month long evaluation process following two global consultations with bishops’ conferences, Catholic organisations and religious communities, and experts in the field.
Described in the preface as wanting to offer “a reading of human trafficking and an understanding that motivates and sustains the much-needed long-term struggle,” the main objective of the pamphlet is to be a resource for schools, parishes, religious orders and civil organisations who want to get involved on the issue.
In 10 “observations” on trafficking, the document notes that until recently the idea was associated with colonialism and the slave trade, which, though abolished, are repeating themselves in new forms.
These forms, it says, are indicative “of immoral social, cultural and economic systems and practices” which fuel consumerism and increase inequality. Coupled with this, the document reads, are growing individualist and egocentric attitudes which view the human person through a lens of “cool utility,” prioritising profit and depriving people of their dignity, commodifying them “to the advantage of a few.”
“If the human family wishes to stamp out HT (human trafficking), society itself will have to change,” it says, adding that the economic, social and cultural criteria shaping modern societies “need to be subjected to profound ethical assessment,” prioritising the dignity and integral development of all.
The document offers a series of recommendations, including the implementation of international agreements and standards that respect migrant rights, encouraging survivors to participate in the prosecution of their traffickers, and assuring them of protection.
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