Protect Human Dignity
There are many issues that require the attention of Catholics who wish to bring their faith into action. Most of our concerns about these issues are founded on the duty to defend the dignity of every human person.
One particular threat to this dignity is human trafficking -- a form of slavery and exploitation that is a scourge in our modern world. Thousands of human beings -- including many in our own city and state -- are being coerced into forced labor and sexual exploitation.
In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis denounced the evil of human trafficking in the strongest terms:
I have always been distressed at the lot of those who are victims of various kinds of human trafficking. How I wish that all of us would hear God’s cry: “Where is your brother?” (Gen 4:9). Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labour? Let us not look the other way. There is greater complicity than we think. The issue involves everyone! This infamous network of crime is now well established in our cities, and many people have blood on their hands as a result of their comfortable and silent complicity. (211)
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, together with many of our religious communities for women, have been working for years with secular groups and government agencies to combat human trafficking. For more information about the problem, see the USCCB's webpage on human trafficking. The USCCB has set up a special Anti-Trafficking Program to raise awareness, and to give suggestions for action.
In 2013, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Social Sciences held a special workshop on the problem of human trafficking. At the conclusion of the workshop, a statement was issued calling upon international organizations, nations, faith communities, and civil organizations to commit themselves to take action to eradicate this problem.
For more information about the problem of human trafficking in New York, visit the website of the Office of Children and Family Services.