Recently, His Holiness Pope Francis has elevated the issue of human trafficking as a priority for the global Church, stating, “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ…It is a crime against humanity.”
In March of 2014, the Vatican announced the debut of the Global Freedom Network. This international multi-faith coalition is a ground-breaking agreement by representatives of major faith leaders and is tasked with eliminating modern slavery and human trafficking across the world by 2020. It will build on longstanding and widespread work in many countries by many groups and will carry out a program of coordinated action and activity with international organizations, governments and national authorities, civil society organizations and NGOs, as well as people of good will around the world.
In addition to supporting the work of Pope Francis and the Global Freedom Network, the Catholic bishops of the United States and the church community throughout the world have placed combating human trafficking as an important priority in their public advocacy, educational outreach, and in providing services to trafficking survivors. The Catholic bishops of the United States and Mexico have also spoken out on the issue, calling upon the governments of both countries to work together to apprehend traffickers and destroy trafficking networks: “Both governments must vigilantly seek to end trafficking in human persons. Together, both governments should more effectively share information on trafficking operations and should engage in joint action to apprehend and prosecute traffickers.”
In April 2014, a representative of the USCCB provided the perspective of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on the U.S. government response to human trafficking through its principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking, the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Attached below is this testimony in full.