Human Trafficking: an ancient infamy with a new face

2013-11-05 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Following a wish expressed by Pope Francis, an international conference to examine human trafficking and modern slavery takes place in the Vatican on November 2 and 3.

Described as a "preparatory workshop", organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences together with the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, the event aims to examine the trade in human persons in order to establish the real state of this phenomenon and an agenda to combat this heinous crime.

Each participant at the two-day conference will present a study shining the light on a particular perspective of human trafficking.

Professor Marcelo Suarez-Orozco is dean of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. He and his wife, Professor Carola Suarez-Orozco, will present papers that focus on the trafficking of children in the global millenium.

Listen to Linda Bordoni's interview with Prof. Marcelo Suarez-Orozco...

Professor Suarez-Orozco says “Human trafficking is a very ancient infamy with a very new face”.
He explains that in his paper he and his wife “locate human trafficking: the trends, the growing movement of trafficking of the underage, a global perspective that looks at issues relating to structural economic inequality, that looks at issues pertinent to the mass movement of people, mass migration, and that looks at the roles of the new media, new information, communication technologies, specially social media that is now fully implicated into the trafficking of children. We examine the varieties of domains where immigrant children and trafficked children today are exploited in different forms of slave labour”.
These – he continues -- include agriculture, domestic work, the commercial sexual exploitation of children, including the explosive growth of child pornography on the Internet. The paper explores the issues facing children who are used as drug mules for drug trafficking, and lastly the enslavement of children as child soldiers.
Professor Suarez-Orozco examines the devastating psychological and cultural effects on the children who are deprived not only of their present, but also of their future as many of them do not have the instruments to overcome such trials.
Describing the phenomenon of human trafficking, Suarez-Oroaco says it amounts to about a $30 billion enterprise – that is larger than the GDP of Jordan, for example.
He says the trafficking of human beings is the third-most profitable global criminal enterprise, after drugs and armaments.
The professor highlights the fact that up to 75 per cent of all detected trafficked people are women and children. (There are about 27 million trafficked people in the world today) And he says that the percentage of children in increasing: “In the U.S., it is estimated that of all the detected trafficked people, 50 per cent are under age”.
However, he points out that the phenomenon is largely undetected and describes it as a hidden crime with a huge gap between the numbers of victims and those who are prosecuted for it.
It is a crime, he says, “where no one has the incentive and declare the devil and the details”.