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WORLD DAY AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING _ MESSAGE OF THE SOVEREIGN ORDER OF MALTA — 30 JULY 2022

WORLD DAY AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING _ MESSAGE OF THE SOVEREIGN ORDER OF MALTA — 30 JULY 2022
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World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

30 July 2022

Statement by Michel Veuthey

The Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta has appoint­ed in 2017 two Ambas­sadors tasked with com­bat­ing human traf­fick­ing. Based in Gene­va,  Michel Veuthey (Ambas­sador to Mon­i­tor and Com­bat Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons)  and based in Africa, Romain Champierre de Vil­leneuve (Ambas­sador at-large for Africa), they strength­en the com­mit­ment of the Order of Mal­ta in pre­vent­ing the traf­fick­ing of humans and pro­tect­ing the vic­tims, with projects both at local and diplo­mat­ic level.

At each ses­sion of the Human Rights Coun­cil in Gene­va, as well Vien­na and New York, the Order of Mal­ta makes inter­ven­tions on var­i­ous forms of human traf­fick­ing or con­tem­po­rary slav­ery: forced labor, forced mar­riages and moth­er­hood, sale of chil­dren, pornog­ra­phy, forced organ har­vest­ing. The Order of Mal­ta is also increas­ing part­ner­ships with uni­ver­si­ties in France, Italy, Switzer­land and the USA.

With this mas­sive influx of peo­ple, the Order of Mal­ta is rais­ing atten­tion on the risk of refugees falling vic­tims of human traf­fick­ers. To this end its Pol­ish embassy has issued an alert con­tain­ing safe­ty rules for refugees which is being dis­trib­uted along the main exit routes in Ukrain­ian, Eng­lish and Pol­ish. Mal­teser Inter­na­tion­al is coor­di­nat­ing the glob­al effort of the Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta, whose asso­ci­a­tions and relief and vol­un­teer corps are on the ground to assist the refugees.

The Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta would like to under­line the impor­tant role of reli­gious lead­ers and reli­gious con­gre­ga­tions in the pro­tec­tion and assis­tance to vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing, often in coop­er­a­tion with for­mer vic­tims and sur­vivors (see list in appendix).

 

Regard­ing glob­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, as Pope Fran­cis said: “Togeth­er with the social respon­si­bil­i­ty of busi­ness­es, there is also the social respon­si­bil­i­ty of con­sumers.  Every per­son ought to have the aware­ness that pur­chas­ing is always a moral — and not sim­ply an eco­nom­ic — act.”

 

Today’s mea­sures to pros­e­cute traf­fick­ers and to pro­tect and shel­ter vic­tims are noto­ri­ous­ly insuf­fi­cient and inef­fi­cient. Legal instru­ments and mech­a­nisms exist at the domes­tic, region­al, and glob­al lev­el, but they are not up to the chal­lenge of the increas­ing scourge of mod­ern trafficking.
These legal mech­a­nisms only pros­e­cute a hand­ful of crim­i­nals and offer insuf­fi­cient num­bers of shel­ters and ser­vices to vic­tims. https://adlaudatosi.org/international-prosecution-of-human-trafficking-what-can-be-done/: indeed, the num­ber of crim­i­nal con­vic­tions relat­ed to human traf­fick­ing is extreme­ly low: 1 in 2,154 cas­es of slav­ery results in a con­vic­tion — a rate of 0.047%.

On the root caus­es, the Order of Mal­ta shares the view that the demand for traf­fick­ing should be crim­i­nal­ized, tak­ing into account the dif­fer­ent forms of exploita­tion, slave labor or sex­u­al exploita­tion. The fight against human traf­fick­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly relat­ed to demand, must be car­ried out through a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary, mul­ti­di­men­sion­al, and coor­di­nat­ed approach between the dif­fer­ent actors.

Con­cern­ing online exploita­tion, the crim­i­nal­iza­tion of con­sumers who pur­chase images or even the pilot­ing of abuse ses­sions on minors and women must be a pri­or­i­ty. Exist­ing inter­na­tion­al, region­al and nation­al polit­i­cal and legal instru­ments must be ful­ly imple­ment­ed but we must con­sid­er new instru­ments adapt­ed to the abuse of new tech­nolo­gies. We need a com­plete­ly new way of think­ing about mod­ern slavery.

We have to recon­cep­tu­al­ize human rights in the work­place and build a new eco­nom­ic model
that advan­tages busi­ness­es respect­ing human rights. Decent work is at the oppo­site end of the same spec­trum as mod­ern slav­ery. Indeed, what we need to do is pro­mote a cul­ture of respect for human rights in the workplace.

Demand comes from unre­strict­ed domin­ion over human beings and Cre­ation, with­out any respect nei­ther for human life and dig­ni­ty (See the 2020 “Fratel­li Tut­ti” Encycli­cal Let­ter) nor for inte­gral ecol­o­gy (See Ch. 4 of the 2015 “Lauda­to si’ Encycli­cal Let­ter). Today’s eco­nom­ic sys­tem too often allows the pri­ma­cy of objects over humans and the pri­or­i­ty of cap­i­tal over labor, tech­nol­o­gy as an end and not as a means, and tech­nol­o­gy being abused to cre­ate demand.

It is not enough to pro­vide human traf­fick­ing sur­vivors with just legal pro­tec­tion, we must also pro­vide them with phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal and reli­gious pro­tec­tion. It is impor­tant to give them a safe space, to return to a nor­mal life, accom­pa­nied by all the med­ical and social ser­vices which they may need.

States must also abol­ish exist­ing laws pros­e­cut­ing the vic­tims of traf­fick­ing and go after the traf­fick­ers instead.
Gov­ern­ments must pro­vide vic­tims with a safe space, access to help from author­i­ties, and not be in dan­ger of depor­ta­tion, receiv­ing fines or being wrong­ful­ly imprisoned.

All coun­tries should advo­cate for the “Nordic Mod­el”, which was intro­duced in Swe­den in 1999, and was the world’s first law to rec­og­nize pros­ti­tu­tion as vio­lence against women and a vio­la­tion of human rights. It crim­i­nal­izes the pur­chase of com­mer­cial sex and offers the exploit­ed an exit strategy.

Demand is at the core of all types of human traf­fick­ing. Arti­cle 9.5 of the UN Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons Pro­to­col (Paler­mo Pro­to­col) calls on States to devel­op legal and pol­i­cy mea­sures that will work to end the demand that leads to human traf­fick­ing in all its forms.

Let’s con­clude with these two questions:

-           First­ly, how could reli­gious val­ues of sol­i­dar­i­ty and respect for human life and dig­ni­ty be bet­ter used to stop con­tem­po­rary forms of slav­ery? How could Faith-based orga­ni­za­tions receive more sup­port to pro­tect and reha­bil­i­tate vic­tims?

 

-           Sec­ond­ly, how could we col­lec­tive­ly pro­mote hard and soft legal instru­ments mon­i­tor­ing and crim­i­nal­iz­ing the demand for all forms of human traf­fick­ing: slave labor, sex­u­al exploita­tion, forced organ trans­plan­ta­tions, sold and stolen babies, and forced sur­ro­ga­cy moth­er­hood, as demand is the root cause of con­tem­po­rary slavery?

 

Appen­dix:

Let us high­light, among oth­ers, the fol­low­ing net­works of reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions active on behalf of vic­tims of human trafficking:

 

 

 

 

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Religious Helping Trafficking Victims along the Road of Recovery (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Religious Working In International Advocacy Against Human Trafficking (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Impact Of Human Trafficking On Health: Trauma (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Impact Of Human Trafficking On Health: Healing (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

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International Prosecution Of Human Trafficking — What can be done? (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

International Prosecution Of Human Trafficking — Best Practices (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Demand As Root Cause For Human Trafficking – Sex Trafficking & Prostitution

Human Trafficking — Interview with Prof. Michel Veuthey, Order of Malta — 44th UN Human Right Council 2020

POPE’S PAYER INTENTION FOR FEBRUARY 2020: Hear the cries of migrants victims of human trafficking

FRANCE — BLOG DU COLLECTIF “CONTRE LA TRAITE DES ÊTRES HUMAINS”

Church on the frontlines in fight against human trafficking

Holy See — PUBLICATION OF PASTORAL ORIENTATIONS ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING 2019

RIGHT TO LIFE AND HUMAN DIGNITY GUIDEBOOK

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