The recent outflow of Ukrainian survivors of the present conflict in Ukraine into other parts of Europe brought evidence of how unscrupulous predators were waiting to exploit the plight of the women fleeing the country. Cyberspace has become an easy means for human trafficking.
Every day, the most vulnerable, women, men, and children, especially in situations of war and conflict, fall easy prey to the flesh traders and are exploited and enslaved by traffickers in various forms. Over 70 per cent of detected victims are women and girls, while nearly one-third are children. Drastic action is needed to stop this phenomenon of modern slavery and flesh trade and there is a need to strengthen measures to combat this crime, including more stringent policies and regulations at all levels.
On 2022 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Aloysius John, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, reiterates the Confederation’s call for concrete action and measures to fight human trafficking, which is increasingly conquering even cyberspace, which today is making human trafficking even easier and wider. According to data from Secours Catholique-Caritas France, about 62% of prostitution goes through the Internet to connect the victims, or their procurers, with clients.
“Thus human Trafficking is made easier through access to new technology and this must not be tolerated,” says John, in connection with the focus chosen for this International Day 2022 which is ‘Use and abuse of technology and its role in enabling and impeding human trafficking. “There is a need for closer follow-up of the cyber approach and harnessing these technology-based innovations to detect perpetrators and bring them to justice, and to identify even more victims and protect them through support services and other awareness-raising activities,” adds Caritas Internationalis’ secretary general.
The phenomenon of trafficking is rampant also outside the web. This year, in particular, thousands of women and children fleeing the conflict in Ukraine have ended up or risked falling into the hands of traffickers.
“Since the outbreak of the war, Caritas in Ukraine and neighboring countries have been active and committed to protecting them and informing them about the dangers they might encounter on their journey,” says John.
The Caritas Confederation is active in giving support and accompaniment to the victims of Human Trafficking worldwide. In the Middle East, Caritas Lebanon provides legal services to victims of trafficking for domestic labor as well as shelters. In Europe, Caritas Italy has established a nationwide project on identification and legal assistance for migrants and asylum seekers susceptible to exploitation. in Asia, Caritas Thailand collaborates with the nation’s Ministry of Labour to identify cases of severe exploitation in the fisheries industry. Caritas also works in collaboration with other NGOs to raise awareness about the pandemic of human trafficking. In Africa, Caritas Malawi actively engages with faith leaders to address the issue of human trafficking while Caritas Eswatini has organized a local campaign to raise awareness about the reality of human trafficking within the country.
For about 20 years, Caritas Internationalis is also collaborating with COATnet, an ecumenical network consisting of 45 Christian organizations comprising of Bishops’ Conferences and religious congregations, as well as other organizations such as the Anglican Alliance.
On this day of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2022, Caritas Internationalis appeals to governments to provide protection and basic services to victims of human trafficking, adopt all measures to address the cyber-approach to human trafficking, promote international tracking of the flesh traders, and increase efforts and measures to identify and bring these perpetrators to justice.