New York News

New York’s Bishops Support More Penalties for Human Trafficking

The New York State Catholic Conference has issued its support for legislation that would increase penalties for and facilitate prosecution of those who buy and sell sex slaves in the human trafficking industry in New York State.

The statement by the conference, which represents the New York State Catholic Bishops, said:

“Human trafficking is a grave and unacceptable human rights violation of the highest order. It is a horrific crime, often perpetrated against innocent children, most of them female, who are being trafficked for prostitution, pornography and other forms of sexual exploitation.

“The Catholic Church’s vehement opposition to human trafficking is rooted in the foundational principle of Catholic social teaching: respect for human life and human dignity. Our Church tradition holds each and every human life to be sacred, possessing inherent dignity from the moment of conception. Every human life is deserving of respect and the protection of the law. The Catechism of the Catholic Church ‘forbids any acts or enterprises that, for any reason, lead to the enslavement of human beings – to their being bought, sold and exchanged like merchandise, in disregard for their personal dignity.’

“The Catholic Church on the national and global levels has been a leader in anti-trafficking efforts, launching education and prevention programs, raising public awareness, and providing services to victims. Between 2001 and 2011, Catholic Relief Services implemented 140 anti-trafficking projects in more than 35 countries around the world.

“While New York State has taken some steps in recent years to combat the scourge of sex trafficking, much more needs to be done. Because all efforts must be expended to end this human horror, we join, with many others, including bipartisan supporters in both houses of the Legislature, to urge swift action to enact this bill into law.”