As governments and world leaders struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic, they must also work harder to protect victims of human trafficking, said the Vatican-based international network of Catholic charities.
In a discreet office inside New York’s FBI headquarters, Michael Osborn, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Violent Crimes and Crimes Against Children, is tackling a growing crisis in America — online child sexual exploitation. The internet has become the go-to place for predators who want to target vulnerable young children. And it’s not just for profit.
Here are some red flags to look out for that may indicate someone is a victim of human trafficking.
Around the world, human trafficking has reached horrific new heights. Fueled by conflict, poverty, food insecurity and the effects of climate change, traffickers are finding new opportunities to prey on those who are searching for safety. Pope Francis, who has made combating human trafficking a priority, recently acknowledged the impact of Talitha Kum at an exhibit in Rome.
From the White House to Vatican City, combatting the scourge of human trafficking has been a priority for popes and presidents alike in recent years.
According to the “Global Report on Trafficking in Persons,” the most common form of human trafficking (79 percent) is sexual exploitation — and the victims are predominantly women and girls — followed by forced labour (18 percent).
Human trafficking can take many forms; it is not simply some clandestine deed that happens only in the underbelly of Third World countries.
There is a hidden crisis in America. It is happening in brownstones on tree-lined streets you may have walked down, at stores you might have shopped at and on online sites you have shared family memories on.
Knowing that human trafficking is taking place across the globe and often involves forcing victims across borders, a global coalition of Catholic sisters met to strategize ways to fight the criminal business and work with advocates of civil justice.
There are many businesses in the world. Some are darker than others, but the darkest among them is human trafficking.