By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent
NEW YORK – Ending human trafficking is a top priority for the Trump administration, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich said on Friday.
“The Trump Administration is fighting human trafficking on all fronts, through vigorous domestic and international efforts,” she told attendees at a United Nations summit on “Practical Solutions to Eradicate Human Trafficking.”
Gingrich recalled Trump’s recent efforts to convene the “President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons,” where he pledged that America “will not rest until we have put these vile organizations out of business and rescued every last victim.” She also noted that the United States is the largest donor to the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, contributing $75 million dollars to the program.
The daylong summit was sponsored by the Sovereign Order of Malta, the Holy See’s Mission to the United Nations, and the UN Mission of Ireland.
“Human trafficking is a horrendous evil and a global crime that deprives millions of their freedom and dignity,” Gingrich told attendees. “No single government, organization, or individual can do it alone.”
“Human trafficking not only robs a person of their dignity, it compromises national security, threatens international peace, and distorts global markets,” she continued.
The ambassador recalled several firsthand encounters with former victims of trafficking and said that uplifting the voices of trafficking survivors is a “crucial part survivors play in the fight against this abhorrent evil.”
She also insisted that all efforts must make victims the first priority.
“The victim-centered approach, long-utilized by U.S. law enforcement, has made a significant impact both on criminal prosecution and survivor recovery,” said Gingrich.
The global crisis of trafficking, she went on to argue, demands global solutions.
“No single government can end the global scourge of human trafficking. Governments, faith-based organizations, civil society, and survivors must work together,” she maintained.
Gingrich also highlighted the collaboration between the United States and the Holy See, noting that there is a long history of Catholic partnerships aiming to assist survivors.
She praised the efforts of Catholic relief groups, including Catholic Charities, as well as the efforts of religious sisters that have played a critical role in providing shelter, training, and other forms of support to survivors.
“The Catholic Church’s vast global reach makes it an ideal ally in the fight against human trafficking,” she said. “Its unique ability to develop trust, to work with local communities, and to affect change is unlike any other nation-state.”
Gingrich said it was an honor for the U.S. to partner with the Church on this issue, and that the Trump administration would be enacting new measures to combat trafficking, including the launch of a new video on how to identify trafficking victims and report it to the authorities.
“The United States Embassy to the Holy See will continue its crucial work with the Vatican in this endeavor,” she pledged. “Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States will not rest until the global evil of human trafficking is eradicated around the world.”
Speaking to The Tablet, Gingrich reiterated the partnership between the Trump administration and the Holy See.
“Eradicating human trafficking is a priority for the Trump Administration and the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See,” she said. “I have the honor of working closely with the Holy See and other Catholic partners to end this horrific crime. The Catholic Church is a crucial ally in this fight.”