New York, 5-8 October 2018 – Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See: Advancement of women
My Delegation thanks the Secretary-General and the Special Rapporteurs for drawing our attention to the global reality of violence against women and girls, especially women in politics, and to the scourge of human trafficking and modern forms of slavery.
Pope Francis has called trafficking in persons a “crime against humanity” that must be consistently denounced and fought by all. Today, when slavery is thought to be a tragic historical memory, there are in fact more persons enslaved than ever before.
The Special Rapporteur’s report praises the rise of women-led anti-slavery movements “organizing for better protection of the rights of domestic, agricultural and migrant workers.” Among others, Catholic sisters around the world contribute to this important effort through international networks of Consecrated Life against trafficking in persons, such as Talitha Kum, or through investing in education and youth employment, thus addressing some of the deepest causes that make women and girls vulnerable to traffickers.
In this regard, Pope Francis recalled an uncomfortable truth when he observed that “if there are so many young women victims of trafficking who end up on the streets of our cities, it is because many men here – young, middle-aged, elderly – demand these services.” We have a duty in justice to arrest and prosecute traffickers, but we must also remember, if we are to eliminate this evil, that converting hearts, stamping out the demand and drying up the market are indispensable.