Two bishops in northern Brazil have denounced the increase in human trafficking and said that authorities have not been able to prevent pedophilia and the sexual exploitation of minors.
Bishop Flavio Giovenale of Abaetetuba and Bishop Jose Luiz Azcona of Marajo met with human rights leaders in Brasilia to warn them of the critical situation in the Amazonian state of Para.
Bishop Azcona said he denounced human trafficking and pedophilia two months ago to Brazilian officials but “so far I have not received any response.”
The region of Para caught the attention of the public last year when a teen who was being held in a jail with adult men was sexually assaulted.
According to the bishops, there are some three hundred people who have received death threats for denouncing human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors.
“I’m not so concerned about my own safety, if three hundred men and women have been marked for death,” Bishop Azcona said. “This reflects a society that is sick, poor and dying. We need a change in mentality, a conversion.”
He said officials in Para are often accomplices in cases of prostitution, drug trafficking and child abuse.
Bishop Giovenale said, “The threats are real, as in this region (Para) we’ve seen cases like that of Sister Dorothy Stang,” the American nun who was killed in February 2005 for her work in defending the rural poor.