On 13 February, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, participated in a "Forum to Fight Human Trafficking. In his English language talk, Archbishop Marchetto spoke of how human trafficking is the slavery of modern times.
Archbishop Marchetto defined human trafficking as "one of the most shameful phenomena of our era. ... It is well known", he went on, "that poverty, as well as the lack of opportunities and of social cohesion, push people to look for a better future despite the related risks, making them extremely vulnerable to trafficking.
"Moreover", he added, "it should be emphasized that, nowadays, several factors contribute to the spread of this crime, namely, the absence of specific rules in some countries, the victims' ignorance of their own rights, the socio-cultural structure and armed conflicts.
"The Holy See encourages all kinds of just initiatives aimed at eradicating this immoral and criminal phenomenon and at promoting the welfare of the victims. The Palermo Protocol and the successive regional conventions have introduced an exhaustive international legislation against trafficking in human beings. Moreover, the Holy See notes with satisfaction the coming into force, at the beginning of this month, of the Council of Europe's Convention against trafficking in human beings," said the prelate.
In this context, the archbishop recalled that the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples also monitors "the issue of the victims of human trafficking, considered to be the slaves of modern times".