During the 2019–2022 COVID-19 pandemic, according to information from the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) of Mexico as reported in July 2020 by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, the production of child pornography grew by 117% thanks to grooming and recruitment of minors through social media and online games. In Argentina, in the same period, child porn production grew by 80%.
“Estimates indicate that situations of modern slavery are by no means transitory: Subjection to forced labor can last for years, while forced marriage, in most cases, is equivalent to a life sentence,” the 2022 report from the IOM, ILO, and Walk Free stated.
Migrants and vulnerability
Through pastoral commissions for migrants and itinerant people in different Latin American countries, the Church pays special attention to the precarious and vulnerable situation of migrants, who face difficult journeys in caravans across the continent and are easy victims of human traffickers and those facilitating illegal immigration.
The situation affects thousands of children: According to the UNICEF Children in Danger report of Sept. 7, 2023, 1 in every 4 people who are migrating through Latin America and the Caribbean are children and adolescents; that is, 25% of migrants, a record number — according to this organization — compared with other regions of the world where they do not exceed 13%.
In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of migrant children from Latin American countries passing through Mexico on their way to the U.S. grew nine times; 50% of them were traveling alone without family or trusted adults to accompany them, according to the United Nations Bulletin, April 20, 2021.
Day of Prayer and Reflection against Trafficking
Established by Pope Francis in 2015, the 10th consecutive year a Day of Prayer and Reflection against Trafficking was held Thursday coinciding with the liturgical commemoration of St. Josephine Bakhita, herself a victim of the slave trade.
With the theme “Journeying for Dignity; Listen, Dream, Act,” young people belonging to different anti-trafficking organizations and from different countries held an anti-trafficking march in Rome.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.