Rome Newsroom, Jul 24, 2020 / 07:30 am
The dignity and rights of trafficking victims require the international community to do more to prosecute and bring down traffickers, a representative of the Holy See said this week.
Fr. Joseph Grech of the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the International Organisations in Vienna, addressed an international conference July 20-22 on the prosecution of traffickers.
There are large discrepancies in the numbers of victims of human trafficking and the number of traffickers prosecuted each year. The 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report estimated there are 25 million trafficking victims around the world, but fewer than 12,000 traffickers were prosecuted in 2018.
These statistics “should make us indignant,” Grech said in one of four panel interventions.
“We must wonder if, as an international community, we have done everything possible to reduce the discrepancy between the high number of estimated victims and the low numbers of court proceedings and convictions,” he said.
“Judges, prosecutors and other actors in the criminal justice system should try to seize every opportunity to ensure that victims are fairly treated in accordance with their inalienable dignity as persons,” Grech stated, “and, where possible, to guarantee that the criminal process aids in the victim’s healing.”
Speaking at the 20th Conference of the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons, held in Austria, Grech said there was no lack of national and international regulations to help those fighting trafficking, “however, a question arises: how much are these tools effectively applied?”
According to the Holy See representative, “despite the best efforts of the international community, resources are in short supply, especially when considering the continuous economic crises and the socio-political instability faced by many states.”