“Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ…It is a crime against humanity.”—Pope Francis
For Freedom Christ has Set us Free: Pastoral Letter on Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in Canada
On 22 November 2021, the CCCB Commission for Justice and Peace released a Pastoral Letter entitled For Freedom Christ has Set us Free: Pastoral Letter on Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in Canada. The letter draws attention to the inherently exploitative and abusive nature of the purchase of sex and insists that in order to protect the vulnerable, this practice must continue to be criminalized: “Treating sex as ‘work’ masks the physical, psychological and sexual violence inflicted on the prostituted person. Prostitution involves selling something that by its nature cannot be bought or sold and is therefore inherently exploitative.” Link to the Pastoral Letter in PDF format.
Pastoral Letter on Human Trafficking from the Canadian Bishops
As pastors of the Catholic Church in Canada, we denounce human trafficking2 in all its forms, whether it is intended for forced labour (domestic, farm or factory work) or for sexual exploitation (whether it be prostitution, pornography, forced marriages, strip clubs, or other). We invite the faithful to become aware of this violation of human rights and the trivialization of concerns about prostitution. Following the example of Jesus, who came into the world so that people “may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10), we can share in the suffering of the victims and change the behaviours and mentalities that foster institutionalized violence in this new form of slavery which is human trafficking. Jesus himself proclaimed the liberation of captives as a sign of his presence among us (Luke 4:18-19).CCCB (2010)
Other resources from the Canadian Bishops are found here.
This writing project originated from the OECTA Human Rights Committee who identified
a need to provide teachers with lessons and resources to assist them in addressing the topic
of human trafficking with their students. These lessons are intended to provide a starting
point for teachers to begin the conversation with their students about what constitutes
human trafficking, where world trafficking is occurring, and what our response should be
as members of the Catholic faith community.
The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking is a secular national charity dedicated to ending all types of human trafficking in Canada.
Human trafficking in Canada is occurring at shocking levels. It is a sophisticated, organized crime and that demands sophisticated, coordinated and integrated solutions.
The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking has been established as the national “backbone” organization working on this issue. The Centre collaborates and works with the various stakeholders dedicated to this issue, including all levels of government, private sector businesses and front line service providers in order to advance best practices and eliminate duplicate efforts across Canada.
The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking exists to create a national strategy for change.from their About us page.
Ignatian Solidarity Network Human Trafficking
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Church’s opposition of human trafficking is rooted in principles of the Catholic social teaching and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. A main theme of the social teaching is “the sacredness and dignity of human life” and the Catechism “forbids acts or enterprises that, for any reason, lead to the enslavement of human beings – to their being bought, sold, and exchanged like merchandise, in disregard for their personal dignity.”
The Resource provides extensive links, movie trailers, and other resources.
The United States Bishops provide a resource on this issue. They state:
One of the most hidden and vulnerable populations our Church is called to accompany and protect are women, men, and children subjected to human trafficking. Also referred to as modern-day slavery, this illicit industry generates over 150 billion dollars a year by compelling human beings to perform backbreaking labor or engage in commercial sex acts. Contrary to public perception, these brothers and sisters of ours are not only trapped through physical force, yet also many times by insidious schemes such as fraud and coercion. In other words, traffickers’ prey upon the vulnerable with false promises of a better life, threat of harm or death against their loved ones, withholding identify documents, tricking them into thinking they owe more debt, and more.Hilary Chester and Lisa Lungren, USCCB Anti-Trafficking, Migration and Refugee Services
CARFLEO page on St. Josephine Bakhita