Monday, January 22, 2018

Spirit & Life: Human Trafficking: The Hidden Assault on Human Dignity

This past weekend I spoke at a symposium in Orlando, Florida, organized by the diocese, intended to raise awareness about the horrendous problem of human trafficking. Unfortunately, far too many people still have no idea how extensive the problem of human trafficking is globally, nor how prevalent it is in developed Western nations, including in the United States.

As of 2016, the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index estimated that 45.8 million globally are living in slavery, 4.5 million in sex slavery. Florida (where I spoke) is one of the top three U.S. states for human trafficking, along with California and Texas. In Florida alone, there were 1,900 reported cases of human trafficking in 2016, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families. Nationally, there were 7,621 reported cases in 2016. However, as most cases go unreported, the total number of women, men and children actually being trafficked is likely far, far higher than that.

An egregious assault upon human dignity

This is an issue that is very close to my own heart, as I have experienced this issue personally. In my travels, I have met families whose children were trafficked and disappeared. These are parents of families from poorer societies. Sadly, they have had no contact with their children – they do not know whether they are alive or dead. Moreover, because they are poor and have little to no economic means to fight for their children, governments do very little to help.

Sincerely yours in Christ, 
Father Shenan J. Boquet 
President, Human Life International
Human Life International