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Vatican envoy: consumerism, attitudes towards women help foster human trafficking

Catholic World News - May 17, 2013

Addressing a UN meeting on human trafficking, a leading Vatican diplomat called upon the international community to take “concrete actions on the ground” against human trafficking and to “address those societal factors which foster the environment that makes human trafficking possible.”

“One such overriding factor is the increasing commodification of human life,” said Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, apostolic nuncio and permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations. “Such commodification can be seen in the women and girls who are trafficked each year for the sole purpose of making money from the sale of their bodies.”

He added:

There is indeed an urgent need here to challenge lifestyles and models of behavior, particularly with regard to the image of women, which have generated what has become a veritable industry of sexual exploitation. Trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation accounts for 58% of all cases reported globally and demonstrates how increased demand fuels this market for human slavery and tolerates its immense human costs.

It is a grim reminder that prostitution and consumers of so-called “sexual services” not only contribute to the trafficking of women and girls but also disrespect their human dignity.

“Commodification of human beings … can also be seen in unrelenting consumerist tendencies that demand more for less without due regard for the rights of workers,” the prelate added. “Around the world, forced labor accounts for more than a quarter of victims of trafficking. This is a stark reminder that participating in a globalized economy requires adequate regulations to ensure that the qualitative, subjective value of human work is given precedence over purely quantifiable, objective product.”

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