The Catholic Church has condemned human trafficking and has developed social service programs to serve and protect its survivors.
During Vatican II, the Catholic Church reaffirmed its historic concern about forced labor, stating that “slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, [and] disgraceful working conditions where [people] are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons” are “infamies” and “an affront to fundamental values. . . values rooted in the very nature of the human person.”
In the 2006 annual statement on migration, entitled “Migrations: A Sign of the Times,” Pope Benedict XVI deplored the “trafficking of human beingsespecially womenwhich flourishes where opportunities to improve their standard of living or even to survive are limited.”
Pope John Paul II, in a letter on the occasion of the International Conference on “Twenty-First-Century Slaverythe Human Rights Dimension to Trafficking in Human Beings,” stated that human trafficking “constitutes a shocking offense against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights. In particular, the sexual exploitation of women and children is a particularly repugnant aspect of this trade, and must be recognized as an intrinsic violation of human dignity and human rights.”
The Catholic bishops of the United States and Mexico have also spoken out on the issue, calling upon the governments of the United States and Mexico to work together to apprehend traffickers and destroy trafficking networks: “Both governments must vigilantly seek to end trafficking in human persons. . . . Together, both governments should more effectively share information on trafficking operations and should engage in joint action to apprehend and prosecute traffickers.”
Adapted from On Human Trafficking, a resource developed by the Committee on Migration of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
February 8: National Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration designated February 8 as an annual day of prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking. February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.
On this day, the USCCB's Anti-Trafficking program invites you to a special mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. For those that are unable to attend this mass, USCCB encourages you to host or attend prayer services, to reflect on the experiences of those who have suffered through human trafficking and exploitation. You are invited to pray for the emotional, physical, and spiritual healing, and make a personal commitment to work against human trafficking.
Video footage of the 5th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the Ohio Statehouse: January 2014
This event brought together human trafficking awareness advocates, social workers, law enforcement and survivors to discuss the current state of human trafficking in Ohio and how to combat this issue.
June 26, 2013: House passes HB 130 by vote of 98-0.
May 8, 2013: Catholic Conference of Ohio Testimony in Support of HB 130
HB 130, the End Demand Act, revises Ohio human trafficking laws.
Authorizes a juvenile court to appoint a guardian ad litem for a child who was a victim of or a witness to an offense involving abuse or exploitation to protect the best interests of the child in a case in which a person is being prosecuted for abusing or exploiting the child.
Prohibits placement of a child who is in the temporary custody of a public children services agency (PCSA) or private child placing agency (PCPA) with a parent if the parent has been convicted of promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, or trafficking in persons, or a substantially equivalent offense under a law of Ohio, any other state, or the United States, or of a conspiracy or attempt to commit or complicity in committing any of those offenses, and the victim was the child, the child's sibling, or another child who lived in the parent's household at the time of the offense.
Provides that a PCSA or PCPA does not have to make reasonable efforts to prevent removal of a child from home, to eliminate continued removal, or to make it possible for the child to return home if a parent has been convicted of promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, or trafficking in persons, or substantially equivalent offense under a law of Ohio, any other state, or the United States, or of a conspiracy or attempt to commit or complicity in committing any of those offenses, and the victim was the child, the child's sibling, or another child who lived in the parent's household at the time of the offense.
Changes the period within which a prosecution for trafficking in persons must be commenced from six years to 20 years.
Provides that if the victim of trafficking in persons is a minor or has a developmental disability, the state does not need to prove that the victim's will was overcome by force, fear, duress, or intimidation.
Generally prohibits the introduction, in a prosecution for trafficking in persons, of evidence of specific instances of the victim's voluntary or involuntary sexual activity.
Specifies that the limitations on the introduction into evidence of the victim's sexual activity in prosecutions for rape and gross sexual imposition apply to both voluntary and involuntary sexual activity.
Modifies the offense of importuning by eliminating the requirements that a 16 or 17 year old who is importuned also be a victim of trafficking in persons (the prohibition applies whether or not the offender knows the age of the person importuned and that the offender know or have reckless disregard of the age of the person importuned and by providing that the offense also occurs when the person importuned is developmentally disabled.
Creates the offense of commercial sexual exploitation of a minor (knowingly purchasing advertising space for an advertisement for sexual activity for hire that includes a depiction of a minor).
Provides that promoting prostitution may be committed by establishing, maintaining, operating, managing, supervising, controlling, or having an interest in an enterprise that through electronic means promotes or facilities sexual activity for hire and eliminates the requirement that, when the offense is committed by transporting a person to facilitate engagement in sexual activity for hire, the person be transported across a state or county line.
Increases the penalty for soliciting from a misdemeanor to a felony if the person solicited is less than 18 years old or has a developmental disability and requires the court to notify the spouse of a defendant who is charged with soliciting of the charge.
Modifies the definition of "human trafficking" to specify that the object of the trafficking plan or scheme may be to compel victims who are not minors to engage in sexual activity for hire or may be to facilitate, permit, encourage, or recruit victims who are minors to engage in sexual activity for hire or to engage in a performance or model for or participate in the production of material that is obscene, sexually oriented, or nudity oriented.
Authorizes a court to allow a victim of trafficking in persons to testify at a preliminary hearing via closed-circuit television from a room other than the room in which the hearing is being conducted.
Classifies a person convicted of soliciting when the person solicited is under 18 or has a developmental disability as a tier II sex offender who must register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law.
Prohibits a person who is not licensed by the state medical, chiropractic, or cosmetology board or regulated by a political subdivision from advertising the practice of massage or anything similar in any public publication or communication.
Generally prohibits law enforcement agencies and their employees from releasing routine factual reports or information in such reports that includes the name of an alleged delinquent child or arrestee who is also an abused child or that includes other information that is highly likely to identify an alleged delinquent child or arrestee who is also an abused child unless the name or other identifying information is redacted.
Declares an emergency.
June 27, 2012: Governor signs Human Trafficking legislation Sub HB 262
June 12, 2012: Senate unanimously passes Sub HB 262
May 22, 2012: House unanimously passes Sub HB 262, human trafficking.
3/29/12. Governor Kasich establishes a Human Trafficking Task Force [MORE]
On February 14, 2012, proponent testimony was heard on HB 262
On January 24, 2012, HB 262 received sponsor testimony in the House Judiciary Committee. HB 262 requires that a minor who is a victim of trafficking in persons be provided with appropriate services. It also requires that ODJFS develop procedures for reuniting the minor with family members in the minors country of origin or destination country.
On December 8, 2010 SB 235 unanimously passed the Ohio General Assembly. SB 235 establishes Human Trafficking as a specific criminal offense in Ohio.
On Human Trafficking Brochure: Committee on Migration USCCB
Respect Life Brochure on Sex Trafficking, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 10/2010
Bulletin Insert on Human Trafficking, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 10/2010
By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery.
Fact Sheet on Human Trafficking (2010 statistics)
USCCB's Migration and Refugee Services denied funding for programs related to human trafficking. This was based solely on our program's unwillingness to pay for abortion or contraception, or make referrals for certain reproductive health services.
U.S. State Department's Human Trafficking Office
Catholic Relief Services Blog Entry: Human Trafficking has Global Reach. Ken Hackett. CRS President
Catholic Conference of Ohio Testimony in support of SB 235 regarding Human Trafficking.
Need More Information
Contact Jim Tobin , 614-224-7147
|Catholic Conference of Ohio