Recent Blog Entries
- New Americans Campaign comes together for Citizenship Drive in Los Angeles
- Ushering in a New Season for CLINIC and our 11 Million Undocumented Neighbors
- Living in God's Image, Embracing the Immigrant
- Lent: A Reform of the Heart
- Immigration Policy and New Estimates of the U.S. Unauthorized Population
- A Lenten Call to Embrace Acts of Charity
- CLINIC Holds Unique, “Mega” Workshop Training Event in Los Angeles
- Do Immigration Laws Deny Religious Freedom?
- Joyful Anticipation
- Las Posadas: An Invitation to Hospitality
Human Trafficking Awareness Day - Our Moral Obligation
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are “12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and commercial sexual servitude at any given time. Of these victims, the ILO estimates that at least 1.39 million are victims of commercial sexual servitude.” More than 56% of all victims of human trafficking are women and children.
According to the United Nations, human trafficking is defined as:
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
This is not just an issue outside of the United States. In the U.S. alone there were 13 convictions in labor trafficking cases and 27 in sex trafficking cases in FY2008. An additional 245 were recovered as victims of child prostitution. For a more in-depth look at human trafficking in the U.S. check out this case, handled by a CLINIC affiliate.
On this 2nd Human Trafficking Awareness Day (designated as January 11), it is important to understand that standing up for the most vulnerable people in the world is not only the right thing to do, but a moral imperative. A principle tenet of Catholic social teaching is the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. This principal holds that the moral test of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members.
According to Catholic social teaching (pdf), “the human dignity and human rights of all migrants should be respected.” For victims of human trafficking, their inherent human dignity is being denied as are their human rights as they are exploited and abused. Migration is a human right as is the right not to migrate, but forced migration by the will of others is unacceptable.
Julia Alanen, Project Coordinator for CLINIC’s Violence Against Women Act Immigration Project, has been working on human trafficking issues since 2000. Labor trafficking and commercial sex act trafficking are the two main issues for immigrant advocates like Julia. Forced marriage is a less recognized form of human trafficking (and a form of domestic violence) and one that she hopes will receive increased attention from U.S. system actors in the coming years. Ms. Alanen believes that a greater response from the immigration community is needed.
CLINIC is currently funded to work on issues related to human trafficking by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office on Violence Against Women and Migration and a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Migration and Refugee Services (MRS).
CLINIC provides legal technical assistance and legal training to MRS subcontractors, law enforcement officials, and other system actors. In addition, CLINIC provides assistance with pursuing Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recognition/accreditation, capacity building, and program management trainings.
For CLINIC resources on human trafficking, click here.
 United States. Department of State. Trafficking in Person Report. June 2009.
CLINIC welcomes your thoughts and comments. When leaving comments please stay on topic and be respectful of others. CLINIC reserves the right to remove posted content that is defamatory.