Human trafficking, one of the most profitable activities in the world, produces some $32 billion a year, according to the United Nations.
It is the focus of this year’s Fraternity Campaign in Brazil, which celebrates its 50th anniversary. The theme of the 2014 campaign is “Fraternity and Human Trafficking."
“Currently, this slavery weighs heavily in a way never seen before in the history of humanity. That is not by chance: we learn how to transform everything into merchandise and we connect ourselves globally, transforming the world into a single and large supermarket," says the coordinator of the NGO Repórter Brasil, journalist Leonardo Sakamoto, and Dominican friar Xavier Plassat, coordinator of the campaign for the eradication of slave work of the Land Pastoral Commission (CPT) of the National Council of Catholic Bishops of Brazil (CNNB).
The International Labor Organization estimates the number of victims of modern slavery to be at least 21 million Over the last 20 years, 47,000 people living in degrading work situations, in 2,000 establishments in more than 600 Brazilian municipal districts were freed.
In an article for the Folha newspaper ofSão Paulo, Raymundo Damasceno Assis, the president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) and cardinal archbishop of Aparecida, pointed out four kinds of human trafficking:
- sexual exploitation.
- the exploitation of slave labor. Data of the Land Pastoral Commission (CPT) indicates that between 2003 and 2012, 62.800 cases of slave labor or that similar to slave labor were found in Brazil.
- the trafficking of human organs for transplants, and
- the trafficking of children and adolescents for illegal adoption. According to Cardinal Damasceno, some 20,000 Brazilian children were sent abroad to be adopted during the 1980s.
In his article, Cardinal Damasceno emphasizes the Christian hope that no evil will have the final word. “May Christ's resurrection, to which Lent leads us, free us,” he wrote.