Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
  • Sri Lanka children - Jim Stipe
  • Golden calf on Wall Street
  • Seedbag
  • Altar in Palestine - R Rodrick Beiler
  • corn bags

Human trafficking

child in tunnel

Trafficking, sexual slavery, child prostitution ... all are gross violations of human dignity and demand urgent attention.

If you are a resident of the U.S., urge your senators to support the End Slavery Initiative of 2015.

Learn more about the annual National Weekend of Prayer to End Slavery and Trafficking (held every January).

For many years, Maryknoll missioners have worked with people who have been trafficked ... for example, today Sr. Helene O'Sullivan works with women who endured sexual slavery in Phnom Penh.

It is time for a new abolitionist movement -- a movement to raise awareness of and work to stop the illegal and inhuman trafficking of people. Tens of millions of people are enslaved around the world today, working in factories, private homes, farms, and as sex workers. We must work together to end the use of humans as commodities.

Check out a Maryknoll-produced film on the connections between migration and human trafficking: Lives for Sale

Listen to Sr. Helene O'Sullivan describe the anti-trafficking work in Cambodia in a story entitled "Shackled" on Maryknoll's radio program, Voices of our world. In two parts, each 14 minutes. (28 minutes total)

President Obama spoke forcefully about modern slavery during his September 25, 2012 remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative: "... Modern anti-trafficking laws must be passed and enforced and justice systems must be strengthened. Victims must be cared for. So here in the United States, Congress should renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. ... And more broadly, as nations, let’s recommit to addressing the underlying forces that push so many into bondage in the first place. With development and economic growth that creates legitimate jobs, there’s less likelihood of indentured servitude around the globe. A sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, that has to be burned into the cultures of every country. ... [Our] global economy companies have a responsibility to make sure that their supply chains, stretching into the far corners of the globe, are free of forced labor. ... Every faith community can take action as well, by educating their congregations, by joining in coalitions that are bound by a love of God and a concern for the oppressed. And like that Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho, we can’t just pass by, indifferent. We’ve got to be moved by compassion. We’ve got to bind up the wounds. Let’s come together around a simple truth -- that we are our brother’s keepers and we are our sister’s keepers."

Read the entire transcript of the president's remarks here.

Read this fact sheet on the administration's efforts to combat human trafficking.

U.S. laws on trafficking in persons: The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (PL 106-386), the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 (HR 2620), the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (HR 972), and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (HR 7311) provide the tools to combat trafficking in persons both worldwide and domestically.

Latest UN report on human trafficking exposes modern form of slavery: "... According to the report, the most common form of human trafficking (79 percent) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. ... The second most common form of human trafficking is forced labour (18 percent), although this may be a misrepresentation because forced labour is less frequently detected and reported than trafficking for sexual exploitation. Worldwide, almost 20 percent of all trafficking victims are children. However, in some parts of Africa and the Mekong region, children are the majority (up to 100 percent in parts of West Africa)."

Learn more: