The first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking will be held on February 8th, 2015. The day is intended to raise awareness and encourage reflection on the violence and injustice that impact victims of human trafficking. This comes after the historic December 2nd World Day for the Abolition of Slavery which was marked by an unprecedented meeting between Pope Francis and leaders from the Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox, Anglican, Buddhist and Hindu faiths. They signed a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery, reaffirming their commitment to the dignity and freedom that is the birthright of humanity and to ending slavery by 2020.
In addition, January, 2015, is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the United States. It culminates in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1.
All of these events help us to recognize the vital role everyone can play in ending all forms of slavery. At CBIS, our active ownership work is aimed at addressing a broad range of issues, with human trafficking being a top priority for our Participants. Many of the Pope’s recent comments speak to the heart of our efforts:
The Pope has noted that, despite global efforts, the scale of this “atrocious scourge” is on the rise and it often “disguises itself behind apparently acceptable practices” such as tourism and different forms of labor. CBIS has been working with Wyndham Worldwide, a hotel company, since 2009 and is pleased with the steps recently announced by the company to develop comprehensive training tools for all staff to educate them about all aspects of human trafficking. CBIS is also working with Campbell’s and other food manufacturers and retailers in an effort to fight trafficking within their supply chains, including new guidelines to protect workers in their immediate and extended supply chains.
The Pope has also said that human trafficking “…hides behind closed doors, in homes, on the streets, in cars, in factories, in the fields, on fishing boats,” in the biggest cities or smallest villages and in the richest and poorest countries of the world. We have also worked with Macy’s to stop forced child labor in Uzbekistan and are planning new efforts targeting the seafood industry. The National Catholic Reporter, taking from the 2014 Global Slavery Index, stated that “almost 36 million people are currently caught in some form of modern slavery” and that the “International Labor Organization estimates that organized crime networks reap about $150 billion dollars a year from trafficking in persons.”
CBIS and our Participants will continue fighting on behalf of human trafficking victims. In the words of Pope Francis, “We cannot tolerate that the image of the living God is subjected to this most abominable form of trafficking.”
How can you take action?
Frequent hotels that have signed The Code of Conduct Against Child Sexual Exploitation www.thecode.org
See if your favorite retailers and manufacturers are disclosing steps they are taking to prevent human trafficking www.knowthechain.org
Stay informed from anti-trafficking organizations, such as Free The Slaves, ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking), Polaris and The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Discover your connection to modern-day slavery: www.slaveryfootprint.org
Learn about countries that are doing the most and least to prevent human trafficking http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/?utm_source=NEW+RESOURCE:+Trafficking+in+Persons+R
If you are aware of a human trafficking incident, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
For more information: