HomeNewsCaritas Internationalis head appeals for global crusade against human trafficking

Caritas Internationalis head appeals for global crusade against human trafficking

The head of the Vatican’s charity network has urged Catholics to consider the plight of countless individuals worldwide who have been deprived of their human dignity.

“We too would like to be mindful of the many people in this world who have been stripped of their human dignity and driven to the brink of despair, so that they can stand on their own two feet,” said Archbishop Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo, president of Caritas Internationalis.

During his homily on June 30 at Tokyo Cathedral of St. Mary, the prelate brought attention to the issue of human trafficking, linking it to the biblical narrative where Jesus revives a young girl, a story that represents hope and the reinstatement of dignity.

Using the phrase “Talitha, kum” from the Gospel of Mark, Archbishop Isao Kikuchi stressed empowerment for those trapped in human trafficking, emphasizing its prevalence in Japan and globally.

He challenged the misconception that human trafficking is only a problem in distant lands. “Human trafficking is not something that happens in some faraway world; it occurs right in the reality of Japanese society,” he said.

He emphasized the local presence of this global issue, urging an acknowledgment that challenges the often-held belief of its foreign exclusivity.

The prelate cited that in 2009, the International Federation of Superiors General of Religious Women’s Orders established “Talitacum,” a network aimed at combating human trafficking.

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This network, active in Japan, reflects the Church’s dedication to defending the marginalized.

Pope Francis, in this year’s Talitacum general assembly, called human trafficking a “systematic evil” that requires a multi-level response and emphasized the importance of supporting victims directly.

Archbishop Kikuchi urged the Catholic community to support those who have lost their dignity, to help them regain independence and restore their hope.

He highlighted the critical role of community engagement in addressing and combating human trafficking in Japan and globally.

The Japanese government has acknowledged the issue within its borders and has launched campaigns to increase public awareness about human trafficking.

The Government of Japan remains in Tier 2 in the fight against human trafficking, as it continues to not fully meet minimum standards but shows significant efforts to improve, according to the US Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

These efforts include the establishment of a panel to reform the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) to address forced labor vulnerabilities, the approval of a National Action Plan focusing on labor and child sex trafficking, and an increase in sex trafficking convictions. 

However, challenges persist, such as a lack of political will to address labor and child sex trafficking aggressively, insufficient screening of exploited children in the sex trade, lenient penalties for traffickers, and ineffective cooperation agreements with countries sending workers under the TITP. 

Furthermore, the identification of trafficking victims, particularly males and those within the TITP, remains inadequate, and victim support services are not uniformly available across all prefectures, with no provisions for male victims and disruptive requirements for women and children seeking shelter.

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