To the Editor:
January has been designated as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. People of goodwill are joining together to seek ways to address this critical issue. Jan. 11 and Feb. 8, 2015, have been designated as Anti-Human Trafficking Awareness Days. Join with others throughout the month to draw awareness to these issues and to work towards eradicating slavery and human trafficking entirely.
Human trafficking is a horrific crime against the fundamental rights and dignity of the human person. The United Nations Protocol on Human Trafficking defines it as the “recruitment, transportation, harboring or receipt of persons by means of force, fraud or coercion.”
Every country in the world is affected by trafficking. The United States is no exception, serving as a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children – both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. The United Nation’s International Labor Organization’s 2012 Estimate on Forced Labor and the U.S. Department of Justice provides some statistics on human trafficking.
• Approximately 300,000 children are at risk annually in the U.S.
• The average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is 13-14 years old.
• Children aged 17 years and below represent 26 percent of total victims, representing a total of 5.5 million child victims worldwide.
• 55 percent of forced labor victims are women and girls, as are 98 percent of sex trafficking victims.
• Nearly 1.5 million victims are currently laboring in conditions of forced labor, sexual exploitation and servitude in the United States, Canada and the EU.
• Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion yearly in the U.S. and $32 billion worldwide.
There are numerous upcoming events in our area sponsored by the Franciscan Peace Center Anti-Trafficking Committee. Go to www.Clintonfranciscans.com for a complete listing.
Nancy Miller, OSF
Franciscan Peace Center