Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Human Trafficking: An Ongoing Issue

July 18, 2014

  Megan Isom, Migration Intern

Megan Isom

In the past two weeks of my internship, the majority of my attention has been focused on the growing child migration problem at the border – I have attending hearings, briefings, and meetings focused on the topic, and most of my writing has been done on it. But with the release of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, my attention has been slightly diverted from the border, towards the issue of human trafficking.

Amnesty International defines human trafficking as “the trade in humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.” The TIP Report’s focus is to expose individual countries’ efforts or lack of efforts to improve the status of human trafficking. As Secretary of State John Kerry said in his opening statement of the report, “We find perhaps no greater assault on basic freedom than the evil of human trafficking… We each have a responsibility to make this horrific and all-too-common crime a lot less common.” Our responsibility as Catholics is to protect all of God’s people, and to protect human dignity around the world.

Legislation is currently being reviewed in Congress focusing on human trafficking. H.R. 4842, or the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2014, was introduced in a bipartisan effort on June 11 by Representative Carol Maloney (D-NY), cosponsored by Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ). If enacted, the bill would require regulations to be issued requiring companies to make public whether or not they have taken any steps to identify and address human trafficking, slavery, forced labor, and child labor throughout their supply chains. Currently, the bill is being considered in the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. It is important to lift up our faithful voices in support of such measures, in solidarity with those who are suffering.