Human Trafficking: A Lacuna in Catholic Ethics

The persistence of human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, is a cruel irony in the United States, a nation that claims to be committed to the ideals of freedom, liberty, and equality. While accurate statistical data on trafficking is infamously difficult to obtain, the Polaris Project estimates that 20 million people are trafficked globally, with hundreds of thousands trafficked into the U.S.. The U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (P.L.106-386) and its reauthorizations (H.R.2620, 2003 and HR7311, 2008) take important steps to rectify this enslavement, but trafficking persists in the shadows of global supply chains that undergird agricultural, domestic, service, and sexual economies. Traffickers prey on the vulnerability of people on society’s margins: women and girls, migrants, and the very poor. These figures only hint at trafficking’s corrosive effect on the project of justice, equality, and freedom in the U.S. and beyond.

While trafficking persists in the global economy, Catholic ethicists have struggled to articulate cogent responses that can inform practical resistance to this blatant violation of human dignity.

Read More at Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church Forum.


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