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Knocking down the walls of hypocrisy

· Father Michael Czerny on human trafficking and modern slavery ·

Why is it that, in the post-industrial era, in a global economy that seems to need increasingly less human labour, there are more slaves than there ever were in the course of history? The Jesuit father, Michael Czerny, was recently invited to the Katholische Academie in Berlin to speak about human trafficking and modern slavery. Czerny, Undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, began his report with a question that, in appearance only, aimed to historically and statistically contextualize a current and dramatic phenomenon.

The persistence of such “dehumanizing and revolting” practices in which individuals are treated “as merchandise to sell and exploit as sources of labour or, even worse, as raw materials in so many and such unimaginable ways”, goes far beyond the dynamics of history, pointed out Father Czerny, and drives us directly back to the reasons, causes and responsibilities.

According to the Jesuit father, today there is “little desire to understand the source of the problem”. People turn their heads to it because, in reality, it is something that “weighs heavily on our consciences”. It is “shameful” to admit that these new forms of slavery exist in one’s own country or city or even neighbourhood. And yet, stated Czerny, “we know well that this problem affects nearly every country in the world”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 17, 2018

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