“Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights”, the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) said last week in a statement to mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (Thursday 30 July). The General Secretary of CAPA, J W Kofi deGraft-Johnson, described it as “a transnational organised crime that affects communities globally.”
In the statement, CAPA called on people to join the campaign against human trafficking, saying: “societies are judged by how they treat the least among them. Today we urge you to look at the plight of people in our communities who have been reduced to merchandise. They are bought and sold for labour, sexual exploitation, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or for the removal of body organs. . .
“Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers either in their own countries or abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. According to the Global Slavery Index (2018) Regional Analysis of Africa, 62 per cent of Africans are vulnerable to modern slavery and the estimated number of people living in modern slavery is about 9,240,000.”
In the statement, deGraft-Johnson said that the Covid-19 pandemic had “exposed and worsened many global inequalities, created new obstacles on the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and left millions of people at greater risk of being trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced marriage and other crimes.
“These realities on the plight of migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons among others from different Anglican Provinces on the continent undergirds CAPA’s response to the migration and human trafficking issues on the continent.
“CAPA, in collaboration with other partners and stakeholders, seeks to lend support to regional and global efforts to respond to the issues of migration and trafficking on the continent. Mindful of national, sub-regional and continent-wide actions on the issues of migration and human trafficking, CAPA invites all to join in the fight against human trafficking especially as we mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.”
The theme for last week’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons focused on the first responders – people who work in different sectors to identify support, counsel, and seek justice for victims of trafficking, and challenge the impunity of the traffickers.
“Faith communities are the backbone of society”, the CAPA statement said. “We therefore invite you to join in the fight against human trafficking and to support victims in multiple ways as first responders and by supporting others already doing the work. We call upon you today to join us as we fight to protect our neighbours.
“Your contribution could be to speak about the ills of trafficking in persons, raise awareness of the potential of trafficking among those vulnerable to the crime, sharing of information, challenge structures that expose the vulnerable and the marginalised to the crime of human trafficking, offer prayers for those caught in the web of traffickers and being trafficked and above all provide support to those affected by the ills of trafficking.
“Together we can and we must raise our voices against trafficking in persons.”