On the World Day Against Human Trafficking, 30 July 2018, the Sovereign Order of Malta appeals to governments and civil society, including business, to take measures to prevent and end human trafficking, while protecting and assisting victims and survivors.
Human trafficking is a tragic form of contemporary slavery, which constitutes a crime and a serious threat to human dignity and physical integrity.
“The Order of Malta would like to underline the need to enhance synergies, partnerships and alliances among different United Nations agencies, regional organizations, international and local non-governmental organizations and civil society, including Faith-based organizations” states Albrecht Boeselager, Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta. “These measures are desperately needed to prevent violations, protect victims, prosecute those responsible, share research and experiences, highlight good practices, raise awareness and engage proactively with regional and sub-regional organizations”.
Fulfilling its mission to assist the weakest, the Sovereign Order of Malta is increasing its efforts against human trafficking through social services and humanitarian action conducted by its National Associations and its worldwide relief agency “Malteser International”, as well as through its diplomatic network and especially its two ambassadors tasked with combating human trafficking. Based in Geneva and in Lagos, Michel Veuthey – Ambassador to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons – and Romain de Villeneuve – Ambassador at-large for Africa – are working to help strengthen the commitment of the Order of Malta via diplomatic and local projects.
The Order of Malta also stresses the importance of addressing modern slavery in supply chains. “Bringing demand for slave labour into focus is absolutely necessary” notes Ambassador Michel Veuthey. “Slave-free” labels should be created for goods and services. Modern slavery exists in supply chains in all regions. With an estimated $150 billion of illicit profits a year it is one of the major challenges of today’s global economy, and unless real progress can be made, the goals of sustainable supply chains and sustainable development will ring hollow”.
The Order of Malta would like to quote His Holiness Pope Francis, who repeatedly denounces this modern-day scourge and appeals for action: “Faced with the tragic reality of rising contemporary slavery, no one can wash their hands of it without being, in some way, an accomplice to this crime against humanity. This immense task, which requires courage, patience and perseverance, demands a joint and global effort on the part of the different actors that make up society.” (Pope Francis to the participants of the 2nd International Forum on Modern Slavery, May 2018).
The Order of Malta works with the Holy See, States, international organisations, and local faith-based organisations, supporting for example Bakhita Villa, a shelter for survivors in Lagos – Nigeria- run by Sister Patricia Ebegbulem of the Sisters of Saint Louis.