U.S. Anti-Trafficking Ambassador addresses Vatican Summit

A Vatican summit of legal experts from around the world discussed ways of combating human trafficking and organized crime. The two day meeting was organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and included an audience with Pope Francis and the signing of a final declaration. Over a hundred judges, magistrates, prosecutors, and representatives of legal organizations from some 20 different countries shared best practices from their experience of working to fight trafficking, slave labor and the trade in human organs. In particular they explored how they can better incorporate humanitarian values into their legal systems, how to enhance judges’ appreciation of the needs of survivors and how money confiscated from the traffickers can be directed towards their victims.

In a pre-conference radio interview with Vatican Radio, the new U.S. Ambassador at Large for Monitoring and Combating Trafficking in Persons, Susan Coppedge, stressed the need to educate the public on the issue of human trafficking. A better educated public, she explained, would help decrease the vulnerabilities of victims and raise the rights of girls and women. She discussed how many young women, often due to economic imbalances, become recruited into prostitution or domestic servitude. Ambassador Coppedge also spoke of the vital role churches and NGOs can play in both community education and raising the profile of the trafficking issue.

Listen to the interview here.