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Break down the clichés, hitting the demand, force governments to put into place a joint and coordianted action, distinguish between illegal immigrants and those who have been enclave. In the The definite pending document to be completed, only in a few days, by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences which has met in a plenary Committee, has addressed the issue of human-trafficking, going “beyond” criminalising, as stressed by Prof. Margaret Archer, President of the Pontifical Academy. The problem lies not just in hitting criminal organisations, but in changing the culture of a society that too often absolves itself, standing aloof.

This is what professor Pierpaolo Donati has referred to as the “ironic solidarity”, the one imbued with piety and fatalism, with no operational connotation or empathetic identification. In this context, there is need of a jolt , such as boycotting goods produced by countries (or companies) that tolerate enslaved labour, to the extent of contributing to it.
The cultural approach comes back into question again, which should also be applied to eliminate confusion between illegal immigrant and those enclave; the two terms are often used interchangeably, committing a serious error of assessment which also leads to wrong actions. One thing is a forced repatriation as in the first case, somthing else enforcing it it on those who are fleeing from war-torn countries, torture and persecution. It is quite clear that the distinction should be recovered – as was defined in Geneva in 1948 – between migrants, asylum seekers and workers; we speak about recovery because those principles, that were so clear in the immediate post-war period, have been gradually watered down, as to lose their identity of three figures.

The latest UN report has pointed out that 70% of people are victims of trafficking are women and girls, while 72% of the traffickers are male. Beyond gender considerations, what should be stressed-said prof. Stefano Zamagni – is that these abductions donot end up just with prostitution. Partly go to fuel the terrible market of organ trafficking, but most become used as unskilled workers for forced labour, employers who are guilty accomplices pretended not to know the origin of that workforce at a very low cost.

Other cultural misunderstandings to dispel, is the confusion between freedom of choice and freedom to choose. In the first case you can take up a predetermined path among a range of possibilities, in the second to self-determine the path that you want to take up. A profound difference,like being on the inside or on the outside of a fence, yet so ill misinterpreted by what we can call “libertarian individualism”.

Then there is the inertia of governments. The so-called Palermo Protocol (which, among other things, undertook to go against the smuggling of migrants by land, sea and air “)which was approved by 90% of the nations in the world, but none have ratified it, i.e. made operational. Until countries donot pass from making declarations of intent into action, the problem is likely to remain unchanged.

So what is there to do? And what is the novelty of today as compared to the positions already expressed many years ago by don Oreste Benzi, founder of the Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII (who with his General Manager, John Ramonda, had actively participated in the work of the Committee), on enslaved women and the need t ogive a hard blow to the demand ? “The difference, explained Prof. Zamagni– consists in the fact that in the meantime the world has globalised, so you can also speak of a globalisation of solidarity (“putting the various associations that move on this territory,” added Prof. Donati); If once there was only one individual – on the question of prostitution just to be clear –today there is also a group, a collective corporate one, one the rise. On this, it may be possible to intervene at the root, making the worth of the concept of corporate social responsibility that cannot mean only doing charity “.

And what is the church’s role in all this? “In addition to the constant exhortations of Pope Francis –explained the speakers-it can encourage virtuous actions through either consecrated or related organizations. Think for example of the information on organ donation for a wide and conscious choice, or direct contact with the clients of prostitutes, who start a cultural persuasion and awareness right from the bottom. Breaking the ‘supply-chain’ can be done by deleting the demand. In every field or sector where slavery is present.

Translation provided by Marina Stronati

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