WASHINGTON (May 16, 2000) -- The chairman of the Bishops' Migration Committee today welcomed congressional action on legislation addressing the growing international problem of trafficking in humans, which mostly impacts poor women and children.
Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Camden (NJ) urged the U. S. Senate to follow the House's lead and promptly pass legislation which will ensure more effective prosecution of traffickers as well as assistance for trafficking's victims.
"Trafficking in human persons represents an increasingly prevalent human rights violation," Bishop DiMarzio said. "The United Nations has estimated that close to four million women, children, and men are victims of trafficking each year. It is time for our nation to take the necessary steps to help end this abominable practice."
The full text of Bishop DiMarzio's statement follows:
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio
Chairman, Committee on Migration
National Conference of Catholic Bishops/U.S. Catholic Conference
May 16, 2000
We welcome Congressional efforts to address, in a comprehensive manner, the heinous and growing practice of trade in human persons, most of whom are poor women and children. Victims of this contemporary form of servitude, many of whom are forced into the international sex tourism industry, suffer rape, torture, starvation, and all manner of abuse and brutality. Legislation in both the House and Senate addresses the problem by strengthening U.S. laws and programs to ensure more effective prosecution of traffickers. It also rightly provides for aid and other measures to encourage governments to improve their anti-trafficking efforts.
The House of Representatives has taken an important step forward by passing a trafficking bill. We urge the Senate to act promptly to address this important moral issue.
While an improvement over current law, certain immigration provisions in the House legislation, which were added by the House Judiciary Committee, do not offer adequate protection to victims of trafficking. We will continue to work to strengthen these provisions as the legislative process moves forward.
Trafficking in human persons represents an increasingly prevalent human rights violation. The United Nations has estimated that close to four million women, children and men are victims of trafficking each year. It is time for our nation to take the necessary steps to help end this abominable practice.