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Building Bridges of Freedom
 
Ambassador Miguel Díaz opens the conference (Embassy photo by S. Forbus)

Ambassador Miguel Díaz opens the conference

Sister Estrella Castalone speaks of the work of religious women and men in combating human trafficking (Embassy photo by S. Forbus)

Sister Estrella Castalone, head of the Union of Superiors' General Talitha Kum network to combat trafficking (Embassy photo by S. Forbus)

May 18, 2011  The Embassy and Miami-based St. Thomas University School of Law hosted a conference on May 18 in Rome on combating human trafficking, with a focus on creating and leveraging partnerships between the public and private sector to eradicate modern-day slavery. The day-long conference brought together leaders from the business world, academia and religious leaders from various faiths in Rome, as well as politicians who are promoting legislation and awareness to combat buying and selling of human beings for profit.

The conference’s keynote speaker, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking, underlined that there is much more to human trafficking than moving a human commodity from one location to another, as the name implies.

Ambassador CdeBaca explained, “In fact this is a crime of exploitation. It’s about compelling a person, whether through force or fraud or coercion, to suffer in servitude or prostitution. It’s about the fisherman whose passport is taken away so he can’t escape the twenty-hour days or the beatings if he doesn’t meet his daily quota. It’s about the woman lured away from her home by the promise of good work only to find herself trapped as someone’s domestic servant with no avenue of escape, or ensnared in the sex trade.”

In one of its worst forms, trafficking involves harvesting people’s organs and selling them on the black market.

By low estimates, Ambassador CdeBaca said, there are more than 12 million people enslaved worldwide, and possibly as many as 27 million men, women, and children living in a state of modern slavery.

The conference brought together more than 250 people to strengthen networks in fighting modern-day slavery, as well as to forge important partnerships with the private sector, a key new ally in combating modern-day slavery.

Conference Materials

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