Jesuit Father Michael Czerny has called for 'immediate and incisive action'

Children continue to fall victim to trafficking, while those who enslave and exploit them continue to avoid prosecution, a Vatican official said.

Each year, millions of children are subjected to the horrors of trafficking as leaders across the world still attempt to come up with an effective solution, Jesuit Father Michael Czerny told a conference organised by the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons, a global forum working with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Due to inadequate protection, extreme poverty, and, in some cases, ignorance, children around the world are being reduced to objects in a “perverse market logic of supply and demand,” which “is possibly the nastiest illustration of how modern capitalism at its amoral extremes is able to commoditise absolutely everything, even young lives,” he said.

Fr Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, spoke at the conference on April 3 in Vienna.

In his speech, he emphasised the need for “immediate and incisive action” to ensure the safety of child trafficking victims. He said it is an ongoing issue that, as Pope Francis declared, scars “the face of modern humanity.”

While government, religious and collective efforts have all contributed to the awareness of and action toward these heinous acts, previous efforts been “proven insufficient,” he said. To improve these efforts, he added, an approach using the four pillars of prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership is necessary.

“Let us apply these four perspectives in order to see and understand the phenomenon of child trafficking and to judge the immediate and wider causes, in order to undertake action against this continuing scourge,” he said.

Of these four perspectives, he added, “the establishment of effective networks to prevent the trade, protect victims and prosecute traffickers is a real key to success.” Effective partnerships to combat child trafficking, he said, use the different abilities and skill sets that each partner provides and integrates various approaches and perspectives.

The ultimate objective, he added, is protecting “the best interests of the child,” a goal that can be reached by improving joint efforts to combat child trafficking.