On 7 April 2016, Cardinal Vincent addressed delegates at a special event at the United Nations about the fight to eradicate human trafficking through effective international cooperation at all levels.
New Sustainable Development Goals express 'the official commitment of every UN member state to work for the eradication of human trafficking and modern slavery' by 2030. The Cardinal explained that 'this goal cannot be achieved without effective, international cooperation at many levels, one of which is indeed the Santa Marta Group, open to all who see the importance of its insight and wish to take part in its processes'.
The Cardinal was speaking at a special Side Event at the UN's New York headquarters, jointly organised by The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN and the Santa Marta Group.
He spoke about the Church's 'radical commitment to the dignity of every human person, a dignity which has to be protected and promoted in every circumstance and time; a dignity which does not depend on the abilities or status of a person but which is rooted entirely in the inner depth of the person's existence, in the gift of human life which always comes from the Divine Creator'.
He emphasised that 'human trafficking and slavery radically strip a person of this fundamental dignity, reducing them to the status of a commodity. It is an evil crying out to heaven.'
Noting that there are 'over 20 million people callously held in modern slavery in our world today', he said that this 'is a mark of deep shame on the face of our human family that no words alone can remove'.
Expressing the need for international cooperation, he explained that such 'international partnerships require not only a shared motivation but also some clear key aims. For us they are univocal: the well-being of every victim of human trafficking, for it is the victim who must always be central to our efforts; the enhancement of the work of law enforcement: the breaking up of criminal networks, the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators; and thirdly the strengthening of the legal frameworks within which this work is carried out.'
The Santa Marta Group is an organisation founded by Pope Francis in 2014 to strengthen and coordinate the global response to combatting human trafficking and all forms of modern slavery.
The full text of the Cardinal's address is available here.
For further information about the Santa Marta Group, please visit their website santamartagroup.com.