In his weekly Angelus address, Pope Francis pulled no punches in condemning human trafficking, calling the practice a “horrific plague” and a form of “modern slavery.”
In commemoration of the UN’s World Day Against Human Trafficking, the Pope said Sunday that each year, thousands of men, women and children fall victim to labor and sexual exploitation as well as the sale of organs.
Although this may seem normal to us because it has become so common, the Pope continued, it is in fact “ugly, cruel and criminal” and must be stopped.
In recent years, human trafficking has become interwoven with uncontrolled mass migration, which allows traffickers to move thousands of people under the radar to be exploited for slave labor or prostitution.
As Breitbart News reported Friday, the vile practice of trafficking in Nigerian women as sex slaves in Europe has become one of the many examples of the deadly fallout from Europe’s migration crisis.
A new study has chronicled the harrowing case of a Nigerian girl who was promised a job in a hair salon in Italy only to be told on arriving that she would have to work as a prostitute instead.
“The job was a lie,” the girl declared. “They forced me to become a prostitute. That was the only way to pay off the debt of the journey, which they had told me before I left that I did not need to pay for.”
Her case was far from uncommon. At present, nearly 80 percent of Nigerian females migrating to Italy wind up in forced prostitution, a form of sexual slavery from which the girls and women have no recourse. In other words, for every ten Nigerian girls entering Italy, officials can be fairly certain that eight will become sex slaves.
Moreover, roughly half of all prostitutes working in Italy are Nigerians.
Nigerian people smugglers have exploited Europe’s migrant crisis to take girls across the Mediterranean into Italy to sell into prostitution. From 2014-2016, more than 12,000 Nigerian girls and young women arrived in Italy—six times as many as in the preceding two years. Of these, some 9,400 wound up as sex workers.
Italy continues to welcome African immigrants by the hundreds and thousands every day. They are usually picked up just off the coast of Libya by waiting “rescue” vessels of the Italian Coast Guard or a number of NGOs that assist migrants, who then take them across the Mediterranean to Italian ports.
Because of Italy’s unwillingness to curb the practice of illegal mass migration proceeding principally from North Africa, its leaders have become complicit in one of the most egregious examples of systematic human trafficking in the world today. So far in 2017, Italy has taken in nearly 95,000 mostly African migrants.
“I call for the commitment of all so that this horrific plague, a form of modern slavery, may be adequately dealt with,” the Pope said in his message Sunday.
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