Humans are created by God to be creative. Not to be used.
I would like to thank you for your interest in our conference in the name of the preparations group. We are looking forward to reading your applications and meeting you in person! Because of the curiosity and the need to get prepared together for this conference I would like to invite you to follow our blog on the Invisible Slavery Conference, that will take place less than in two months, from 6. October in St. Gilgen, in Austria. When we decided with the Solidarity Working Group of the Regional Committee to organize a conference on Human Trafficking two years ago, I knew that it is not going to be an easy topic. Please consider these facts for a few seconds:
- There are 20-30 million people trafficked nowadays and kept in slavery.
- Half of them are children. 70% of them are women.
- Human trafficking is the third largest, and fastest growing international crime industry
- Approximately 80% of the human trafficking is sexual exploitation. (ILO)
Before we start the blog with your conference preparatory team, sharing movies, facts, articles and comments, let me put down a very personal reflection on the topic. Every time I think about this terrible crime against human dignity and I pray for the victims of Human Trafficking I feel helpless and angry and sad. I feel that my faith is starting to shake. I am turning with lots of questions towards God. How can you let it happen? How can you love these people who are committing these sins towards other humans? Many of these questions are yet without answers. That’s probably why I felt the need to organise a conference on this matter, to find answers together, to find ways to deal with it.
I really hope and think that everyone who is attending the conference can work for change, find ways to fight against Human Trafficking, even if it seems to be too heavy, even if it seems that what we can do is so small… Once a very wise priest told me as I shared my doubts about the effect of the actions I take: “Thinking, what I can do is small, is not the right attitude, as Jesus showed to us. Imagine what the world would be if he would have stayed at home saying that a simple carpenter can’t heal the whole word.”
First time I was touched by the topic of prostitution and human trafficking, I was in Hungary, volunteering at an NGO, working for prostituted women. The horror of the capital was 5 minutes walk away from my flat. The head of the NGO, a silent, Jesuit lady took me for a walk in the “crime district” of the Budapest where these women were “working”.
As if prostitution would be a work she added bitterly and I understood what she meant. Let me explain: I heard so many times, that prostitution is the most ancient profession. But is it really a profession? I hardly think so. A profession is something that people feel called for. That gives people merit. Now, as I am working at the moment with unemployed people, I see the change that work does on them. As some of my students get employed they change. The expression of their face. Even their back is different, more straight. I realized: work makes people feel proud, because they contribute their knowledge and expertise. As humans are created by God to be creative. Not to be used. Work does not take away human dignity but gives it to them.
The lady told me the stories about young women getting kidnapped, taken away, returning as a human wreck, without teeth, losing their mental and physical health for forever, becoming 20 years older in 3 years. She told stories about teenagers whose parents don’t know anything about their daughters, and about orphans, who are not even missed by anyone. Her silent and sad voice continued telling me about the attitude of the police who treat prostituted women as criminals not as victims, and she told me about the violence of the pimps, the scarfs that women have sometimes, to whom she brings sometimes coffee to get closer to step by step. She does everything she can, whether it’s a good word, a way back home, or support for independent life.
Find out together what we can do together; an open letter we write to our politicians, a flashmob we make in Salzburg and in your hometowns, changing the attitude of people around us or if it is a prayer we say together for all our sisters and brothers who suffer from the oppression and cruelty of human trafficking, the invisible slavery.
Márta Várnagyi (Hungary) is WSCF-E Events Coordinator and the head of the Conference’s preparatory committee
“Invisible Slavery: Human Trafficking in Europe” conference was sponsored by European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.