ROME — Coronavirus lockdowns have not led to a reduction in human trafficking, which primarily affects women and girls, but actually increased it over the past year, according to Consolata Sister Eugenia Bonetti.
“The different types of exploitation have changed, becoming more violent and, in the case of sexual exploitation, more hidden,” she says. “They have moved, in fact, from the streets to apartments or online sites.”
For over two decades, Sister Eugenia has served on the frontline of the Church’s efforts to combat human trafficking of women and girls — a ministry that began in 1993 when, as a missionary in Africa, she first saw women on roadsides waiting for clients.
Since 2012, the Italian sister has headed “Slaves No More,” a Rome-based association extending to 30 different countries and dedicated to fighting the scourge, which affects 27 million victims worldwide. The organization has collaborated extensively with the U.S. embassy to the Holy See during both Republican and Democratic administrations.
In this March 30 interview with the Register, Sister Eugenia explains more about her work to restore the dignity of trafficked women and girls, what the faithful can do to raise awareness of these acts of violence, degradation and exploitation against them, and how her conviction that we are one human family under Christ is central to her work.
Sister Eugenia, who are most liable to become victims of such modern slavery? How do they end up in this situation, and do they include minors?
The categories of people most at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking are undoubtedly women and young women and children.