The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, on the occasion of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, has issued the following statement:
Slavery has represented one of the most shameful disgraces of humanity.
Today, the World Day against Trafficking in Persons compels us to reiterate that the international community condemns and combats all forms of slavery – whether old or new.
The International Labour Organisation reports that the victims of slavery amount to about 40 million people, of whom 25 million are coerced into forced labour and 15 million into forced marriage.
Such startling figures have led the United Nations to implement the plan to eradicate human trafficking by 2030.
These are signs of social decline, a scourge we must firmly root out. Our conscience is thereby examined, and we are called to a moral reaction, to give an adequate response by means of a greater cultural and civil commitment.
The phenomenon of migration provides fertile ground for such forms of slavery.
Every day thousands of people risk their loved ones’ and their own lives at land and sea, in desperate conditions. It is a tragedy engendered by wars, poverty, by the instability of precarious development. It is a tragedy that is fuelled and exploited by despicable human traffickers, who shape for their victims a future of oppression and abuse: labour exploitation, illegal adoptions, removal of organs, recruitment into organized crime, sexual exploitation.
No country is immune to such systematic violations of human dignity. It is the responsibility of the international community in its entirety to refrain from the temptation of looking away. Only through cooperation can we defeat this phenomenon, together with a European Union that is aware of its values and its responsibilities.