African Catholic Bishops, meeting collegially, have become acutely aware that
the countries of our territory (Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland) are not
excluded from the international trafficking in women and children, particularly
for the Sex trade.
The trafficking in the Vulnerable will not be challenged until Women and
Children are treated, not as goods or possessions to be bought, used and sold,
but as unique and valuable individuals
Society’s strength is measured not in its strongest, most privileged members,
but in its most vulnerable members. Women and Children have the right to family
and nurturing and security.
As pastors, we acknowledge with gratitude the churches and NGOs throughout
Africa that have made this issue a priority. We thank them for providing shelter
and security to vulnerable women and children.
We commit ourselves, together with the Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life
(Major Religious Superiors) to provide greater support for initiatives to deal
with this problem, such as those of the International Organisation for Migration
(IOM) . To this end, we will be establishing at Khanya House (our headquarters
in Pretoria), a desk to address the issue of Human Trafficking. One of the tasks
of this desk is to network with other agencies. The desk would also lobby
through the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO) for the criminalisation
of human trafficking.
We therefore, once again, call for the formation of our communities as
communities of care, so that Women and children will find a safe space and would
be protected. We also call on men and women to remember that we are created –
male and female – in the image and likeness of God (genesis 1:26). No person has
the right to buy, use or sell another person.