Little sisters of Jesus in Macau, Sex trafficking and slavery

Macao’s Good Shepherd Centre, which helps young women who are victims of sex trafficking, invited me to participate in a symposium here in Macao entitled “To put an end to human trafficking and modern slavery”. I discovered that this current terrible form of slavery is a gigantic business which is increasing all over the world.
The goal of the conference was to raise awareness about human trafficking and its many faces, to provide a clear understanding of how trafficking is a form of modern day slavery which includes forced prostitution, slave boats, sweat shops, ISIS, Boko Haram, etc.
“Human trafficking” means: threats or the use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability etc.
There are more than 38 million slaves in the world today of whom 66% are in Asia and 26% are children. 76% are forced labor and 24% are forced into the sexual industry. In Hong Kong there are 13,400 victims in the sex industry among domestics.
The profits are excessive, 32 billon US dollars, and the issue is complex. The traditional responses of prevention, prosecution, and protection are insufficient.
The problem can be solved if we motivate, educate, and inspire the business world and civil society.
One of the instruments to help this process is The Global Fund to End Slavery. Civil society can also plays a fundamental role in ending human trafficking: we need to educate the consumers to be aware that what they buy can have a relationship with human trafficking and labor slavery. We need to change our behavior.
The center welcomes under-age sex-trafficking victims who come from Mainland China. It offers them a short term care service, individual counseling, small group activities and education on AIDS. They receive a basic education on trafficking in order to make them aware of the danger they are in.
After this experience and seeing and listening to so many stories, I cannot be the same person as before. The words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta which resounded in the beginning and at the end of the symposium challenge me:

“I can do things you cannot. You can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things.”