Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC)

Pretoria

1 February 2006

 

The Trafficking in Women and Children.

The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference

The Southern 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.