(Philippines). On 30 July 2022, on the occasion of the World Day Against Human Trafficking, the Laura Vicuña Foundation (LVF), a partnership between the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and lay professionals/collaborators to address the needs and problems of street children, of the Province of St. Mary D. Mazzarello (FIL), organized the awareness campaign “Real talk on human trafficking,” moderated by two young LVF consultants, Jazlyn and Vicky.
About seven hundred participants were connected through a multimedia platform from the ten communities of the LVF for the protection of children.
“Use and abuse of technology” is the theme of the 2022 World Day proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 with the aim of focusing on the role of technology as a tool that can favor or hinder human trafficking.
The globalized use of technology, intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic and the transition to online platforms, has led to the crime of human trafficking in cyberspace as well. Indeed, the Internet and digital platforms offer traffickers additional tools to recruit, exploit, and control victims, organize their transport, reach potential customers with greater speed, in economy and anonymity.
However, the use of technology also offers several opportunities for law enforcement, justice systems, and others who can benefit from it to help, for example by speeding up investigations, improving legal proceedings, and providing support services to the unfortunate.
Activities to prevent and raise awareness on the safe use of the Internet and social media also contribute to reducing the risk of people falling victim to online trafficking.
An LVF social worker presented the characteristics of human trafficking, further described by some testimonies of young people from the LVF communities. In many cases, family financial needs have led children to fall into the trap of trafficking. During the online meeting, the fundamental role of the family environment in the growth, development, and destiny of the children was therefore highlighted.
In her concluding presentation, Sr. Maria Victoria Santa Ana, FMA, Administrative Delegate of the Laura Vicuña Foundation, stressed that it is necessary to strengthen families and communities in order to build together a culture of protection for children and young people.
The Laura Vicuña Foundation supports the collaboration between families and the various educational and social agencies to promote a culture of hope, prevention, and protection of children and young people, inviting families to have an active role in change and to enter the merit of the recovery processes of victims of trafficking.