SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Human trafficking is closer to home than one might think and efforts to stop the problem will take more than the work of law enforcement. Those were just two of the messages from speakers at a June 17 conference focused on modern day slavery.
More than 275 people from the tri-state area attended the conference organized by the Diocesan Peace and Justice Commission in conjunction with the Diocese of Sioux City, Briar Cliff University and Mercy Advocacy Center.
“They prey upon the weak and the poor ...”
— Bishop Walker Nickless, on human trafficking
Chair of the diocesan commission, Rosemary Paulsen, opened the conference with some stats on human trafficking.
“It is a $32 billion per year industry and it is tied with drugs for the most profitable criminal endeavor. Twenty-five million men, women and children are victims of this worldwide and each year only 40,000 victims are identified, according to the Des Moines Register,” said Paulsen, who also said it was linked with child pornography.
Bishop Walker Nickless, who attended the conference, offered prayer and brief comments to begin the conference.
“This is an important issue today as many of you know – that’s why you are here,” the bishop said. “These crimes attack fundamental human rights and our human dignity as made in the image of God. They prey upon the weak and the poor, which is corrosive to solidarity and the rule of law.”