Migrant workers collecting tomatoes in Reggio Calabria, Italy Migrant workers collecting tomatoes in Reggio Calabria, Italy 

Call for greater protection for migrants and refugees

In its latest e-bulletin, the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development says that despite anti-slavery legislation, migrant workers continue to be exploited. It also highlights the many projects that Catholic organisations carry out in different parts of the world to give them dignity.

By Vatican News staff reporter

The Migrants and Refugees section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is calling for all migrant workers to have rights as workers, regardless of their immigration status.

That’s the message in its latest July e-bulletin, which also says that critical gaps remain for the provision of protection for the vulnerable and for the apprehension of perpetrators.

The bulletin notes that “despite the presence of anti-slavery legislation in several countries, migrant workers are victims of exploitative employers and intermediaries such as recruitment agencies and gangmasters.”

It also highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic “placed those already at high risk of exploitation even deeper in harm’s way.”

Catholic actors at the forefront

The bulletin points out that from the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has put human trafficking at the centre of his Magisterium. It also highlights that the Holy See, as well as Catholic humanitarian agencies are bringing this issue to the fore.

On the occasion of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking 2022, Caritas Internationalis invited all its members to engage in the fight against this crime.

It also urged governments “to strengthen protective and supportive services for victims and to establish national anti-trafficking plans.”

The migrants and refugees section notes the Pope himself, while addressing the Santa Marta Group International Conference in May 2022, emphasised, “the essential need to support, accompany, and reintegrate the victims of human trafficking into our communities and assist them in the process of healing and the recovery of their self-esteem.”

The bulletin highlights that among the agencies united against the scourge of human trafficking is the Mission for Migrant Workers based in Hong Kong which offers assistance to more than 380,000 foreign domestic workers.

Nuns from across Zambia are also advocating against human trafficking, hosting radio talk shows and panel discussions, as well as press conferences, to end the silence around the structures and situations that perpetuate and sustain this crime.

The Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network (ACAN) is another organization that supports Catholic entities to identify and manage modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains.


There are many people who are bravely sharing their stories of being trafficked and who have been victims of exploitative employers.

In its e-Bulletin, the Missionary Society of St Columban reported the story of an Indonesian fisherman named Ascuri. Ascuri was physically and verbally abused while working up to twenty hours a day in the open sea.  

He then found out that all his salary was given to his employment agency to pay for the costs of finding him a job and to cover the expenses of food and board on the fishing vessel. 

Fortunately, he was referred to the Hsinchu Catholic Diocese Migrants and Immigrants Service Centre for help.

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12 July 2022, 13:10