The following is a declaration that was made by youth at the symposium on “Young People Against Prostitution and Human Trafficking: The Greatest Violence Against Women” at the Vatican in November 15th and the 16th, 2014 in which HAART participated:
We, young people from different countries, have mobilized ourselves to have our voices heard in condemnation of the system that has allowed people to fall into prostitution and any other type of slavery, and we have mobilized ourselves as active defenders of Human Rights, promoters for the protection of fundamental Human Rights and [some] as survivors of Human Trafficking.
The words spoken by the Holy Father Pope Francis during his visit to Rio de Janeiro for the 28th World Youth Day, on 25th of July 2013, have accompanied, guided and touched the hearts of the young people who have taken part in this symposium and who have fought for diverse social and political causes. At World Youth Day the Pope said
“I hope there will be noise. Here there will be noise, I’m quite sure. Here in Rio there will be plenty of noise, no doubt about that. But I want you to make yourselves heard in your diocese, I want us to resist everything globally, everything static, everything comfortable, everything to do with clericalism, everything that might make us closed in on ourselves.”
We, as human beings, are not objects that can be commercialized. We have rights and duties and we want to exercise them on a stage of equal opportunities. We condemn slavery because it brings about crimes against humanity and dignity of human beings.
We are in solidarity with those who have been and are still victims. From here we will begin to send our message to the world, calling all young people together to break the cultural paradigms that condemn people to all kinds of exploitation. We shall not relent, we shall unite and organize ourselves, because we are convinced that by taking into account the task that each young person carries out in his or her country, by renewing our hope through this symposium, which has been a guiding light on our path, by reaffirming our commitment to empower citizens who have become vulnerable, by listening to them and helping them we are convinced that we will be able to keep them from falling prisoner to the network of Prostitution and Human Trafficking.
We, the young people, declare that:
- The State must implement training programs for different types of public employees and must make people who work in both justice and security aware [of these issues].
- The State must protect the Human Rights and must provide all necessary assistance to the victims of Prostitution and Human Trafficking.
- It is fundamental that States provide the economic means to prevent and fight against Prostitution and Human Trafficking in a concrete and effective way.
- The creation of an observatory and/or an alert system is necessary to demonstrate the normalization of violence against women which originates from the over-eroticization of violence and its orientation towards women in the media.
- Education is a means of social and cultural transformation. For this reason creating training campaigns for teachers and professionals is of fundamental importance for giving them the tools to provide young people with an adequate knowledge of sex, because sex covers a wide and complex field, of which they are ignorant. It is this lack of knowledge that provides exploiters with one of their modes of control. Another core objective of education is to make sure that young men do not purchase sex, because this makes these same men part of the objectification of human beings and the merchandizing of their bodies.
- It is of primordial importance to create safe spaces for women who are at risk and to create spaces where they will find adequate support and that these spaces respect the individual progress of every women.
- It is essential to criminalize those who purchase sex and criminalize Human Trafficking in all its forms. Due to acceptance of Human Trafficking, in whatever form it might take, it has become possible for traffickers to exploit human beings. We should not condemn victims, but condemn the chain of exploitation in its entirety.
- We should urge States, Institutions, civil society and all citizens of the world to promise to continue investigating and fighting Human Trafficking.
We, the young, maintain the promise that all men and women of the world are equals and are free, and we maintain that we must join forces to rescue and empower those who have been victims of Trafficking or any other type of slavery and join forces to restore their human rights.
* The statement of the youth is the product of many youths from different parts of the world at the symposium and the opinions shared in the statement are not necessarily the opinions of HAART.