25 November was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It is shameful that crimes by humans against other humans are, it seems, an inevitable element of the human condition. The use of rape as a weapon of war, or human trafficking as a lucrative trade by organised crime, are all too prevalent in our 21st century world. If we believe in human dignity, it is our duty to confront and end such crimes.
The UK will make this a major theme of its 2013 G8 Presidency. William Hague said on 25 November that “civil society, communities and international organisations” need to work together to prevent sexual violence in conflict. British International Development Minister Alan Duncan took the opportunity of a visit to Rome on 19 November to raise the issue and discuss with Holy See officials how we might work together to prevent sexual violence.
We are also supporting efforts to tackle human trafficking, “modern day slavery”. Look out for our guest blog later this week by Sister Eugenia Bonetti, one of the most indefatigable opponents of this evil trade, who has worked alongside British parliamentarians, officials, the Catholic Church of England and Wales, and the Metropolitan Police to try to improve the way we respond in Britain, Italy and elsewhere. It is worth remembering that when it comes to human trafficking for prostitution, we are all complicit – this is a crime that takes place under our very noses.