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Vatican backs women religious against human trafficking in view of Brazil World Cup

(Vatican Radio) "Play in favour of Life - Denounce Human Trafficking" is the logo of an anti-trafficking campaign launched to accompany the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil. An event that should be a celebration of sports and culture, but could turn out to be a terrible shame and an affront to human dignity.

In the words of Sr Carmen Sammut Msola, President of the International Union of Superiors General, there needs to be an awareness of “what happens on the margins of big world events such As the Fifa World Cup and the suffering of those who are trafficked”.

The Vatican agrees that the World Cup in Brazil this summer represents a heightened opportunity for those who traffic in human beings, and it has given its full backing to Talitha Kum’s campaign to combat this terrible scourge, together with other organizations such as the American Embassy’s to the Holy See.

Present at a press conference in the Vatican on Tuesday, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, quoted Pope Francis when he condemned human trafficking, calling it a “crime against humanity, a scourge and an open wound in contemporary society”.

Cardinal Braz de Aviz lent his full support to Talitha Kum, the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons that has just launched the new campaign especially directed at upcoming World Cup activities in Brazil.

Speaking to Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni, Sr Carmen Sammut said human trafficking is a much more widespread and capillary crime than most of us imagine…

Listen to the interview… RealAudioMP3

The press conference was an occasion to announce the "Play in Favour of Life - Denounce Human Trafficking" campaign on the risks the sisters say will be associated with the tournament which will take place in 12 Brazilian cities from June 12 to July 13.

Statistics show that sexual exploitation rose 30% in connection with the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and 40% at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

The sisters and consecrated laypeople will be using the social media to raise awareness of the dangers of human trafficking and other crimes connected to the World Cup through their blog: and their Facebook page.

Volunteers will be handing out leaflets in cities in Brazil and other Latin American countries, warning of human trafficking and how to spot it. Several demonstrations are also planned.