Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Holy See And The Fight Against Human Trafficking: The Gender Perspective

On February 23, 2017, the US branch of the Vatican Foundation Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice and Fordham University co-sponsored the inaugural lecture of the Cassamarca Foundation Chair in Migration and Globalization, titled: “The Holy See and the Fight Against Human Trafficking.” The conference examined the realities of human trafficking today, what is being done, and what opportunities there are going forward. 

Attendees of the Human Trafficking Conference

The Gendered Nature of Human Trafficking

Fordham’s “Consultation on Human Trafficking” convened local and international experts to discuss the root causes and challenges of modern slavery. And while the panelists discussed different push factors – poverty, conflict, and forced migration – many highlighted the overarching role that gender plays in the human trafficking system.

“79% of people who are trafficked are women,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Inaugural Holder of the Casamarca Foundation Chair in Migration and Globalization, and the conference’s keynote speaker. “And while that percentage is decreasing, the number of women who are being trafficked in real terms is increasing.”

The human trafficking panel

So why are women so vulnerable to human trafficking?

“Human Trafficking takes advantage of global indifference and an economy of exclusion” said the Archbishop. Women still constitute 70% of the world’s poor, and have unequal access to labor markets and economic resources. Human traffickers prey on women and girls who have fewer routes to economic independence, and who are willing to leave their homes to pursue financial opportunities. Convinced that there is a job waiting for them abroad, women find themselves trapped in sexual exploitation or domestic slavery.  

Human trafficking also affects young women in the United States, particularly the homeless and those formerly in the foster system.

Jayne Bigelsen, Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives at Covenant House in New York, estimated that 15-25% of her clients have been trafficked. Most of them are young women with few mentors or family connections, and are trafficked by pimps who act as their boyfriend.  The pimp provides emotional, financial, and housing stability, and then forces the woman into human trafficking.

“At first, many of our clients will say that they chose that life freely.  But six months after they’ve gotten away from their pimps, they will say they didn’t really have a choice, that they had to do it if they wanted a place to sleep.”

Panelists also discussed human trafficking as a secondary trauma: “Many of the girls who are trafficked have been sexually abused at home.” said one panelist. “… We see that incest shatters the soul, and makes girls feel an incredible amount of shame.  If I feel that I am worthless, what would keep me from making these decisions (to follow pimps)?”


Given the gendered nature of human trafficking, panelists called for solutions that take women’s unique vulnerability into account. Solutions included training law enforcement officers to recognize when women were being trafficked, and better coordination across government and NGO agencies. Ms. Bigelson said the best way to combat human trafficking was to be a good mentor and a good foster parent to young women.

IPED students at the Human Trafficking Conference

 

Written by: Sydney Kornegay

Sydney is a first-year student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

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The Holy See And The Fight Against Human Trafficking: Falling Prey

On February 23, 2017, the US branch of the Vatican Foundation Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice and Fordham University co-sponsored the inaugural lecture of the Cassamarca Foundation Chair in Migration and Globalization, titled: “The Holy See and the Fight Against Human Trafficking.” The conference examined the realities of human trafficking today, what is being done, and what opportunities there are going forward. 

The audience listening to Archbishop Auza’s lecture

Falling Prey: Human traffickers set their sights on refugees

In 2015, nearly 250 million people moved across international borders. Of these, over 60 million people moved as a result of war (i.e. forced migration), and many of these asylum seekers are being targeted by traffickers.

“Human Trafficking has found an advantageous environment in which to work. Refugees are willing to take any risk. They are vulnerable.” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Pope Francis’ Representative to the United Nations.

On February 23rd, Fordham University’s graduate program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED) hosted a Consultation on Human Trafficking at which Archbishop Auza served as the event’s keynote speaker. “How many persons are victims of human trafficking?” he asks. “The honest answer is that the number is staggering, and nobody really knows!”

Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the
United Nations

Although there can be no definite numbers, the Archbishop shared estimates from a well-cited 2012 study by the International Labour Organization (ILO) that there are “about 21 million men, women and children who are trafficked, sold, coerced or subjected to conditions of slavery in various forms and in various sectors.” These figures continue to grow, especially in recent years, and as millions of refugees flee their homes, human traffickers are capitalizing on the opportunity.

“The flood of trafficking victims has multiple tributaries”, said Archbishop Auza, who shared that Pope Francis identifies four different causes to be economic, environmental, political, and ethical.

The Archbishop then offered two brief points for reflection: “First, the importance of a faith actively manifested in deeds. Pope Francis wants those who are religious to find in their faith the deepest motivation for leadership and involvement in this fight.”

“Second, deeds sustained by the hope that, together, we shall overcome.” As an example of overcoming such a colossal crime against human dignity, Archbishop Auza made reference to the historical politician and philanthropist, William Wilberforce, who was a leader of the movement to eradicate the slave trade in Britain.

“It took William Wilberforce only 20 years to end the British slave trade and only 30 more to abolish the slave trade across the globe, at a time when slavery was as accepted as natural as birth, marriage and death.”

Human trafficking must never be accepted. It is “a crime that’s occurring in our own backyards, it’s under our noses, and we cannot ignore it” said Archbishop Auza. He then went on to quote Pope Francis: “We must raise awareness of this new evil which, in the world at large, wants to be hidden since it is scandalous and ‘politically incorrect’.”

The Archbishop then concluded his remarks by exhorting the audience: “Let us bring that Wilberforce in each of us to bear in our fight against human trafficking and others forms of modern slavery.”

A written summary of the presentations and discussions from the Consultation on Human Trafficking will be sent to Rome as input for an international conference on human trafficking, to be held at the Vatican on May 18-20. For a full transcript of Archbishop Bernardito Auza’s speech at Fordham University, click here.

 

Written by: Owen Fitzgerald

Owen is a first-year student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

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2017 Council on Foreign Relations Career Trip

On Friday, March 3, the IPED students had their final career trip of the year to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York City. The students visited the think tank and were able to meet and hear from Gordon M. Goldstein. Mr. Goldstein spent his time telling us his story and discussing cyber/internet security opportunities and challenges.

IPED at the CFR with Dr. Schwalbenberg

He has previously worked with the United States Mission to the United Nations at the World Conference for International Telecommunications (WCIT) in 2012 and is currently working on crises in cyber security. Mr. Goldstein said that the internet is too powerful a tool to allow market forces to work on it freely, necessitating a national policy.

At the Council round table

Gorgeous interior of the CFR

Mr. Goldstein closed with some advice to the IPED students in their search for a job. He explained that the students should have fifty conversations with fifty new people and to get contacts for three more people from each of them. In this way, the students can grow their knowledge base through the experience of others and their network, which is of the utmost importance. Along with this advice he stressed that students should not be afraid to make cold calls, because people genuinely want to help and will respond to sincere interest.

IPED pictured with Mr. Gordon Goldstein (center).

The IPED students ended their day with some pictures at the Council’s headquarters.

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2017 Finance Career Trip

On Friday, Februrary 24, students from the IPED Class of 2018 attended the annual Finance Career Trip in New York City.

IPEDers Moses Cam, Robyn Emory, Carlos Baeta, Jessica Way, and Owen Fitzgerald at U.S. Trust

The students began their day at U.S. Trust and spoke with Joseph Quinlan (IPED Class of ’84) from Bank of America. Mr. Quinlan works in the research division as a Chief Market Strategist and shared his thoughts on the current global outlook, his experiences, and his advice (“READ!). He said of the IPED program, “IPED taught me how to think on multiple dimensions.”

IPED students listen as Mr. Quinlan speaks about his work with Bank of America

IPED Class of 2018 with Joseph Quinlan (Center) and Dr. Schwalbenberg.

After speaking with Mr. Quinlan, IPED visited the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA), one of many societies around the world that comprise the CFA Institute. Once there, the students were greeted by Mario Carias, who serves on the Board of Directors. The students were educated in what NYSSA does, how to become a certified charted financial analyst (CFA), and ways to become involved with NYSSA.

Mario Carias speaks to the IPEDers concerning NYSSA

Mr. Carias pictured with IPED ’18

Next, after a quick lunch, IPED ended their day with a visit to Ernst and Young (EY) where they met with Christina Innocentzi to discuss EY’s mission, the work they do, and job opportunities.

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2017 Swanstrom-Baerwald Award Ceremony

From the left: Dr. Schwalbenberg, the Permanent Observer to the Holy See Mission to the United Nations Archbishop Auza, Ms. Elizabeth Pfifer, President of Fordham University Father McShane, and Vice President of Catholic Relief Services David Palasits.

On March 8th, Fordham IPED had the honor of hosting the Swanstrom-Baerwald Award Ceremony on Rose Hill Campus. In conjunction with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Fordham awarded Elizabeth “Liz” Pfifer the prestigious award in honor of her selfless dedication to her relief and development work throughout Africa. For a full synopsis of the ceremony and Ms. Pfifer’s accomplishments, please follow this link to the Fordham News article covering the event.

The full auditorium there to celebrate Ms. Pfifer’s accomplishments

The award on the table during Father McShane’s speech praising the work Ms. Pfifer has done

Dr. Schwalbenberg introducing the award and our distinguished awardee.

IPED in attendance

Later in the evening there were two more awards presented to Mr. Osvaldo Hernandez and Ms. Lois Harr. Mr. Hernandez was awarded the Cardinal McCarrick Fellowship Travel Award, honoring the Cardinal’s work with CRS on behalf of peace and development. The fellowship will enable Mr. Hernandez to visit Fordham IPED graduate students completing field assignments with CRS in Africa so that he can experience first-hand the official international humanitarian work of the American Catholic community.

Mr. Hernandez receiving the Cardinal McCarrick Travel Fellowship Award

Ms. Harr was presented the John F. Hurley S.J. Commendation, honoring her work promoting the CRS in the United States. Please follow this link to an article covering the award and Ms. Harr’s work.

Ms. Lois Carr receiving her award, the John F. Hurley S.J. Commendation

Of course, it was an IPED event and we found time to have some fun, too.

Kelsey Garcia, IPED ’18 holding the flags of the UN, USA, and Morocco, her country of service in the Peace Corps.

Some of the IPEDers involved in a case of gender imbalance, upon request of Queen Viktoria Brezheniuk (center)

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