Friday, September 14, 2012

California Bishops support Proposition 35, the Human Trafficking Initiative

Bishop Gerald
By Bishop Gerald Wilkerson

The following statement was issued by the Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, auxiliary bishop for the San Fernando Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and president of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops.

Human trafficking, which involves the enslaving of individuals in order to use them for financial gain, is an intolerable affront to human dignity. 

As Catholics, we are called to listen to the wisdom of Pope Paul VI in the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes:

"... [W]hatever is opposed to life itself ... whatever violates the integrity of the human person ... whatever insults humanity — such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution ... all these things ... poison human society ... Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator."

As president of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops, I speak for my brother bishops when I call upon all people of good will to support those who are working to eradicate this violent and oppressive practice — especially our Catholic women religious, who besides their advocacy for the elimination of trafficking, have provided healthcare and social services for those rescued from their enslavers.

"In particular, this November, we are supporting a ballot measure — Proposition 35, Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act — which will both increase criminal penalties for human trafficking and direct fines to enhanced victim services and law enforcement. 

"We ask that you also prayerfully consider supporting Proposition 35.

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