Online child exploitation and the threat it poses to children’s safety have become increasingly prevalent due to the widespread use of the Internet and mobile technology. In response, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging members of Congress to take action to protect children and the vulnerable from the harms of online exploitation.

Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, emphasized the importance of collective action in addressing the underlying conditions that lead to human trafficking. As the Catholic Church prepares to observe the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking on February 8, Bishop Seitz stressed the need for unity in preventing this modern-day slavery.

“It is incumbent upon all of us to unite in promoting efforts that prevent the evil of human trafficking,” Bishop Seitz said, echoing Pope Francis’s call to uphold human dignity. He emphasized the role of governments in addressing the conditions that contribute to trafficking, underscoring the USCCB’s commitment to collaborating with the government and civil society to combat human trafficking effectively.

The USCCB’s Committee on Migration has actively supported legislation and policies aimed at enhancing protections for trafficking victims and addressing its root causes. They have urged Congress to pass the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2023, allocating $241 million annually from 2024-2028 to support anti-trafficking measures and victim assistance.

Online child exploitation and human trafficking are grave issues that require immediate attention and concerted efforts from society as a whole. The USCCB’s advocacy underscores the importance of safeguarding the vulnerable and upholding the dignity of every individual.

Visit the USCCB “Urge Congress to Protect Children Online” Action Center here.

Pray for an end to online child exploitation!


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