“Human trafficking is a multibillion dollar industry, among the world’s largest, with an estimated 21 to 46 million people, victims of forced labour, debt-bondage, sex and other forms of trafficking. Slavery must not be an unavoidable aspect of economies”. Fr. Michael Czerny, Undersecretary of the Migrant and Refugee Section of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said this as he took the floor in Vienna today at the Fifth Thematic Session on the Global Compact “for safe, orderly and regular migration”. The topic of the Session was “Smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery”. “The number of smuggled and trafficked migrants keeps on increasing alarmingly”, Fr. Czerny remarked. According to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons”, “51% of the victims are women, 21% are men, 20% girls and 8% boys”. The Holy See stresses the “importance of ensuring adequate legal frameworks and reliable pathways to prevent migrants from becoming victims of human trafficking”. The Holy See thus calls for investigations to be “coordinated at national, regional and international levels” by sharing “data and key information”, assuring “legal protection for victims”, and bringing perpetrators to justice. Protecting “human dignity, the training of public officers, and establishing national policies to guarantee foreigners access to justice” are also “very important”, the undersecretary stressed. “Assistance to victims must be guaranteed in receiving countries – he said -, and the principle of ‘non-refoulement’ has to be applied to victims of trafficking, assuring them psychological counselling and other support and rehabilitation. Victims should be allowed to stay regularly in the country as long as they need healing therapy and eventually have their stay extended with the opportunity to work”. The Global Compact will be a success – Fr. Czerny concluded – if “tomorrow’s migratory movements are no longer inevitably marked by human smuggling” as they are today. “For irregular migration is not freely chosen but rather forced on people because legal and secure channels are simply not accessible”.