Religion and Human Trafficking

CUA Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-8

Caritas in Veritate Foundation, Blueprint Series, 2015

11 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2015

See all articles by Mary Graw Leary

Mary Graw Leary

Catholic University of America (CUA)


Human trafficking is a global form of victimization which transcends all geographical boundaries. It is also a form of objectification that strikes at core values of human dignity, protection for the vulnerable, and accountability for the exploiter. As such, it is a form of victimization that demands both a global solution and grassroots actors.

Religions throughout the world stand in a uniquely advantageous position to aid in the fight against trafficking. As global institutions, their reach is broad. As grassroots organizations, their influence runs deep. As moral voices of the community, their impact can be profound.

This piece examines the role organized religion can play in the anti-human trafficking movement. Following the framework of the four component parts of the movement: partnership, protection, prosecutions, and prevention, this article discusses the space religions can occupy within that framework. Additionally, the piece also overlays onto that framework the direction proposed by Pope Francis, which further advances the significant contribution religion can make in the fight against trafficking. Therefore, the piece acts as a platform from which to explore how to capture the strength of religions and utilize them to prevent and respond to human trafficking.

Suggested Citation

Graw Leary, Mary, Religion and Human Trafficking. CUA Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-8, Caritas in Veritate Foundation, Blueprint Series, 2015, Available at SSRN:

Mary Graw Leary (Contact Author)

Catholic University of America (CUA) ( email )

116 McMahon Hall
Washington, DC 20064
United States

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