Human Traffic Watch

St. Patrick knew all about human trafficking

In Child Labor, Forced Labor on March 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Green beer sales mark the globalized celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and for many who are only Irish once a year little more is thought of.   But it may be time for St. Patrick’s Day to become an occasion of global awareness for something more than the taste of Guinness, namely the problem of human trafficking.

Patrick was only 16 when he was seized by human traffickers.  Removed from his family and home in Roman Britain, he was transported across the Irish Sea to the foreign surroundings of Dalriada  in what is now Northern Ireland.  The traffickers sold Patrick to a local warlord who exploited the young Briton for six years of forced labor.

Patrick escaped and fled Ireland, yet his conversion to Christianity while a slave gave him a mission to return to minister to his former captors.  From that point Patrick’s ministry in Ireland became so significant that his identity and the country’s are difficult to separate.   Yet it is easily forgotten that Patrick’s early experience of his adopted country was as a victim of human trafficking.

Today when people think of slavery they rarely think of a modern problem, but rather something belonging to earlier centuries. But in the transnational world that is ‘flattened’ modern slavery can take many different forms than those associated with plantations or estates in the Caribbean or American South.

Source: National Post

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