2022 Assembly


What Does Earth Day Have To Do With Human Trafficking?


by Maryann Mueller for US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, April 2020.

On April 22 people around the world will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day to demonstrate their support for protecting our environment.  But what does protecting our environment have to do with human trafficking? 

According to the Office of United States Foreign Disaster Assistance, the total environmental disasters reported each year has been steadily increasing in recent decades, from 78 in 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, to 409 in 2019.1  The United Nations Environment program asserts that human trafficking increases by twenty to thirty percent as people are displaced during natural disasters.2

Human trafficking is always an exploitation of vulnerability and those displaced in an instant due to a storm, tsunami, flood etc. are among the most vulnerable populations.  The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) warns of significant increases for human trafficking especially among women and children as families are separated and displaced during natural disasters.3   

Meanwhile, the United States Government Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons finds that labor trafficking and the exploitation of natural resources appears “even more likely when the yield is obtained or produced in illegal, unregulated, or environmentally harmful ways and in areas where monitoring and legal enforcement are weak.”4

Full Reflection :