We all have to do our part to stop this modern-day crime
We see them every day on the news and in the papers. We call them economic migrants, refugees, undocumented immigrants, illegal aliens, displaced people, unaccompanied minors, caravans, or many other things, often forgetting the most basic description: human beings.
There are millions of these men and women, fleeing their homelands each day due to war, hunger, political persecution, religious persecution, or situations of extreme poverty, facing countless forms of abuse. What we don’t see are the many criminal organizations that profit from this phenomenon by enslaving men, women, and children for the purposes of manual labor, sex work, organ trafficking, or forced participation in begging or crime.
In the February edition of The Pope Video, Francis reminds us that slavery “is not something of other times,” and that “no one can wash their hands of it without being, in some way, an accomplice to this crime against humanity.”
In collaboration with Talitha Kum, the worldwide network of institutes of consecrated life committed to fighting human trafficking, the “Migrants and Refugees” Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Jesuit Refugee Service, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Apostleship of the Sea, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is joining in the world day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking, with the hashtag #TogetherAgainstHumanTrafficking.
Commemorating February 8, the day when Saint Josephine Bakhita died, Francis invites us to pray “for a generous welcome of the victims of human trafficking, of enforced prostitution, and of violence.”
For his part, Fr. Frédérick Fornos, SJ, international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, said:
Faced with this human tragedy—faced with so much suffering, defenselessness, and anguish of men, women, and children who are victims of human trafficking and of slavery, often in the context of migration—what can we do? Denounce our complicity, but also pray. Cry out in prayer from the heart, the kind of prayer echoed in the psalms.”
Fr. Fornos also mentioned that a few days ago the “Migrants and Refugees” Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development presented two important documents for fighting against all forms of human trafficking. “These are not theoretical discourses,” he added. “These documents are a powerful call to change society, and they propose concrete actions for the entire Church. Pope Francis is strongly committed to the fight against this scourge in its various manifestations.”
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