Pope Francis calls for the courage of patient construction to build a better society in his message for the International Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking.
Dear sisters and brothers! I address all of you who work against human trafficking and who are spiritually united today on this World Day of Prayer, which also has a specific intention: an “An Economy without Human Trafficking”. I am pleased to know that this year several moments of prayer are interfaith, one of which will also take place in Asia.
I extend my message to all people of good will who pray, engage, study and reflect on the fight against human trafficking; and especially to those – like Saint Josephine Bakhita, whom we celebrate today – who have experienced the tragedy of human trafficking in their own lives. This day is important because it helps us all to remember this tragedy, and encourages us not to stop praying and fighting together. May reflection and awareness always be accompanied by concrete gestures, which also open up paths to social emancipation. Indeed, the aim is for every enslaved person to return to being a free agent of his or her own life and to take an active part in the construction of the common good.
Dear friends, this is a Day of Prayer. Yes, there is a need to pray to support the victims of trafficking and those who accompany the processes of integration and social reintegration. We need to pray that we may learn to approach with humanity and courage those who have been marked by so much pain and despair, keeping hope alive. Prayer enables us to be beacons, capable of discerning and making choices oriented towards good. Prayer touches the heart and impels us to concrete actions, to innovative, courageous actions, able to take risks trusting in the power of God (cf. Mk 11:22-24).
The liturgical memorial of Saint Josephine Bakhita is a powerful reminder of this dimension of faith and prayer: her witness always resonates, alive and relevant! And it is a call to place trafficked persons, their families, their communities at the centre. They are the centre of our prayer. Saint Josephine Bakhita reminds us that they are the protagonists of this day, and that we are all at their service (cf. Lk 17:10).
And now I would like to share with you some ideas for reflection and action on the theme you have chosen: “An Economy without Human Trafficking”. You can find other ideas in the message I addressed to the participants in the “Economy of Francesco” event on 21 November.
An economy without human trafficking is:
Dear brothers and sisters, let us put all this in our prayer, especially today, by the intercession of Saint Josephine Bakhita. I pray for you, and let us all pray together for every person who is a victim of human trafficking at this moment. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Thank you!