Speaking on the eve of the Day of Prayer and Awareness Raising against Human Trafficking, the Pope urged civil society and institutions to take concrete action to protect the victims and eliminate this terrible scourge that affects so many forced migrants and refugees.
Pope Francis has appealed for concerted action against human trafficking as we prepare to mark the Day of Prayer and Awareness against this terrible scourge.
“I invite everyone, citizens and institutions, to join forces to prevent the slave trade and to guarantee protection and assistance for the victims” he said during the weekly General Audience in the Vatican.
He reminded those present that 8 Febuary is the Feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, an occasion to join in prayer and action against the trade of human beings.
Remarking on the 2018 theme of the Day of Prayer and Awareness – “Migration without trafficking. Say yes to Freedom and No to slavery” – the Pope noted that many migrants are forced to choose illegal channels of migration where they are submitted to “abuse of every kind, exploitation and slavery.”
He noted that criminal organizations that engage in the trafficking of persons make use of migratory routes to hide their victims among the migrants and refugees.
Francis also asked for prayers so that “the Lord may convert the hearts of traffickers and give hope to those who suffer because of this shameful scourge so they may regain their freedom”.
8 February is the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese nun, who as a child had the traumatic experience of being a victim of human trafficking.
Religious institutes and faith-based organizations across the world organize events and prayer services on her feast day to mark the occasion and raise awareness against human trafficking.
Official website for the Santa Marta Group
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
TRAC (Trafficking Awareness-Raising and Campaigning)