International News

Pope asks people to work together to end human trafficking

Thursday 8 February 2018

Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service (Photo: Remo Casilli)

Pope Francis called for prayers to end the ‘shameful scourge’ of human trafficking.

Highlighting the 8 February World Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, the pope noted this year's theme was dedicated to ending the trafficking of migrants.

‘Having few possible legal channels, many migrants decide to risk other avenues, where often there awaits abuse of every kind, exploitation and slavery,’ the pope said on 7 February at the end of his weekly general audience.

Criminal organisations specialised in trafficking people take advantage of migratory flows ‘to hide their victims among migrants and refugees,’ he added.

In an appeal, the pope invited everyone to ‘join forces to prevent trafficking and guarantee protection and assistance to victims.’

‘Let us all pray that the Lord would convert the hearts of traffickers — an ugly word, traffickers of people — and may give those suffering because of this shameful scourge the hope to regain freedom,’ he added.

The world day of prayer falls each year on 8 February, the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she became a Canossian nun and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.

To mark this important day, the Office for Justice and Peace, the Archdiocesan Office for Youth, the South Sudan Catholic Community, ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against the Trafficking of Humans) and the Melbourne Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office invite you to attend St Patrick’s Cathedral tonight as a means of fulfilling Pope Francis’ desire to end the scourge of modern day slavery. The gathering will commence with the regular Holy Hour held in St Pat’s each Thursday evening at 6.30pm, followed by Mass at 7.30pm, celebrated by the Episcopal Vicar for Social Services and Justice, Fr Joe Caddy. All welcome.
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