Human trafficking… a day to be observed all days of the year

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Human trafficking… a day to be observed all days of the year

By Munir Bayouk-en.abouna.org

Since 2013, the United Nations Organizations observed July 30 as the World Day against Human Trafficking, which is a crime and serious violation of human rights.

Press reports give harrowing figures in this regard which indicate that every year thousands of men, women, and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and worldwide. There are even saddening reports that over 40 million people are thought to be in some form of slavery worldwide. Human trafficking is used for sexual exploitation, forced labor, forced begging, forced marriage, the sale of children as child soldiers but also to extract their organs. It is estimated that women constitute 49 per cent of the total victims, and girls 23 per cent, while sexual exploitation is the most common form of exploitation standing at 59 per cent, followed by forced labor at 34 per cent. The majority of victims of trafficking are victims within their countries’ borders. The victims of trafficking abroad are taken to the richest countries.

POPE DENOUNCES HUMAN TRAFFICKING
His Holiness Pope Francis has strongly denounced human trafficking with millions of people are sold as slaves.
The Pope said, "There are entrepreneurs who hire young people for slave labor, or take them. There are consumers who approach girls, who are not free, but are slaves, because when those girls return to their boss' house—we can call him the mafia boss—they must pay him a certain amount every day."

Lamenting that at the root of this crime exists as an egocentric individuality that sees others as merchandise, the Pope said, "Human trafficking constitutes an unjustifiable violation of the freedom and dignity of victims, the constitutive dimension of the human being willed and created by God. It must therefore be considered a crime against humanity.

Pope Francis continued, “Every choice contrary to the realization of God's plan in us is a betrayal of our humanity” and that “it is to take a descending ladder, to go to the lowest, to become animals.

CARDINAL CRZERNY: HUMAN TRAFFICKING INCREASES WITH PANDEMIC
On the other hand, Undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development Cardinal Michael Czerny stated that “Every inhabitant on the planet should open their eyes, open their ears and open their hearts. As long as we keep our eyes closed and our ears closed, and continue to pretend that human trafficking is something that barbarians do on the other side of the world, it's going to continue, and it's going to get worse. Human trafficking is going on in our neighborhoods; it's going on in your own neighborhood. But now with the pandemic, it’s also going on in your living room, because obviously this enormous increase in human trafficking and in online prostitution and so forth much, or nearly all of it, takes place electronically."

WHAT IS THE REACTION OF CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATIONS REGARDING HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
Caritas Internationalis and Christian Organization against Trafficking (COATNET) have released a statement in which they point out that the number of victims of trafficking is increasing because of Covid-19. They also urged governments to intensify efforts to do more to identify victims of trafficking and clamp down on this exploitation. On the other hand, Caritas Internationalis has appealed to governments to pay more attention to the “collateral damages of the global pandemic, especially to migrants and informal workers, who are now more exposed to trafficking.”

SAINT BAKHITA REMEMBERED
For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave but her spirit was always free and eventually that spirit prevailed. She was recently named as a patron saint for victims of human trafficking, a woman from Sudan who herself was a victim of trafficking. In 2000, Pope Francis canonized this remarkable woman.

St. Josephine Bakhita was born in 1869 in Darfur, Sudan. As a child, she was kidnapped while working in the fields with her family and sold into slavery. When her kidnappers asked for her name, she was too scared to tell them, so they called her “Bakhita,” meaning “fortunate” in Arabic.

Bakhita was sold five times before she was purchased by Callisto Legnani, the Italian consul in the capital of Sudan. After a few years, he sent her to Italy to work as a nanny for his college August Michieli. Michieli had Bakhita accompany his daughter to a school run by Canossian sisters in Venice.

There Bakhita learned more about the Church, and was baptized with the name Josephine Margaret. In 1893, Josephine entered the Canossian order. After she made her profession, she went to northern Italy to live in a community and teach others about Lord Jesus' love.

A PRAYER TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING
God of freedom, beauty and truth
we believe that your deepest desire,
your most powerful energy,
is that all creation might know abundant life.
We raise our voices in anguished prayer
for our sisters and brothers,
women and girls, men and boys, who are modern day slaves; they are your beloved daughters and sons,
exploited sexually or forced to work
because of human violence and greed.
Hasten the coming of the day when all people
and our precious Earth itself will be treated, not as a commodity, but as radiant images of your freedom, beauty and truth.

Amen.

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 11:34
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