Sea Sunday Message Launches Appeal for Resources to Fight Trafficking, Exploitation

Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants, Itinerant Peoples Thanks World’s 1.2 Million Seafarers 

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More resources are needed to combat human trafficking and exploitation. The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples published its message for Sea Sunday, July 12, and this affirmation was at its heart.

In the message, signed by the dicastery’s president, Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, and its secretary, Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, the following call was made: «While we appeal to the governments in Europe, the countries of origin of migration flows, and international organizations to cooperate in searching for a durable and definitive political solution to instability in those countries, we would also like to call for more resources to be committed not only for search and rescue missions but also to prevent the trafficking and exploitation of persons escaping from conditions of conflict and poverty.”

The global economy, the Sea Sunday message stressed, relies on the maritime industry’s some 1.2 million seafarers who are at sea and in the oceans facing natures severe forces.

«As ports are built far away from the cities, and because of the fast turnaround in loading and unloading cargo, the crews sailing the ships are like ‘invisible’ people,» it also underscored, lamenting that, «As individuals we do not acknowledge the importance and the benefits that the maritime profession brings to our life and we become aware of their work and sacrifices only when disasters strike.»

«In the present day, with war, violence and political instability in several countries,» it also noted, «a new phenomenon has been affecting the shipping industry. Since last year, alongside the coast guards and the naval forces of Italy, Malta and European Union, the merchant vessels transiting in the Mediterranean Sea have been actively involved in the by-now daily task of rescuing thousands and thousands of migrants trying to reach the coasts of Italy in all kinds of overcrowded and substandard crafts.»

The message’s text expressed the appreciation of the Church for seafarers for their «fundamental contribution» to the international trade, especially for this year’s «great humanitarian effort made by the crews of merchant vessels that without hesitation, sometimes risking their own life, have engaged in many rescue operations saving thousands of migrants lives.»

It also thanked the Apostleship of the Sea’s chaplains and volunteers for their daily commitment in serving the people of the sea, noting their presence in the docks «is the sign of the Church in their midst» and «shows the compassionate and merciful face of Christ.»


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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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