Pope Francis said this during his weekly General Audience today, Feb. 8, marking the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, which coincides with the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita.
Decrying the phenomenon, Francis appealed: “I urge all those in government position to combat this scourge with firmness, giving voice to our younger brothers and sisters whose dignity has been wounded.”
“All efforts must be made to eradicate this shameful and intolerable crime” he said.
Praising the witness of the former Sudanese slave, proclaimed saint, Francis noted, “This enslaved, exploited and humiliated girl in Africa never lost hope.”
Arriving as a migrant in Europe, Francis applauded how she persevered in the faith and welcome the call she felt to become a religious sister.
Francis expressed his appreciation to all those who, in different ways, help children and adolescents who have been enslaved and abused, be freed from this oppression.
The Holy Father also recalled the upcoming ‘25th World Day of the Sick’ in memory of Our Lady of Lourdes, and noted that Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, will preside over the day’s main celebration in Lourdes on Saturday.
Pope Francis concluded, asking for prayers for all sick people, especially those who are in grave condition and are alone, and also for those who care for them. As usual, he greeted young people, the ill, and newlyweds present at the audience.