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Remembering St. Josephine Bakhita, Francis Appeals for Continued Fight Against Trafficking

Recalling World Day Against Trafficking, Stresses ‘All Efforts Must Be Made to Eradicate This Shameful and Intolerable Crime’

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“Let’s pray to Saint Josephine Bakhita for all migrants and refugees who are exploited and suffer so much.”

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.

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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': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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