“One of the most troubling of the world’s open wounds is the trade in human beings, a modern form of slavery, which violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters and constitutes a true crime against humanity”
Pope Francis stressed this today when receiving in audience the participants of Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation (RENATE).The group is in Rome, Nov. 6-12, for their 2nd European Assembly with the theme “Ending Trafficking Begins with Us.”
Right away the Holy Father acknowledged that while much has been accomplished in realizing the gravity and extent of this problem, “much more needs to be done on the level of raising public consciousness and effecting a better coordination of efforts by governments, the judiciary, law enforcement officials and social workers.”
“As you well know,” the Pontiff continued, “one of the challenges to this work of advocacy, education and coordination is a certain indifference and even complicity, a tendency on the part of many to look the other way, where powerful economic interests and networks of crime are at play.”
For this reason, I express my appreciation of your efforts to raise public awareness of the extent of this scourge, which especially affects women and children. But in a very special way, I thank you for your faithful witness to the Gospel of mercy, as demonstrated in your commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims”.
“Your activity in this area reminds us of ‘the enormous and often silent efforts which have been made for many years by religious congregations, especially women’s congregations’, to care for those wounded in their dignity and scarred by their experiences.”
The Pontiff also recalled all the women who have accompanied other women and children on a deeply personal journey of healing and reintegration.
“Dear friends,” he said, “I trust that your sharing of experiences, knowledge and expertise in these days will contribute to a more effective witness to the Gospel in one of the great peripheries of contemporary society. Commending you, and all those whom you serve, to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, I cordially impart my blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord.”
Pope Francis concluded, commending them to Mary’s intercession, imparting his blessing, and asking them to pray for him.
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