Open our eyes and hear the cry of Human TraffickingSunday 17th June 2018
Pope Francis has appealed to Catholics in England and Wales to ‘open (their) eyes’ and ‘hear (the) cry’ of human trafficking victims.
In time for today’s ‘Day for Life’, Pope Francis sent a special message to Catholics in England and Wales asking them to break the chains of captivity of those who have been trafficked and to “bring comfort to those who have survived such inhumanity.”
Day for Life is the day in the Church’s year dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. This year’s Day for Life aims to raise awareness of the vile crime of human trafficking.
In his latest Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis calls on all Catholics to see the holiness in others by recognising their dignity. He asks us all to “respond with faith and charity, and see in this person a human being with dignity” (Gaudete et Exsultate 98).
In the UK alone, it is estimated that every year there are over 13,000 victims of trafficking. Day for Life asks for your prayers and donations in supporting those that work to restore their lives to the full.
Find out more at www.dayforlife.org
If you see something that looks suspicious you can take action by reporting it to the local police or Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. Some of the signs to look out for are:
- Fearful of police/ authorities
- Show signs of physical and psychological abuse
- Anxious about telling others of their situation
- Have limited freedom of movement
- Look malnourished and unkempt
- Be unpaid or paid very little
- Limited access to medical care
- Seem to be in debt to someone
- Have no passport of mention that some is holding their passport
Locally action is taken by Caritas Anti-Trafficking project which was inspired by an initiative in the parish of Our Lady of the Valley which works with East Lancashire Police in raising awareness on the issue.
The project also links more widely with Greater Manchester Police, the Medaille Trust and the Santa Marta Group in Westminster.
The Santa Marta Group is a global alliance of international police chiefs, bishops and religious communities working in partnership with civil society to eliminate human trafficking and modern slavery. It is named after the house where Pope Francis lives and where the founder members stayed in 2014 prior to signing, in the presence of the Holy Father, an historic declaration of commitment. The Group now has members in over 30 countries.
Invoking the intercession of the Patron Saint of victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, St Josephine Bakhita, Pope Francis has sent his Apostolic Blessing to those marking Day for Life. The Holy Father prays “that God might free all those who have been threatened, wounded or mistreated by the trade and trafficking of human beings and bring comfort to those who have survived such inhumanity.”
The papal message and blessing was sent by the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, His Excellency Archbishop Edward Adams, to Bishop John Sherrington, Bishop for Day for Life on the instructions of the Secretariat of State of His Holiness Pope Francis.
“Dear Bishop Sherrington,
The Secretariat of State of His Holiness has asked me to reply to your letter of 23 April 2018, in the matter of the Day for Life, to be held in Scotland on 31 May, and in England and Wales on 17 June.
Informed by these observances, Pope Francis invokes the intercession of St Josephine Bakhita, the patron of the victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, praying that she might intercede on their behalf with the God of Mercy so that the chains of their captivity will be broken. He prays that God might free all those who have been threatened, wounded or mistreated by the trade and trafficking of human beings and bring comfort to those who have survived such inhumanity.
The Holy Father appeals to us all: that we may open our eyes and be able to see the misery of those so deprived of their dignity and their freedom, and hear their cry for help. In giving assurance of his prayers, His Holiness imparts to the organizers and participants of the Day for Life his Apostolic Blessing.
Greeting Your Excellency respectfully, I remain, in Our Lord
Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio”