Pope Francis says "Trafficking in persons is violence! The violence suffered by every woman and every child is an open wound in the body of Christ..." FULL TEXT + Video



Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Dear Sisters and Brothers!

I address my greeting and my thanks to the organizers of the World Day of Prayer and Reflection Against Trafficking in Persons, promoted by the International Union of Superiors General and the Union of Superiors General. Special thanks to the Talitha Kum group that coordinates the initiative in collaboration with many local and international organizations.

This year's theme is: “The power of care. 
Women, the economy and human trafficking ". It invites us to consider the condition of women and girls, subjected to multiple forms of exploitation, including through forced marriages, domestic and work slavery. The thousands of women and girls who are trafficked every year denounce the dramatic consequences of relational models based on discrimination and submission. And that's not an exaggeration: thousands!

The organization of societies around the world is still far from clearly reflecting the fact that women have the same dignity and rights as men. Unfortunately, it is noted that "women who suffer from situations of exclusion, mistreatment and violence are doubly poor, because they often find themselves with fewer opportunities to defend their rights" (Enc. Fratelli tutti , 23 ).

Trafficking in persons, through domestic and sexual exploitation, violently returns women and girls to their supposed role as subordinates to the provision of domestic and sexual services, to their role as providers of care and givers of pleasure, which it re-proposes a pattern of relationships marked by the power of the male gender over the female one. Even today, and at a high level.

Trafficking in persons is violence! The violence suffered by every woman and every child is an open wound in the body of Christ, in the body of the whole of humanity, it is a profound wound that also affects each of us.

There are many women who have the courage to rebel against violence. We men too are called to do so, to say no to all violence, including that against women and girls. And together we can and must fight to ensure that human rights are expressed in a specific form, respecting diversity and recognizing the dignity of every person, having a particular concern for those who are harmed in their fundamental rights.

Saint Bakhita shows us the way to transformation. Her life tells us that change is possible when we allow ourselves to be transformed by the care that God has for each of us. It is the care of mercy, it is the care of love that changes us profoundly and makes us capable of welcoming others as brothers and sisters. Recognizing the dignity of each person is the first act of care. It is the first act of care: recognizing dignity! And taking care is good for everyone, for those who give and for those who receive, because it is not a one-way action but generates reciprocity. God took care of Giuseppina Bakhita, accompanied her in the process of healing the wounds caused by slavery to the point of making her heart, her mind and her bowels capable of reconciliation, freedom and tenderness.

I encourage every woman and every girl who is committed to transformation and care, in school, in the family, in society. And I encourage every man and every boy not to stay out of this process of transformation, remembering the example of the Good Samaritan: a man who is not ashamed to lean over his brother and take care of him. Taking care is God's action in history, in our personal history and in our community history. God cared and cares for us all the time. Taking care, men and women together, is the appeal of this World Day of Prayer and Reflection Against Trafficking: together we can foster an economy of care and oppose every form of exploitation of human trafficking with all our strength.

Dear sisters and dear brothers, I know that many of you are participating in this Day of prayer and reflection, from various countries and from different religious traditions. To everyone I express my gratitude and encouragement: let us go forward in the fight against human trafficking and all forms of slavery and exploitation. I invite you all to keep the indignation alive - keep the indignation alive! - and every day to find the strength to commit yourselves with determination on this front. Do not be afraid in the face of the arrogance of violence, no; do not surrender to the corruption of money and power.

Thank you all and go on, don't be discouraged! May God bless you and your work. Thank you!