Pope Francis marked the 10th World Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking with an urgent call to action to confront the global issue of human trafficking.
With this year’s theme “Journeying in Dignity: Listen, Dream, Act,” the Pope’s message, delivered through a written statement, underscored the importance of recognizing and combating the modern-day slavery that affects millions worldwide.
Pope Francis highlighted the significance of listening to the stories of those ensnared by trafficking, dreaming of a world where freedom and dignity prevail, and taking decisive steps to eradicate this scourge. “We are called to listen, dream, and act in order to counter trafficking,” he said, urging a global mobilization against the exploitation of vulnerable individuals.
The Pope drew attention to the inspiring figure of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese nun who was herself a victim of trafficking, to galvanize action. Bakhita’s life story, one of enslavement to sainthood, reminds us of need to acknowledge the unseen and unheard in society.
Pope Francis warned against indifference and stressed the collective responsibility to combat trafficking. “If we close our eyes and ears, if we do nothing, we will be guilty of complicity,” he cautioned, highlighting the critical role of proactive engagement in defending human dignity.
As part of the commemoration, Catholics from over 50 countries joined an online prayer marathon, uniting in solidarity against human trafficking. This annual observance, begun by Pope Francis in 2015, coincides with the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita on February 8th, emphasizing the Church’s commitment to this cause.
Pope Francis invites everyone to contribute to the fight against this “open wound in the side of humanity,” ensuring that the dignity of every person is respected and protected.
Pray for an end to human trafficking!