(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis appealed to government leaders to be strong in the fight against the scourge of human trafficking.
Marking Wednesday’s ‘International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking’ marked annually on 8 February, and focusing this year on the trafficking of children and adolescents, the Pope had words of encouragement for all those who in different ways, help minors who have been enslaved and abused to be freed from this terrible oppression.
“I urge all those in government positions to combat this scourge with firmness, giving voice to our younger brothers and sisters who have been wounded in their dignity. All efforts must be made to eradicate this shameful and intolerable crime” he said.
He explained that the 'International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking" falls on the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakita: "this enslaved, exploited and humiliated girl in Africa never lost hope" he said but persevered in her faith and ended up as a migrant in Europe where she heard the call of the Lord and became a nun. Let's pray to Saint Josephine Bakita for all migrants and refugees who are exploited and suffer so much".
The Pope also recalled the beatification on Tuesday in Japan of Justo Takayama Ukon, a Japanese lay person who died a martyr in Manila in 1615.
“Rather than bowing to compromise, he renounced honor and wealth, and accepted humiliation and exile. He remained faithful to Christ and to the Gospel” he said.
For this reason, the Pope said, “he represents an admirable example of strength in faith and dedication in charity.”
Pope Francis also mentioned the upcoming ‘25th World Day of the Sick’ in memory of Our Lady of Lourdes. He said the main celebration will take place on Saturday in Lourdes and will be presided over by the Cardinal Secretary of State.
He concluded asking for prayers for all sick people, especially those are in grave condition and are alone, and also for those who care for them.