World Day Against Trafficking in Persons World Day Against Trafficking in Persons  (Siam Pukkato)

Pope: "God bless those who work to fight against trafficking"

Pope Francis recalls that Sunday July 30 marks two UN World Days: the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons and International Friendship Day. He calls everyone to work to stop the exploitation of persons through human trafficking while praying for all those in the fight against trafficking.

By Thaddeus Jones

During the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis recalled that on this day, July 30, we observe two World Days declared by the United Nations. The first, International Friendship Day underscores the importance of friendship between peoples and cultures, he noted. 

The second theme marks the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons that aims to stop "the crime that turns people into commodities," said the Pope.

“Trafficking is a terrible reality, affecting too many people: children, women, workers..., so many exploited people; all living in inhuman conditions and suffering indifference and rejection by society.”

The Pope pointed out how today the crime of human trafficking is so widespread in our world. He praised those working in this area and their assistance to the victims.

“God bless those who work to fight against trafficking.”

The theme of the July 30 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is Reach every victim of trafficking, leave no one behind. The annual UN Day aims to raise awareness of the troubling developments and trends in this area, and calls on governments, law enforcement, public services, and civil society to assess and enhance their efforts to strengthen prevention, identify and support victims, and end impunity.

Pope Francis has spoken out strongly on the scourge of this reality often in the past, saying that "Human trafficking disfigures dignity. Exploitation and subjugation limit freedom and turn people into objects to use and discard. And the system of trafficking profits from the injustice and wickedness that oblige millions of people to live in conditions of vulnerability.”

Those strong words have been particularly appreciated by Msgr. Robert Vitillo, Secretary General of the Geneva-based International Catholic Migration Commission, or ICMC.

ICMC members offer help and support to trafficking victims. They help generate awareness and resilience in vulnerable communities, and work to develop new partnerships and alliances to achieve longer-term change. The work takes place in a diverse range of national contexts around the world, from Argentina to Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Thailand, and South Africa, and at the international level.

In a statement and an interview with Vatican Radio, Msgr. Vitillo notes that "Human trafficking is a growing global phenomena and affects men, women, and children of all backgrounds. Recent years have seen a worldwide escalation of trafficking risks, as global economic crises, conflict, and the climate emergency drive inequality and displacement. At the same time, global conviction rates have decreased."

The Geneva-based International Catholic Migration Commission, or ICMC, coordinates the efforts of Catholic outreach in this field bringing together national member organizations who work together to assist migrants. 

Listen to the interview with Msgr. Robert Vitillo, ICMC Secretary General

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30 July 2023, 14:03