A reality that is both hurting and challenging #humantrafficking
Address by Msgr. Robinson Wijesinghe
(Pontifical Council for the pastoral care of Migrants and Itinerant people)
The Psalm 82:3-4 manifests God’s preferential love for the poor: “Let the weak and the orphan have justice, be fair to the wretched and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy, save them from the clutches of the wicked”.
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Right from the beginning of his Pontificate, the Holy Father Pope Francis has been outspoken on behalf of the voiceless and the exploited, awakening a new wave of enthusiasm within the Church and outside the Church to condemn human trafficking, which the Pope himself calls, “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ, a crime against humanity” [cf. Address to the participants of the International Conference on combatting human trafficking, 10th April 2014].
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Trafficking is a multi-dimensional problem, often linked to international migration. In includes, among others, forced labour or bonded labour, sexual exploitation, servitude, the organ harvesting, abusive methods of adoption, the recruitment of minors into armies and rebel groups, slavery or slavery-like practices. It is one of our primary tasks as the Church in Africa and Madagascar to promote and support every possible and justifiable approach from various perspectives such as legal, human rights, economic development, healthy families, safe migration, cultural cooperation etc. Certainly each approach suggests a different strategy or strategies to solve the problem within given socio-political and socio-cultural contexts. The Church in Africa and Madagascar knows the best for her children.
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Collaboration at all levels is necessary in order to share good practices and strategies in prevention and to create a new culture to tackle this dangerous phenomenon. In this regard, as the Catholic Church proposes a holistic approach, necessary to achieve and to stimulate “the conscience of the world”, ecumenical and inter-religious collaboration is pivotal at all levels. Honest dialogue and cooperation with State and Non-Governmental Organizations is of equal relevance in destroying this disgusting new trade of the corrupt and criminal world.