~ by Justin McClellan, National Catholic Reporter
Young people must be “missionaries of human dignity” to fight human trafficking and all forms of exploitation, Pope Francis said.
The pope’s message for the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, observed on February 8, was directed to young people. He encouraged them to build their own sense of dignity and care for the dignity of every person they meet.
“Human trafficking disfigures dignity. Exploitation and subjugation limit freedom and turn people into objects to use and discard,” he said in his message. “Unfortunately, trafficking is growing to a worrying extent, affecting primarily migrants, women and children, young people like you, people full of dreams and the desire to live in dignity.”
For the first time since the day of prayer was established by Francis in 2015, young representatives of anti-trafficking organizations around the world gathered in Rome to participate in training sessions on how to better prevent human trafficking. Talitha Kum, an umbrella network or religious sister-led anti-trafficking organizations, coordinated the training.
One of the representatives of young people, Genc Gjoci, 29, said that trafficking has become a serious problem for those leaving his native Albania to immigrate primarily to the United Kingdom.
“People who are more informed are stronger and can better resist being trafficked,” he said.
Maryknoll Sr. Abby Aveline, international coordinator for Talitha Kum, said educating young people is a priority in combating trafficking since young people themselves are often targets of traffickers.
“Just thinking about what you’re buying, does this come from labor exploitation? When I drink coffee, do I know where this coffee came from?” she asked.
To combat trafficking, she said, “simple awareness is so important, you don’t have to go anywhere.” To read the full account, please click here