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Pope Francis Takes Strong Action to End Slavery

December 3rd, 2014

VATICAN CITY As Pope Francis and leaders of other churches and religions signed a declaration pledging to work together to help end modern slavery in the world by 2020, he urged governments, businesses and all people of good will to join forces against this “crime against humanity.”

Tens of millions of people are “in chains” because of human trafficking and forced labor, and it is leading to their “dehumanization and humiliation,” the pope said at the ceremony Dec. 2, the U.N. Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Every human person is born with the same dignity and freedom, and any form of discrimination that does not respect this truth “is a crime and very often an abhorrent crime,” the pope said.

Inspired by their religious beliefs and a desire “to take practical action,” the pope and 11 leaders representing the Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox, Anglican, Buddhist and Hindu faiths made a united commitment to help eradicate slavery worldwide.

Read the full article at National Catholic Reporter online

And here is something to put on your calendar: 

February 8th, 2015

National Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking

On February 8th, 2015 the USCCB will observe the National Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking. February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.

Last February, Catholics throughout the country observed the national day of prayer through Masses, prayer vigils, and other events to raise awareness about human trafficking in their parishes and communities. This coming February, we encourage you to do the same. Through prayer, we not only reflect on the experiences of those that have suffered through this affront to human dignity, but also comfort, strengthen, and help empower survivors.

Please visit www.usccb.org/shepherd to download prayers, intercessions, a toolkit and other resources to help you host a human trafficking event locally. Visit www.usccb.org/stopslavery for more information about human trafficking and to download flyers for the National Day of Prayer including a Mass that will be held on Sunday, February 8th at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

In the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis, may we be “slaves no more, but brothers and sisters.”

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