Pope is bringing human trafficking into public eye, ambassador says

Ambassador-at-Large for Trafficking in persons Luis CdeBaca.

Pope Francis is contributing to the fight against human trafficking by making the matter a frequent point of public discourse, says a U.S. ambassador who specializes in the subject.
 
Luis CdeBaca, U.S. Ambassador in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, shared with CNA April 12 his impressions about the Pope Francis’ commitment against modern day slavery.
 
“I do see Pope Francis working to insert the issue of human trafficking in informal comments. The idea is to institutionalize the issue as part of the normal public discourse,” the ambassador said.

He underscored that when Pope Francis “talks about freedom and mentions modern slavery, the latter becomes the normal part of the conversation– it is very exciting.”

He emphasized that “Popes in the past have issued writings and statements, but writings and statements don’t necessarily have the same impact as the spoken word and what people may hear. For instance, I was struck that at the Mass we had here in Washington for the St. Josephine Bakita feast, the priest talked in the sermon very extensively about what Pope Benedict XVI wrote on human trafficking. Just a few people knew it, and policy makers have not really heard it.”

Pope Francis had fierce words against human trafficking during the first year of his pontificate.

In a speech to a new group of ambassadors accredited to the Holy See Dec. 12, the pontiff said that human trafficking is “an issue that worries me very much and today is threatening people’s dignity.”

On March 5, Pope Francis sent a message to the faithful in Brazil on the occasion of the annual Lenten “Fraternity Campaign,” exclaiming that “it is not possible to remain indifferent before the knowledge that human beings are bought and sold like goods!”
 
Pope Francis also backed a workshop on “Trafficking in Human Beings: Modern Slavery” organized by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences and held last November.
 
The conference organizers issued a joint statement based on the suggestions presented by the participants, which included proposals for media, religious institutions, civil organizations and business sectors to work together in order to combat human trafficking.
 
Ambassador CdeBeca took part in that workshop.
 
He told CNA that “the final document laying out the 42 points was very well thought-out, and represents the Vatican’s cutting edge work on human trafficking. It is evident that the Vatican is putting itself into the lead on human trafficking, making sure that it is not just religious, but also ‘secular.’”
 
The ambassador stressed that “human trafficking is modern slavery and impacts people across the globe. It’s vital to focus on the victims as survivors and incorporate their voices into anti-trafficking policies and programs.”  
 
“Part of our goal is to encourage NGOs we work with to think outside-the-box,” he explained. “For example, many NGOs do a great job addressing the child sex trafficking or migration issue; however, we encourage these organizations to take a hard look at issues facing adults or people in their own countries, rather than only children or migrants. It’s important to look at the issue of human trafficking holistically.”

A holistic approach to the issue was also experienced in a conference on human trafficking organized by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales April 9-10, hosted by the Pontifical Academy for the Sciences, in the Vatican City State.
 
The conference gathered police chiefs from 20 different nations around the world, and both law enforcement and Vatican officials exchanged ideas on how to collaborate in combating the issue and caring for victims.
 
In a message sent to the conference, Pope Francis encouraged the participants all to “combine our efforts” with the desire for “our strategies and areas of expertise to be accompanied and reinforced by the mercy of the Gospel” and “by closeness to the men and women who are victims of this crime.”


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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