Pope calls on the world to break the chains of slavery

(AGI) Vatican City, Dec. 10 - Pope Francis called on theinternational community to "break the invisible chains ofslavery". In his message for the 2015 World Day of Peace, whichwill be celebrated on Jan. 1, the Pope addressed internationalagencies, states and the whole of humankind. The Pope saidthat, when we are faced with the trafficking of human beings orproducts made by exploiting others, we are all challenged."Yet, even though the international community has adoptednumerous agreements aimed at ending slavery in all its forms,and has launched various strategies to combat this phenomenon,millions

(AGI) Vatican City, Dec. 10 - Pope Francis called on theinternational community to "break the invisible chains ofslavery". In his message for the 2015 World Day of Peace, whichwill be celebrated on Jan. 1, the Pope addressed internationalagencies, states and the whole of humankind. The Pope saidthat, when we are faced with the trafficking of human beings orproducts made by exploiting others, we are all challenged."Yet, even though the international community has adoptednumerous agreements aimed at ending slavery in all its forms,and has launched various strategies to combat this phenomenon,millions of people today - children, women and men of all ages- are deprived of freedom and are forced to live in conditionsakin to slavery", the Pope said. According to Pope Francis,"The growing scourge of man's exploitation by man gravelydamages the life of communion and our calling to forgeinterpersonal relations marked by respect, justice and love.This abominable phenomenon, which leads to contempt for thefundamental rights of others and to the suppression of theirfreedom and dignity, takes many forms". All this goes ondespite the fact that "as the result of a growth in ourawareness, slavery, seen as a crime against humanity, has beenformally abolished throughout the world. The right of eachperson not to be kept in a state of slavery or servitude hasbeen recognized in international law as inviolable". Thisoccurs "even though the international community has adoptednumerous agreements aimed at ending slavery in all its forms,and has launched various strategies to combat this phenomenon",he said. He then called on everyone to "see our neighbours, torecognize in every other person a brother or sister in ourhuman family". He went on: "Some of us, out of indifference, orfinancial reasons, or because we are caught up in our dailyconcerns, close our eyes to this". Then, addressing the statesand intergovernmental agencies, Pope Francis asked them toglobalise fraternity, not slavery or indifference. The Popecalled on the world to stop considering men as slaves but asbrothers and to follow in the example of Josephine Bakhita, thesaint that was first a slave and later became a nun. He tookher example as an opportunity to praise the commitment of nunsin favour of those who are kept in slavery. "They work to breakthe invisible chains binding victims to traffickers andexploiters. Those chains are made up of a series of links, eachcomposed of clever psychological ploys which make the victimsdependent on their exploiters. This is accomplished byblackmail and threats made against them and their loved ones,but also by concrete acts such as the confiscation of theiridentity documents and physical violence", Francis said. "Letus ask ourselves, as individuals and as communities, whether wefeel challenged when, in our daily lives, we meet or deal withpersons who could be victims of human trafficking, or when weare tempted to select items which may well have been producedby exploiting others", he concluded, urging everyone toaccomplish those concrete actions that are so valuable:"Practice small, everyday gestures - which have so much merit -such as offering a kind word, a greeting or a smile. These costus nothing but they can offer hope, open doors, and change thelife of another person who lives clandestinely; they can alsochange our own lives with respect to this reality".(AGI) .