Feb 2, 2015

World day of prayer, reflection and action against the trafficking of human beings

So-called "Islamic State" has killed two Japanese hostages, Mr. Haruna Yukawa and Mr. Kenji Goto. What a sad and brutal conclusion for this hostage-taking incident! We should remember these two Japanese in our prayer and also the Jordanian pilot whose safety is unknown. May God of all consolation grant peace and solace to the family of all these victims of terrorist attack.

Though the IS people claim they are people of the Muslim faith and acting under their teachings, their act of killing innocent people for their own causes could not be accepted as action of religious people. We, people living in any faith, should pay due respect to human life which is precious gift from One God. I have great difficulty to accept any claim of justification of such brutal act in the name of God as plausible explanation of action in front of God the creator of all.

In his message on the World day of Peace 2015, Holy Father chose the theme "NO LONGER SLAVES, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS" and called us to realise this brutal crime of human trafficking in today's world. Human trafficking sounds like something happening far away from Japan but, in fact, the term "Human Trafficking" includes so many things which are happening around us today including the hostage-taking by terrorist groups. In the message, Holy Father wrote as follows:
I think of the many men and women labourers, including minors, subjugated in different sectors, whether formally or informally, in domestic or agricultural workplaces, or in the manufacturing or mining industry; whether in countries where labour regulations fail to comply with international norms and minimum standards, or, equally illegally, in countries which lack legal protection for workers’ rights.I think also of the living conditions of many migrants who, in their dramatic odyssey, experience hunger, are deprived of freedom, robbed of their possessions, or undergo physical and sexual abuse. In a particular way, I think of those among them who, upon arriving at their destination after a gruelling journey marked by fear and insecurity, are detained in at times inhumane conditions. I think of those among them, who for different social, political and economic reasons, are forced to live clandestinely. My thoughts also turn to those who, in order to remain within the law, agree to disgraceful living and working conditions, especially in those cases where the laws of a nation create or permit a structural dependency of migrant workers on their employers, as, for example, when the legality of their residency is made dependent on their labour contract. Yes, I am thinking of “slave labour”.
I think also of persons forced into prostitution, many of whom are minors, as well as male and female sex slaves. I think of women forced into marriage, those sold for arranged marriages and those bequeathed to relatives of their deceased husbands, without any right to give or withhold their consent.
Nor can I fail to think of all those persons, minors and adults alike, who are made objects of trafficking for the sale of organs, for recruitment as soldiers, for begging, for illegal activities such as the production and sale of narcotics, or for disguised forms of cross-border adoption.
Finally, I think of all those kidnapped and held captive by terrorist groups, subjected to their purposes as combatants, or, above all in the case of young girls and women, to be used as sex slaves. Many of these disappear, while others are sold several times over, tortured, mutilated or killed.
As one of the activities of the Year of Consecrated Life, it has been announced that coming Sunday, 8th February has been designated as the "World day of prayer, reflection and action against the trafficking of human beings" based on this message of Holy Father. The day, 8th February is the memorial of St.Josephine Bakhita who was born in Sudan in 1869 and died in Schio (Vicenza)  in 1947. She was a slave and trafficked but later she became a member of the Canossian Sisters.
There are so many in today's world who are deprived of freedom and taken hostage of modern slavery. There are so many who are kidnapped by terrorist groups or, even sometimes by the state. Let us remember all these people, not only our own country men but also all the people who are suffering of human trafficking, especially vulnerable women and children, in our prayer on Sunday 8th February.