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People are not merchandise

· At the Angelus and in a tweet Pope Francis once again denounces exploitation and trafficking of human beings ·

“Hear the cry of our many brothers and sisters who are criminally trafficked and exploited. They are not merchandise. They are human beings, and they must be treated as such”. This was Pope Francis’ heartfelt appeal in a tweet on @Pontifex sent on Monday, 30 July, on the occasion of UN World Day against Trafficking in Persons. The Pope also shared online the hashtag #EndhumanTrafficking as part of the social media campaign launched by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, to raise awareness on trafficking of humans. It will run until the end of August

Earlier on Sunday, 29 July, the Holy Father had referred to human trafficking at the end of the Angelus in Saint Peter’s Square, describing it as a true “plague that reduces many men, women and children to slavery for the purposes of labour and sexual exploitation, begging and forced delinquency”. And he pointed out that this did not only occur in developing countries. “Even here in Rome”, he added. Aluding to another phenomenon he follows very closely, the Holy Father said that “migration routes too are often used by traffickers and exploiters to recruit new victims of trafficking”. Thus, he warned, “it is the responsibility of all to denounce these injustices and to firmly oppose this shameful crime”.

Before the recital of the Marian prayer, as he commented on the Gospel passage of the 18th Sunday in ordinary time (Jn 6:1-15). the Pontiff had offered an original interpretation of the story of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish. In it, he spoke sharply against the waste of food in wealthy countries, that are too often indifferent to the cry of the starving humanity. Pope Francis said the passage brought to mind “the many starving people and how much leftover food we throw away . Let each of us think about this: where does the food that is left over from lunch go, from dinner, where does it go?What is done with the leftover food in my house? Is it thrown away?”.He advised those “who have this habit” to speak to their “grandparents who lived through the post-war period and ask them what they did with the leftover food”. “Never throw away leftover food. Either use it again or give it to someone who can eat it, who needs it”, he concluded.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 21, 2018

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