Family and community are extremely important as they play an important role in the upbringing of the children and in the making of civilization.
On the contrary, Slavery is a dehumanizing, depraved
system that seeks to reduce once worth and dignity and thus leads us
into the culture of death.
Today every corner of the society and the
country we hear the cry of the children, “I am not safe.” Does
this prick my conscience or do my ears hear this cry? Whenever I hear a
cry of these children, be it on the streets, or slums, or remand homes,
or platforms, my heart speaks to me, ‘Children they are, not slaves’.
Every two minutes, a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation.
More than 200 million children today are child labourers. 73 million of
these children are below 10 years of age.
Every year 22 thousand die
due to work accidents. Approximately 30 million children have lost their
childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years. They are
trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography production, forced
marriage, illegal adoption, forced labour, and to become child soldiers.
Trafficking clearly violates the fundamental right to a life of
Pope Francis says, “How I wish that all of us would hear Gods cry: where is your brother? (Gen.
4:9). Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Where are the
brothers and sisters whom you are killing each day in clandestine
warehouse, in rings of prostitutions, in children used for begging, in
exploiting undocumented labour? Let us not look the other way”.
The Asian Movement of Women Religious Against Human Trafficking
(AMRAT) gives me ample of opportunities to collaborate and network with
52 religious congregations who are part of this Forum. As a consecrated
person, God gives us a special gift of discernment. Discernment that
leads us in making a choice, a choice that will make a difference into
the lives of the poor, the destitute, the marginalized, the rejected,
the victims of injustice and crime. It is rightly said “prophets tend to
be on the side of the poor and the powerless”.
Every moment I think of the victims of human trafficking I feel it in
my bones the cry for justice, a cry for humanity. Through the network
of different organizations like International Justice Mission, Rescue
Foundation, I got the opportunity of attending the rescue operation in
red light areas. The first rescue operation was an experience that I
cannot forget. The place was stinking, polluted, dark and horror. I was
shocked and yet my spirit desired for light, for comfort, a comfort to
I saw in the eyes of those innocent three children a cry for
life. They were treated as slaves. They pleaded and cried before us to
be taken away, for they were beaten, burnt, kicked, cheated and looted
by the pimp owners. I thought the process of relieving them would be
faster, but it took the whole night to relieve these children. This
experience has left a mark in my heart which will always move me towards
justice and love for the less fortunate, the forgotten, the lost, the
least and the unknown.
When international police chiefs and religious figures pledged in the
Vatican to work together to fight modern-day slavery, Pope
Francis addressed them and described human trafficking as "a crime
against humanity." Yes, it is a crime against humanity, especially the
children, because their childhood is robbed and they are enslaved in the
flesh trade. Do they have a right to enjoy their childhood with
dignity? Children they are and not slaves.
My encounters with the victims of human trafficking have challenged
my life style today. It has awakened my call to work for the less
advantaged and be on their side no matter what the cost. I pray that God
Almighty grant each one of us the grace of carrying forward the
delicate, humanitarian and Christian mission, of healing the open and
painful wounds of humanity, which are also Christ's wounds. Today let us
be awakened from the slumber and arise to be the voice of the voiceless
and join hands with many people who work for the rescue of children
from different forms of slavery.
AMRAT has planned various programmes in bringing the awareness on
this issue of human trafficking. For example, Seminars, visits to the
Children’s homes, Meetings with the commercial sex workers, awareness
session and prayer services in schools and colleges, celebration of
orange day, Training of Bill on anti-Human trafficking to the members of
AMRAT, street plays, trainings to the local police, opportunities for
communal prayers and cultural events and networks with government
organizations and rotary clubs are being planned.
AMRAT members feel that our awareness must expand on the issue of
human trafficking and extend to the very depths of this evil and its
farthest reaches from awareness to prayer from prayer to solidarity and
from solidarity to concrete action, until slavery and trafficking are
As we remember our Universal Sr. Josephine Bakhita and all the
victims of human trafficking we humbly prayer to our lord: “O God, when
we hear of children and adults being deceived and taken to unknown
places for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, and organ
‘harvesting’, our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry, that their
dignity and rights are ignored through threats, lies, and force.
We cry out against the evil practice of this modern slavery, and pray with St. Bakhita for it to end.
Give us wisdom and courage to reach out and stand with those whose
bodies, hearts and spirits have been so wounded, so that together we may
make real your promises to fill these sisters and brothers with a love
that is tender and good.
Send the exploiters away empty-handed to be converted from this
wickedness, and help us all to claim the freedom that is your gift to