Which is better: a paper cup that you use once, or a metal mug that you drink from again and again? The decision is clear. Reusable goods are better for the environment and cheaper in the long run. What about people? Is it better to use someone once and then toss them aside, or to use them again and again? What?! Humans should not be treated like objects. We rightly feel confused and horrified by this example. But it happens everyday. There is a name for this modern crime: human trafficking.
People continue to be bought and sold in the world today. Prostitution and pornography are among the chief culprits. Or perhaps a young man is promised a big paycheck and citizenship in a wealthy country; all he must do is work in landscaping for a few months. Years later, he continues his backbreaking work–with just a few bucks in cash and a steady stream of lies and threats. He is trapped in a cycle of deception and oppression.
Pope Francis uses the term “throw away” culture to describe this dark side of our modern economy. He writes, “Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless…Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a ‘throw away’ culture which is now spreading” (Evangelii Gaudium, 53).
In stark contrast, we see the example of Jesus. He stands up for the woman trapped in adultery and sets her free. Jesus shows us that we are not objects. We are beloved sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.
Prayer to Saint Josephine Bakhita for Intercession Against Human Trafficking By Pope Francis
Saint Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child and endured unspeakable hardship and suffering.
Once liberated from your physical enslavement, you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church.
O Saint Josephine Bakhita, assist all those who are entrapped in slavery.
Intercede on their behalf with the God of Mercy, so that the chains of their captivity will be broken.
May God Himself free all those who have been threatened, wounded or mistreated by the trade and trafficking of human beings.
Bring comfort to survivors of this slavery and teach them to look to Jesus,
as an example of hope and faith, so that they may find healing from their wounds.
We ask you to pray for us and to intercede on behalf of us all,
that we may not fall into indifference, that we may open our eyes
and be able to see the misery and wounds
of our many brothers and sisters deprived of their dignity and their freedom
and may we hear their cry for help. Amen