VATICAN CITY — Following the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, Pope Francis says people must be educated about the healthy use of technology, with studies showing that criminal organisations increasingly use the internet to lure victims.
The Church’s efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking on Saturday – the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita, patron of the scourge’s victims – spilled over into Sunday.
Pope Francis recalled the initiative in his Angelus address to pilgrims in St Peter’s Square.
He spoke both about providing healing for those who have already fallen victim to this form of modern-day slavery, and about the need for prevention.
“To heal this scourge – because it is truly a scourge – which exploits the weakest, the commitment of all is needed: institutions, associations, as well as educational agencies,” he said.
The Pope himself kicked off one such institutional effort on Saturday: a fundraising initiative called “Super Nuns”.
He was the first to sign up on the Patreon platform to support the Talitha Kum network of religious sisters who dedicate their lives to the rescue and rehabilitation of human trafficking survivors.
In his appeal on Sunday, Pope Francis also said education is key to preventing people from falling into human trafficking in the first place.
“I would like to recall that various studies have shown that criminal organisations are increasingly using modern means of communication to lure victims through deception,” he said.
So, he added, the Church needs to educate people “about the healthy use of technology”, while at the same time “reminding the providers of online services about their responsibilities.”