CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING
“…All humankind born in the image and likeness of God are new christs and hence brothers (and sisters).”
Cardinal Charles Lavigerie
Slavery. We shudder at the word.
Unfortunately, many forms of slavery are still devastating parts of our world today.
125 years ago, our founder, Cardinal Charles Lavigerie (1825-1892), conducted an anti-slavery campaign in several European capitals denouncing the practice in Africa and worldwide. His strong message earned him praise as “the apostle of the slaves of all Africa.”
Recently, this anniversary has been the occasion for our missionaries in Eijsu, Ghana, to launch an aggressive educational campaign to fight the modern forms of slavery that still take place – especially among the youth. They are doing this by using various means to inform the public, with an eye to educating the younger generation in particular. A large anniversary conference was held last year and, in the wake of that conference, a year-long campaign is taking place to educate and inform. This, of course, involves careful and strategic use of the media which is costly and necessary.
Even Cardinal Lavigerie, a century and a quarter ago, knew the very important role that the media played in educating the public. He used very pragmatic methods in his anti-slavery campaigns. Using information gathered from his missionaries in the field in the interior of Africa, he shared that information with the political and religious leaders of the time and gave conferences and homilies, and organized congresses, to diffuse that information to the wider public and the press to influence policy change. He appealed directly to the consciences of ordinary people and decision-makers alike. His efforts were inter-religious as he succeeded in getting Anglicans, Protestants and Muslims, along with his fellow Catholics, involved in the fight against this common humanitarian scourge.
Our missionaries are using the same pragmatic strategy today, albeit with more sophisticated technology at their fingertips.
Sadly, the forms of modern slavery are just as hideous as they ever were: human trafficking, poverty, human sacrifice, drugs addiction, child exploitation, street children, prostitution (forced or not), forced labor, marital slavery, forced marriage, debt bondage…all that dehumanizes people, all that violates their human dignity and rights, all that reduces human beings to being mere commodities that are bought and sold for profit.
The problem is real. The need for accurate information and education is crucial.
Father Emmanuel Adeboa, one of our missionaries in Ejisu, Ghana, and project manager of the campaign, has requested that we help to fund this important effort. We consider this a very worthwhile work and we are more than happy to help…with your help!
I invite you to join with our missionaries in continuing the work of our founder in our world today. His clear message to the world was that slavery is a crime because it denies the fact that “all humankind born in the image and likeness of God are new Christs and hence brothers (and sisters).” (Cardinal Lavigerie) He wanted all people to understand that to oppress one another and to deprive people of their freedom is a sacrilege, because this freedom is “nature’s most precious gift.”
This is the same thing that all men and women of goodwill want today. Let’s each do our part to spread this good news and eradicate these abhorrent practices.
The chains of slavery can be broken, in all their forms, as God’s people join together in love of neighbor.