No longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters, this is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 2015 World Day of Peace. It focuses on modern slavery and on the need to work together to end the many forms of slavery: "millions of people today – children, women and men of all ages – are deprived of freedom and are forced to live in conditions akin to slavery."
Different forms of slavery are listed: "I think of men and women labourers, including minors, subjugated in different sectors, whether formally or informally, in domestic or agricultural workplaces, or in the manufacturing or mining industry; whether in countries where labour regulations fail to comply with international norms and minimum standards, or, equally illegally, in countries which lack legal protection for workers’ rights."
A special tribute to the religious congregations who for many years have dedicated themselves to the cause of putting an en to human trafficking and their care for the victims:
"I would like to mention the enormous and often silent efforts which have been made for many years by religious congregations, especially women’s congregations, to provide support to victims. These institutes work in very difficult situations, dominated at times by violence, as they work to break the invisible chains binding victims to traffickers and exploiters..."
"The activity of religious congregations is carried out in three main areas: in offering assistance to victims, in working for their psychological and educational rehabilitation, and in efforts to reintegrate them into the society where they live or from which they have come. This immense task, which calls for courage, patience and perseverance, deserves the appreciation of the whole Church and society."
Pope Francis concludes his message by inviting States, Intergovernmental organizations, businesses, organizations in civil society to put an end to this scourge. "I invite everyone, in accordance with his or her specific role and responsibilities, to practice acts of fraternity towards those kept in a state of enslavement." All are ask "to forge a new worldwide solidarity and fraternity..."
Link to the message: http://w2.vatican.va/