European Anti-trafficking Day: The vulnerable man next to you is the priority here and now, says bishop Damaschin

European Day Against Trafficking in Human Beings is “a day of gratitude, awareness and memory,” His Grace Assistant Bishop Damaschin of Dorna said on Saturday in a message urging everyone to be more present, more attentive to what is happening to their neighbour. “We are all responsible,” he wrote.

“The Church supports, in word, action and prayer, the fight against trafficking in human beings and any work of denigration, denial or violation of human dignity. We do it by virtue of the mandate received from God, the Source of Life,” said the Assistant Bishop of the Archdiocese of Suceava and Radauti.

His Grace reminded that every human person is created in the image of God, which gives them inestimable value: “We honour and cherish man because first God honoured and cherished him, to the point that He, God, made Himself as one of men so that He might raise man even above humanity.”

An attack on God’s plan for each person

From this perspective, “any attack on the honour, integrity and freedom of the human being is an attack on God’s plan with man, it is a ‘rebellion’ against God,” he added, stressing that every human person has an eternal and unique destiny.

Thus, those who “fight for the protection of human rights and freedoms” are “protectors of the dignity of the human being, are collaborators with God, co-workers with Him, supporters of God’s eternal plan to deify man,” His Grace Bishop Damaschin noted.

Slavery of bodies and slavery of the mind

“Today we express our gratitude to all those involved in stopping human trafficking, but also to all those who are vigilant and oppose other forms of modern slavery; it is abominable to exploit the body, but it is just as serious the slavery in which the human spirit can be brought, through lies, manipulation or emotional exploitation,” the bishop underlined.

The European Day Against Trafficking in Human Beings puts us in front of the need to be aware of our fragility and the need to stay awake in a world that itself accepts the slavery of passions and the crooked ideas that spring from them.

Therefore, Bishop Damaschin noted, “Let us be aware of the value of the human person and how fragile they are in the face of dangers of all kinds, from epidemics to ideologies, in the face of life’s difficulties, but also the unbridled desire for power, influence or wealth of the world’s leaders, in the face of the forces of nature and no less dangerous changes of mentality in post-modernity.”

We fight the scourge through vigilance and prayer

The fight is not only at the level of public policies, but also in the community: “The vulnerable man next to you is the priority that concerns you here and now. Therefore, a single soul saved from any kind of scourge that threatens the human being is a success and deserves all the sacrifice,” His Grace wrote.

Prayer and remembrance are two powerful weapons, he added: “It is a day when we are called not to forget. Let us not forget all the stages of humanity in which slavery, of whatever kind, was not only accepted but also encouraged.”

“We are obliged to honour the memory of all the victims who could not be saved from any kind of exploitation, especially the one still so present in the civilized and civilizing 21st century.”

“We also cherish today the memory of those who worked, wrote, laboured or prayed for the human person to preserve their dignity and holiness,” he continued.

Finally, Bishop Damaschin of Dorna invited the faithful to assume the lack of vigilance that, in some cases, can destroy lives: “We should apologize for the guilt of not having done more for this, out of ignorance, convenience, negligence.”

“We are responsible, each one, but also together: family, local community, school, nation, Church.”

“Any form of amnesia in this direction will lead to the revival, sooner or later, of one or another of the forms of crime against humanity,” Bishop Damaschin cautioned.

On Sunday, October 18, in all churches and monasteries in the Archdiocese of Suceava and Radauti, information and awareness actions took place regarding human trafficking.

The Suceava County School Inspectorate and the Theological-Educational Sector of the Archdiocese of Suceava and Radauti organized a webinar on human trafficking on Saturday, in partnership with the Suceava Regional Center of the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons.

Photography courtesy of the Archdiocese of Suceava and Rădăuți

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