Pope Francis urges unity between citizens and institutions in fighting human trafficking

Pope Francis has recently urged citizens and institutions to unite in the fight against human trafficking and pray that God will change the hearts of the traffickers.

(REUTERS / Pilar Olivares)Pope Francis celebrates a mass at Huanchaco beach in Trujillo, Peru January 20, 2018.

During his General Audience, Pope Francis urged the faithful to remember that Feb. 8 was the day dedicated to praying and reflecting on the issue of human trafficking. The pontiff highlighted the plight of emigrants suffering at the hands of abusive mafias and who live in slavery instead of arriving at their expected destinations, Rome Reports detailed.

"I urge everyone, citizens and institutions, to join forces to prevent human trafficking and guarantee protection and help for victims. Let us pray that the Lord touches trafficker's hearts," Pope Francis said. "What an ugly word, human traffickers! May He give hope of recovering freedom to those who suffer this terrible harm."

Meanwhile, Pope Francis' Lenten Message that was released on Feb. 6 called on believers to renew their passion for the Christian faith. He urged them to use the season of prayer, fasting, and charity to reignite their love for the Lord, the Catholic News Agency reported.

The pope acknowledged that there were times when the "flame of charity" appeared to be fading in their own hearts. However, he said God's love does not fade and that the Lord always gives people a chance to begin loving again.

Taking his cue from Matthew 24:12, Pope Francis said the rise of sin will cause love to "grow cold." He also warned believers against false prophets who entice them into desiring wealth and temporary pleasures.

Moreover, Pope Francis' message for Lent delved into fasting, which he said gives Christians an opportunity to grow by making them more sensitive to God's call and to their neighbors' needs. He added that it reawakens one's desire to obey God.

At the end of his message for Lent, Pope Francis called on the faithful to dedicate more time for prayer as it helps them weed out the evil from their hearts. The pontiff also urged people to return to the Lord fully in all aspects of their lives.

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