Over 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.” 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.
Sadly, the forms of modern slavery are as hideous as ever: human trafficking, poverty, human sacrifice, drug 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 God-given human dignity and rights, all that reduces human beings to being mere commodities bought and sold for profit.
The problem is real. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security believes that millions of men, women, and children fall victim to human trafficking around the world each year.
Our missionaries are 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.”
Efforts to fight human trafficking subsidized by the U.S. Missionaries of Africa because of supporters like you: