AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - World Cup: Bishops announce Mass to be witness to ending the scourge of

Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - A Few weeks before the 2010 Football World Cup, the Catholic Bishops and Priests of Southern Africa will celebrate a special Holy Mass as “a counter-witness to the scourge of human trafficking”. The Mass will take place on Saturday, 8 May, at 10 am at the Christian Brothers’ College, and will be presided over by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop of Durban. Sr. Melanie O’Connor, Coordinator of the Counter Trafficking in Persons Desk, has said on numerous occasions that “it is incumbent that we pray earnestly for an end to this new slavery. The desecration of even one human being is an insult to our Creator God in whose image and likeness we are all made. We need to seize the opportunity of the World Cup, the first on the African continent, to draw the attention of the media and the fans to the tragedy of women and children all over the world being trafficked”. “It is an honor for us having been chosen to host the 2010 World Cup, but we cannot forget that such an event can have its dark side,” the Sister continued. “ South Africa is already known to be a ‘hotspot’ for human trafficking. We need to be vigilant at all times and do all we can to protect our people from this hideous crime”. The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has been working in the last two years to protect potential victims of trafficking, especially through awareness raising programs. The Church is acutely aware that during the World Cup, it is the young women and children who will be especially vulnerable. “Traffickers can swoop in to fulfill the demands for the sex industry in order to up their profits” says Sr. Melanie O’Connor. “We got rid of Apartheid, let’s get rid of Human Trafficking,” she concluded. (LM) (Agenzia Fides 9/4/2010)

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