Fides News English Agency Newsen-usAMERICA/HONDURAS - Violence against women decreases, but there is still an impressive number of cases - The violent deaths of women in Honduras have reduced, but the numbers are still impressive. The Observatory on Violence published a report in which it is estimated that from January to June 2014, 272 women were killed because of violence, 51 less compared to the same period of 2013. In the 11 months of 2014 there were 453 femicides. In the report it appears that between 2005 and 2013 there were 3,487 femicides.<br />Of the 453 deaths of women reported between January and November 2014, 325 corresponds to women between 15 and 44 years of age. While women between 20 and 24 are 70. According to the report, on average, a woman dies every 17 hours 16 minutes.<br />The number of deaths of women in 2013 was equal to 636 and, according to the Dean of the National Autonomous University of Honduras , Julieta Castellanos, 2014 will end with about 500 femicides. "This reduction is probably due to security policies that the government is implementing". Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100EUROPE/RUSSIA - Russia is preparing a resolution on the defense of Christians in the Middle East - Russia is considering "the opportunity to submit to the Council for Human Rights of the United Nations - United Nations agency based in Geneva - a resolution to urge international measures of protection for the Christian communities of the Middle East and North Africa", and "Russian experts are already working on the text of the document". This was revealed by the Russian diplomat Alexander Yakovenko, the current Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom, who until 2011 was deputy foreign minister of the Russian Federation.<br />In an interview published on the website of the Russian channel in English, the Russian diplomat - known for his work in international organizations and multilateral cooperation in the field of humanitarian cooperation - also refers that the next Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe , to be held in Basel on December 4 and 5, the Russian representation will require studying measures to support and help the Christians in the Middle East who suffer difficult living conditions in many areas of the region. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Hunger and chronic malnutrition cause the death of a child every 33 hours - Death caused by hunger and chronic malnutrition, which affects children under five years of age, is a real scourge for the Country. In the course of 2014, 240 young children have died. According to the report a child dies every 33 hours, 5 a week. The types of malnutrition defined by the Institute are two: hunger and chronic malnutrition. The first is the cause of death when a person has no food for 5 or 6 days. While, in the case of chronic malnutrition, which already appears at 6 months of age, most of the children die of pneumonia or diarrhea. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - Boko Haram plans attacks with suicide women bombers disguised as nuns - The terrorists of Boko Haram plan attacks with suicide women bombers disguised as nuns. "A few months ago in Kano the police discovered tailors who were sewing tunics for nun intended for bombers that were to mingle in the crowd of faithful to blow themselves up", says Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku, Director of Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria.<br />"In the last month there have been at least 4 or 5 attacks committed by women suicide in Nigeria" recalls the priest. "The last one was in the market of Maiduguri, on November 25, with two women suicide that caused 70 deaths according to the last toll. Previously similar attacks took place at the University of Kano and in that of Kotangora, while last week a girl blew herself up in a school classroom with thirty students".<br />"The alarm regarding the growing use of suicide women bombers is demonstrated by the fact that the Nigerian police recommended to shorten the exposure time of the Blessed Sacrament in the churches of Abuja on Sunday, November 23, the feast of Christ the King, and to reduce the procession. The police advised us to throw out unknown women who looked pregnant because the bombers hide bombs under false bellies" says Fr. Patrick.<br />"Boko Haram is always looking for new ways to sow terror but we as a Church want to sow hope" said F. Patrick. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - The first Catholic radio in Pakistan - Spreading the news of the Gospel via air: this is the aim of "Good News Radio", the first Catholic radio born in Pakistan, launched by the Archdiocese of Karachi, led by Bishop Joseph Coutts, who is also President of the Bishops' Conference of Pakistan.<br />As reported to Fides by Fr. Arthur Charles, Secretary of the Commission for Social Communications of the Pakistani Bishops, the inauguration took place in St. Patrick’s high school, in Karachi, on November 22, in the presence of more than a thousand faithful. <br />Priests, religious and laity will collaborate in the transmissions. A group of seven volunteers provides six hours of original content, live every day.<br />Fr. Arthur Charles, who conceived the project, tells Fides that "one can use mass media to evangelize. The radio will be a tool to enrich the lives of the listeners in our country": "We thought that, with the advent of broadband internet, the radio would be one of the online media to use. It provides opportunities that are not found elsewhere", he said<br />"In this way the Lord uses us for His Kingdom. If we cannot go to difficult or remote areas to preach the message of Jesus, we bring the gospel everywhere with the radio and other mass media. It is just like planting a seed" he adds.<br />"Good News Radio" will be more than just "talk radio", it will explain the Church's teaching, comment social issues, global events, current events, but will also propose theology and apologetics. Archbishop Joseph Coutts commented: "We give thanks to God, and we put the radio project in his hands. We hope that people across the country receive a message of hope to improve their lives according to the values of peace, love and harmony". Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/IRAQ - The Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk: unrealistic and wrong to dream of an autonomous enclave for Christians in the Nineveh Plain - The project still cherished by acronyms and political leaders who want to create an autonomous enclave in the future reserved for Christians in the Nineveh Plain, currently in the hands of the jihadists of the Islamic Caliphate, is "an unrealistic and unwise dream" with which a division of the Country on sectarian basis foments that "can only harm the good and the future condition of Christians in Iraq". This is what His Exc. Mgr. Yousif Thoma Mirkis OP, Archbishop of Kirkuk of the Chaldeans declares to Agenzia Fides.<br />The jihadists of the Islamic State conquered Mosul on June 9 and then extended their control over the predominantly Christian villages and towns of the Nineveh Plain, forcing tens of thousands of Christian Chaldeans, Syrians and Assyrians to flee. Military operations against the Islamic Caliphate, also supported by a US-led coalition aim at reconquering and liberating Mosul and the entire region, in the hands of Sunni jihadists.<br />In recent days, there have been leaflets circulating in Mosul inciting the local population to rebel to militiamen of the Caliphate, announcing the imminent offensive for the release of the second Iraqi city. In this context, some political activists of acronyms and Christian parties return to claim that the future structure of the region, after the eventual defeat of the jihadists, will have to provide for the establishment of a "Christian" autonomous province in the Nineveh Plain.<br />A perspective that the Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk considers a harbinger of new problems for the indigenous Christian communities. "For 35 years - explains to Fides Mgr. Yousif Thoma - any discussion and political project in Iraq were cancelled by the dictatorship of the Baath regime. When the regime collapsed, with the intervention of the US Army, we entered a period of turmoil in which political plans surfaced which were not based on a thorough analysis".<br />In this context – explains the Chaldean Archbishop - "anyone who speaks of an autonomous region for the Christians alligns themselves with the plan that aims at the division of Iraq on a sectarian basis, on the model of what happened in the former Yugoslavia. And this is very dangerous, especially for all small and minority groups, which include also the Christian communities".<br />The offensive launched in northern Iraq by Sunni jihadists confirm, according to Mgr. Yousif Thoma, that "when claims for control of areas on sectarian basis are triggered, no one is saved, starting from Christians". The only realistic prospective that can favor the permanence of the indigenous Christian community in Iraq is, accordng to the Chaldean Archbishop, in promoting the maturation of a national political consciousness in the Sunnis and Shiites majority groups. "Everyone wants to get his piece of cake, and small sectarian states always fighting with their neighbors will be created, and this is against our own good, and against our future". Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/HAITI - The Church ready to intervene to ensure the country's political future au Prince - The spokesman of the "Episcopal Commission for Mediation" , Mgr. Patrick Aris said that the Catholic Church is waiting for the synthesis of the various proposals on political consultations, which emerged during the meeting held in the National Palace on 24 November. The meeting was attended by President Martelly, political representatives and CEM.<br />The note sent to Fides by a local source reports that a statement from the President is expected shortly. "The speech to the nation that the Head of State will address in the next few days has its importance. The main thing is the content of the declaration", said Mgr. Patrick Aris in an interview with Haiti Press Network.<br />According to the representative of the Church, the "synthesis" of the various proposals to end the crisis should be able to really help find a solution. Since the beginning of the political and social crisis experienced in the last few months, the Catholic Church in Haiti has played a key role . Now the concern is growing because the political situation tends to worsen and the Bishops' Conference is considering the possibility of a new intervention. "We have already met with members of civil society who have accepted a vaster mediation" revealed Mgr. Aris, recalling that CEM has not yet ruled on the right to invite representatives of other sectors to join the team of mediation.<br />Given the complexity of the socio-political situation, the Catholic Church believes that dialogue or negotiations between the protagonists is more than ever necessary. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - The Vicar General of Bouar: "Fr. Mateusz is fine and was released without the use of force" - Fr. Mateusz Dziedzic, the Fidei Donum Polish priest is fine. He was kidnapped in mid-October in the Central African Republic and was released yesterday, November 26. This was reported to Agenzia Fides by the Vicar General of the diocese of Bouar, Fr. Mirek Gucwa. "We were told about the release of Fr. Mateusz yesterday and in the evening we were able to speak to him over the phone. He said he is fine", says Fr. Mirek.<br />"Fr. Mateusz was released along with 15 other hostages of Cameroonian nationality, in the territory of Cameroon", says the Vicar General of Bouar. The hostages, including the Polish priest, were seized by the "Front Démocratique du Peuple Centrafricain ", whose leader, Abdoulaye Miskin, is held in Cameroon.<br />A statement of the President of the Republic of Cameroon, Paul Biya, sent to Agenzia Fides says that the release of 15 hostages in Cameroon, kidnapped between 20 September and 24 October in the east of the Country, was possible thanks to "a special operation conducted by the armed forces and security in Cameroon". The statement also recognizes the "significant contribution" of the President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, mediator in the Central African crisis, for the release of hostages.<br />According to Fr. Mirek, to the extent known, the latter were not released through a military operation and are waiting for the release of 10 hostages still held by the Central African nationality group. "Hopefully they will be released soon", he says. Currently "Fr. Mateusz is in Brazzaville, where he met President Sassou Nguesso" adds Fr. Mirek.<br />The Apostolic Vicar reports that in Bouar the situation is calm thanks to the presence of a MINUSCA contingent , formed by the military of Cameroon, Bangladesh and Morocco. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Justice for the massacre in Maguindanao: the relatives of the victims write to the Pope - Relatives of the victims killed in the "Massacre in Maguindanao" - the kidnapping and barbaric execution of 46 people in Maguindanao province took place on November 23, 2009 - have appealed to Pope Francis so he can help end the culture of impunity. As Fides learns, the victims complain that, five years after the crime, justice has not been done yet. Several journalists were killed in the massacre while they were following the parade of a political candidate. Rowena C. Paraan, President of the National Union of Filipino Journalists hopes that the story comes to the attention of the Argentine Pope, expressing the hope that "the message is actually delivered to the Pope" who will visit the country from 15 to 19 January 2015. The relatives of the victims are asking the Pope to "comfort the afflicted".<br />Recently the NGO "Human Rights Watch" called on the Philippine government to do more to stop extra-judicial killings which regularly remain unpunished. Some mayors and police officers of Philippine cities are also accused of "aiding and abetting the killings." According to a report published by Human Rights Watch, in the period between 2008 and 2013, there were 298 extrajudicial executions in the Philippines, all unpunished. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/CHINA - A group of doctors provide free health service in the diocese of Hai Men Men – To give witness to the Gospel through the works of charity: is the reason that led to the formation of the "Group of Divine Providence" that offers free health service to Catholics and non-Catholics in the Diocese of Hai Men , in Jiang Su province, mainland China. <br />The announcement of this new service, offered equally to all, was given at the end of the celebration of the feast of Christ the King, on Sunday, November 23.<br />According to information gathered by Agenzia Fides, the diocese sent two nuns to study medicine a decade ago and to give witness of the faith and charity of Catholics. The group is formed by Catholic doctors who have modern technological equipment to carry out ultrasounds, electrocardiograms ....<br />The Diocese of Hai Men has a long history. The first Bishop was His Exc. Mgr. Simon Zhu Kai Min , who was ordained at the Vatican by Pope Pius XI in 1926, with the first group of Chinese bishops.<br />Despite the shortage of priests and religious women, the diocese has always been very active in pastoral and charitable works, highlighting the presence of Catholics in society. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/LEBANON - For Patriarch Rai dialogue between Hezbollah and Sunni of the "Future" Movement would take Lebanon out of its crisis - According to Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, "if the dialogue between Hezbollah and the 'Future' Movement starts then we would have started the departure from the black tunnel in Lebanon". This is what the Primate of the Maronite Church told reporters in Beirut’s international A upon his return from Rome on Tuesday, November 25. The opening of a possible dialogue between the Shiite faction of Hezbollah and Sunni, represents a chance to break the stalemate that has paralyzed the political and institutional life of Lebanon for months, and that has so far prevented the election of a new President, after the former head of State Michel Sleiman ended his mandate in May.<br />The Lebanese system reserves the presidential office to a Maronite Christian, but the Christian leaders belonging to different blocks that dominate the Lebanese political scene have so far failed to agree on a candidate, and with their vetoes have contributed decisively to an institutional paralysis. The ongoing stalemate in the country’s political institutions stems fro te lack of dialogue between the country’s rival factions. The Shiite Nabih Berri, president of the Lebanese parliament, said that an important support at the beginning of the new phase of dialogue between the Shiite and Sunni faction, was delivered through diplomatic channels, even by the US and Saudi Arabia, a Country that has a strong influence on the "Future" Movement. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/RWANDA - Appointment of the Bishop of Gikongoro City - on 26 November 2014 the Holy Father appointed Rev. Hazikimana Célestin, of the clergy of Kigali, Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda as Bishop of the diocese of Gikongoro .<br />The newly-elected Bishop was born on 14 August 1963 in the parish of the Holy Family of the Archdiocese of Kigali. He attended secondary schools at the St Vincent Rulindo minor Seminary and then in Ndera . In 1985 he entered the preparatory Seminary of Rulindo and completed his studies in philosophy and theology at the Interdiocesano Nyakibanda Major Seminary, in Butare. He was ordained a priest on 21 July 1991.<br />Since then he has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles: 1991-1992: Assistant priest in Rutongo; 1992-1994: Diocesan Representative for Catholic Education; 1994-1996: Director of the San Paolo National Centre in Kigali; 1997-1998: Diocesan Representative for Catholic Education; 1998-2003: Director of GEMECA-Rwanda; 2003-2010: Higher studies of Theology in Naples, where he obtained a Doctorate in Dogmatic Theology at St. Thomas University. Since 2011: Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/TURKMENISTAN - "We have built a Church of living stones", says the Superior of the Missio sui iuris - "Sharing the joy of faith in Christ, we are happy to share with all the grace and joy that comes from faith. This joy arrived in Turkmenistan 18 years ago as a great gift. We still do not have a church made of brick or wood. But we built our Church of living stones". This was stated in a note sent to Agenzia Fides by Fr. Andrzej Madej, OMI, Superior of Missio sui iuris in Turkmenistan, established in 1997 by Pope John Paul II. Fr. Madej lives and works there, with a community of confreres, as a representative of the Holy See to Ashgabat.<br />"We live in a country that only twenty years ago was still part of the Soviet empire. In this country - explains the missionary - one tried to build a society without God, or even a society opposed to God. Today the local Church is run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and takes care of a Catholic community of about 150 people. They attend Mass in Russian and in English. It takes about three years to prepare our catechumens for Baptism".<br />"Our community prays in a rented building, but enthusiasm is not lacking, while the number of people who come to Church continues to grow. Our Church is always trying to be a source of joy and light overlooking the Kara-Kum desert, spreading the message of love, solidarity and hope of Jesus, always trying to respect the culture and traditions of this beautiful country" continues the Superior.<br />"We have witnessed how these years of life without God have left many wounds: broken families, domestic violence, wounded humanity, loss of sense of life. Many mass graves have been found. The nation lives on the ruins of ideologies without God. Now is the time of reconciliation, the beginning of renewal, of a new life, of new links and new hopes. About 18 years ago a Catholic community was reborn in the land of Turkmenistan. The Good News fascinates and attracts people to Jesus. The Word of God has the power to bring together those who have been scattered 'like sheep without a shepherd'. Today the Church is a community of reconciliation, which heals the wounds of separation, heal hearts, gives new peace and revives confidence", concludes Fr. Madej. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/MADAGASCAR - Nearly two million children have dropped out of school to work - In Madagascar 1 million 800 thousand children have left school and are engaged in work activities. To try to sensitize the people on the harsh reality that deprives children of their fundamental rights such as education, the Agua de Coco Foundation has just inaugurated a photo exhibition "Child Labor: the reality of children in Madagascar, at the López Villaseñor Museum of Villa Real in Spain. Agua de Coco is a Foundation which is dedicated to international cooperation, awareness-raising and development education. The goal is to help improve the quality of life of marginalized groups in the Countries of the southern hemisphere, with particular attention to childhood and family environment. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Sexual violence on women: a forgotten medical emergency - Sexual violence should be treated as a medical emergency and survivors should be guaranteed accessible and comprehensive medical treatment, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.<br />In Colombia, 80% of survivors of sexual violence treated by MSF between June 2012 and August 2013 had not looked for help in local health structures. The obstacles to their seeking health and psychological help were: the lack of awareness that an assault requires medical attention; not considering they had suffered sexual violence; threats by the perpetrator, and shyness, among others. <br />It is crucial that survivors of sexual violence get medical attention within the first 72 hours of an attack, in order to provide prophylaxis to prevent HIV/AIDS, and to administer antibiotics that will help prevent infections. Apart from the physical consequences, sexual violence has a devastating psychological impact. Almost all the survivors show symptoms such as aggression, sadness, excessive fear, irritability or anger, and anxiety or stress. Less than one in every three woman treated by MSF had received psychological support after their assault. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/DR CONGO - The massacres in Beni: carried out by a criminal network made up of guerrillas and corrupt military – There are about 120 victims due to the massacres perpetrated in the territory of Beni, in North Kivu, during the month of October. The massacres are attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces , an armed group of Ugandan origin but active in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, as stated in a note sent to Agenzia Fides by the Network for Peace in Congo on the latest episodes of violence in the region .<br />The document, citing recent studies, traces a more complex scenario in which the ADF is often used as a pretext by others. "According to the journalist Caroline Hellyer - the report says - it is possible that the recent massacres committed in the territory of Beni were carried out by the ADF, but could also have been committed by some Mai-Mai militiamen since they have close links with the ADF. When they have common interests, in fact, the ADF and some Mai-Mai armed groups can work together, and then dissociate when there are no more common interests. According to the journalist, it should be recalled that the ADF have been living in the eastern DRC for over 25 years and therefore, have created and maintained strong local connections".<br />"The members of the ADF have mingled with the population. Some of them may be neighbors. Others may be active only temporarily. In short, the ADF are part of a wider network, consisting of local politicians and military officers, strongmen and groups based on economic interests. This criminal network has often taken precedence over certain areas of trade, the local economy, society, army, politics and administration".<br />In order to resolve this situation, one needs to initiate investigations on the true origin of the attacks and massacres perpetrated in the territory of Beni against civilian populations and punish the perpetrators and accomplices of these massacres; initiate investigations into the embezzlement of military salaries by certain officers of the army and on the illegal trade in which other military officers are involved; make the necessary changes in the chain of command of the operational area of Beni, in order to have a military command above all suspicion. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/INDIA - Christian missionaries labeled "enemies of Hindus" Delhi - Christian missionaries are identified among the five biggest enemies of Hindus: is what is said in a pamphlet distributed at World Hindu Congress 2014 which has just ended in Delhi. As Fides learns, other "sworn enemies of Hindus" highlighted in the text are: Islam, Marxism, materialism, "Macaulayismo" . <br />These concepts, expression of Hindutva ideology found space during the Congress, given the massive presence of militants and radical organizations.<br />"The combination of forces and anti-Hindus is weakening Indian society", is what is said and therefore the faithful are invited to counter the cultural system in force. The pamphlet defines Islam "poisonous", criticizes the cultural and religious pluralism and the approach of Christian missionaries who "wickedly introduce the value system of their own western societies"<br />World Hindu Congress in 2014 was attended by over 1,500 delegates from 40 countries. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Peace talks in Cuba must continue - Despite their recent statements, FARC show a willingness to continue the peace negotiations underway in Havana: this is what the Archbishop of Tunja, President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia , His Exc. Mgr. Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga said. "They say so many things that sometimes we do not like, but the important thing is that when they refer to peace talks they demonstrate reliability and seriousness in their commitment", said Mgr. Castro Quiroga, according to the note sent to Fides by CEC. A few days ago FARC in fact had publicly stated: "what is happening in Colombia must be solved in Colombia, while dialogue in Cuba must continue".<br />On November 24, Mgr. Castro Quiroga met with the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, together with Father Dario Echeverry, secretary of the Commission for National Reconciliation. The meeting was also attended by the chief negotiator of the government team, Humberto de la Calle, Ministers advisers of the Presidency and retired General Oscar Naranjo. After the meeting the Archbishop reiterated the support of the Catholic Church to continue peace talks.<br />In recent days, Colombia has experienced significant events linked to the path for peace: the kidnapping by FARC of an army general, along with four soldiers and a civilian ; the suspension, by President Santos Calderón, of dialogues for the ongoing peace in Cuba ; the declaration of FARC, on November 18, of wanting to continue dialogue for lasting peace; the release of 2 soldiers kidnapped along with the general, as a sign of commitment to continue peace negotiations. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/NICARAGUA - The Bishops of Central America gather: Communication in the culture of encounter - Since Monday, November 24, 60 Bishops have gathered in Managua for the Annual Assembly of the Bishops' Secretariat of Central America . Within this meeting a short communication course is taking place held by an expert of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Department of Communications of the Latin American Bishops Council .<br />In the note sent to Agenzia Fides, the President of SEDAC, His Exc. Mgr. José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, Archbishop of Panama, thanks the President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, His Exc. Mgr. Claudio Maria Celli, and the President of the Communications Department of CELAM, Mgr. Adalberto Martínez for their presence, together with the team of specialists.<br />"For us this communication course is important in order to form ourselves in this culture of encounter and digital culture, in the exercise of our episcopal ministry", said Archbishop Ulloa.<br />In his first speech, Archbishop Celli reflected on "communication at the service of communion" and pastoral challenges, retracing the magisterium of the Popes, from the Vatican II to the present, in the field of communication. <br />The Assembly will end on 29 November. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100VATICAN - The First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking - The First "International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking" will be celebrated in all dioceses and parishes in the world, in the groups and schools on 8 February 2015, the Feast Day of Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave, freed, who became a Canossian nun, and was declared a Saint in 2000. The initiative is promoted by the Pontifical Council of Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General . <br />The statement sent to Agenzia Fides highlights that "the primary objective of the International Day is to create greater awareness on this phenomenon and to reflect on the overall situation of violence and injustice that affect so many people, who have no voice, do not count, and are no one: they are simply slaves. Another goal is to attempt to provide solutions to counter this modern form of slavery by taking concrete actions".<br />The phenomenon concerns the whole world. According to official data roughly 21 million people, often very poor and vulnerable, are victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced labour and begging, illegal organ removal, domestic servitude and forced marriages, illegal adoption and other forms of exploitation.<br />Each year, around 2.5 million people are victims of trafficking and slavery. On the other hand, for traffickers and pimps, this is one of the most lucrative illegal activities in the world, generating a total of 32 billion dollars a year. It is the third most profitable “business” after drugs and arms trafficking. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100