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Francis begins New Year with call to end slavery and human trafficking

Pope Francis leaves St Peter's Basilica after celebrating Mass on New Year's Day (CNS)

Pope Francis called for an end to slavery and human trafficking as he marked the World Day of Peace at a Mass on New Year’s Day.

Celebrating the Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, he called for a new, united global effort to end the exploitation of human beings.

According to a translation of his homily by Zenit, the Pope said: “May this gentle and loving Mother obtain for us the Lord’s blessing upon the entire human family. On this, the World Day of Peace, we especially implore her intercession that the Lord may grant peace in our day; peace in hearts, peace in families, peace among the nations.

“The message for the Day of Peace this year is ‘No Longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters’. All of us are called to be free, all are called to be sons and daughters, and each, according to his or her own responsibilities, is called to combat modern forms of enslavement. From every people, culture and religion, let us join our forces. May he guide and sustain us, who, in order to make us all brothers and sisters, became our servant.”

In his World Peace Day message, Francis condemned “man’s subjugation by man” and appealed to all men and women of good will to fight the scourge of slavery.