The Vatican has just issued the Holy Father's Message for the 92nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated on January 15, 2006, and has the theme of "Migrations, Sign of the Times." Extracts from the message are given below: "One of the recognisable signs of the times today is undoubtedly migration, a phenomenon which during the century just ended can be said to have taken on structural characteristics, becoming an important factor of the labour market world-wide, a consequence among other things of the enormous drive of globalisation. Naturally ... various factors play a part. They include both national and international migration, forced and voluntary migration, legal and illegal migration, subject also to the scourge of trafficking in human beings. Nor can the category of foreign students, whose numbers increase every year in the world, be forgotten. "With regard to those who emigrate for economic reasons, a recent fact deserving mention is the growing number of women involved. ... Female emigration tends to become more and more autonomous. Women cross the border of their homeland alone in search of work in another country. Indeed it often happens that the migrant woman becomes the principal source of income for her family. It is a fact that the presence of women is especially prevalent in sectors that offer low salaries. ... The most common employment opportunities for women, other than domestic work, consist in helping the elderly, caring for the sick and work in the hotel sector. These, too, are areas where Christians are called to dedicate themselves to assuring just treatment for migrant women out of respect for their femininity in recognition of their equal rights." The Pope goes on to refer to "trafficking in human beings, especially women. ... In some cases there are women and girls who are destined to be exploited almost like slaves in their work, and not infrequently in the sex industry too. ... I make my own the condemnation voiced by John Paul II against 'the widespread hedonistic and commercial culture which encourages the systematic exploitation of sexuality.' This outlines a whole program of redemption and liberation from which Christians cannot withdraw." Source: VIS
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