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Report finds 46 million people around the world in modern slavery.

An estimated 45.8 million men, women, and children around the world are currently trapped in modern slavery - 28% more than previously estimated, according to the Walk Free Foundation's 2016 Global Slavery Index.

The Foundation said that modern-day slaves are enslaved through human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, or commercial sexual exploitation.

North Korea is the country with the greatest prevalence of modern slavery, with 4.37% of its population estimated to be enslaved. It is also the country with the weakest government response, in terms of actions taken against modern slavery. The next highest prevalence of slavery is found in Uzbekistan (3.97%), followed by Cambodia (1.65%).

In terms of absolute numbers, India remains the highest, with an estimated 18.35 million enslaved people, followed by China (3.39m), Pakistan (2.13m), Bangladesh (1.53m) and Uzbekistan (1.23m). Combined, these five countries account for almost 58% of the world's modern slaves, or 26.6 million people, the Index found.

The 2016 Global Slavery Index represents a 28% rise in reported slavery from the 2014 edition. This significant increase is due to enhanced data collection and research methodology. Survey research for the 2016 Global Slavery Index included over 42,000 interviews conducted in 53 languages across 25 countries, including 15 state-level surveys in India. These representative surveys cover 44% of the global population.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for approximately 13.6% (6,245,800) of the world's total enslaved population. Within the region, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, and the Central African Republic have the highest prevalence of modern slavery (all at 1.13%).

As evident from surveys conducted in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia by the Walk Free Foundation, slavery in Sub-Saharan Africa takes the form of forced labour and forced marriage. In Ghana, survey results suggest a population of 103,300 people in modern forms of slavery, of which 85% are in forced labour, and 15% are in forced marriage. The main industries in which forced labour occurs are farming and fishing, retail sales, and then manual labour and factory work. In Nigeria, survey results suggest that forced labour occurs predominantly within the domestic sector, although it was impossible to carry out the survey in three regions which were active conflict zones. In South Africa, the industries most reported in the survey include the commercial sex industry, manual labour industries such as construction, manufacturing and factory work, and drug trafficking.

In Mauritania, the national survey revealed that 1.06% of the population are in some form of modern slavery. This represents a substantial decrease from previous estimates, but it is closer to the true figure due to the higher level of rigour in random sample surveys. While Mauritania has been the focus of extensive interest and reporting in the past, it has not had the benefit of a national survey until now. The extent of slavery in Mauritania is still high; but more reliable methods indicate that it is not as high as previously thought.

The Global Slavery Index also tracks government actions and responses to modern slavery. Of the 161 countries assessed, 124 have criminalised human trafficking in line with the UN Trafficking Protocol, and 96 have developed national action plans to co-ordinate government response. The governments leading the charge against modern slavery are The Netherlands, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Belgium and Norway.

Pope Francis Mission Intention for June

"That seminarians and men and women entering Religious Life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission." Let us Pray.

As followers of Christ we are all called to be missionaries. Pope Francis wrote that "if every baptized person is called to bear witness to the Lord Jesus by proclaiming the faith received as a gift, this is especially so for each consecrated man and woman. Since Christ's entire existence had a missionary character, so too, all those who follow him closely must possess this missionary quality" (World Mission Day Message, 2015).

He went on: "Mission is a passion for Jesus. When we pray before Jesus crucified, we see the depth of his love. At the same time, we realize that the love flowing from Jesus' pierced heart expands to embrace the People of God and all humanity."

Those who have experienced the deep love of the Heart of Jesus and give themselves totally to God's service as priests and religious sisters and brothers-these consecrated ones are called to share his passion for mission. They cannot keep the Good News of God's love to themselves. But they need preparation so that their initial experience of God's love may grow and so that they will know the best ways to share that love.

Seminarians and those beginning consecrated life in religious communities need teachers who will guard the spark that inspired them to serve God. They need joyful and wise mentors who will fan the spark into flame in such a way that it does not burn too fast and burn out but rather burn with the steady light and warmth that is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, "the burning furnace of charity."

Scripture (Acts 18: 24-28): Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.

Pope Francis General Intention for June

"That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find - even within the huge cities of the world - opportunities for encounter and solidarity." Let us Pray.

Solidarity is more than the name of a famous Polish political movement that brought about momentous change in the Communist world in the 1980s. It is an important part of the Church's social teaching.

True solidarity is the recognition that every human person is created by God and redeemed by Jesus. Thus, all people are equal before God and deserving of respect.

At the beginning of World War II, Pope Pius XII wrote: "A contemporary error is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, imposed both by our common origin and by the equality of all men. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross."

Pope St. John Paul II wrote that solidarity is "a firm determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all."

More recently, Pope Francis wrote that solidarity is the answer to the "scourges of our own day." Speaking to the United Nations and quoting from an Argentinian poet, he said: "Brothers should stand by each other, because this is the first law. If you fight among yourselves, you'll be devoured by those outside."

And so, in solidarity with people everywhere, we commit ourselves to praying and working this month for the common good so that all people, especially those who are alienated and abandoned may know they are not alone.

Scripture (1 Peter 5: 8-11): Keep sober and alert, because your enemy the devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Institute Intention for June

"That the members of the Comboni Family may be the seed of a new ministerial Church that proclaims the Kingdom and builds a better world." Lord hear us.

Prayer of the Month

"O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore you, I love you, and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer you this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to your will. Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions, give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Your blessing on all that I do and the grace of a holy death." Amen.

From the Comboni Missionaries' Novena Prayer to the Sacred Heart.

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