Thursday 8th February: 4th International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking
The feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita (1869 to 1947) is 8th February. She was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in southern Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she became a Canossian nun and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.
She was declared a Saint in 2000 and is the Patron Saint for Anti-Trafficking in the Catholic faith.
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General has designated 8th February, her feast day, as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking.
On that day Catholics all over the world are encouraged to host or attend prayer services to create greater awareness against human trafficking and for those who work to end human trafficking.. Through prayer, we not only reflect on the experiences of those that have suffered through this affront to human dignity, but also comfort, strengthen, and help empower victims and survivors.
Pope Francis has stated, “Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity.” “It’s a disgrace that people are treated as objects, deceived, raped, often sold many times for different purposes and, in the end, killed or, in any case, physically and mentally damaged, ending up thrown away and abandoned.”
“I encourage those who work helping the men, women and children who are enslaved, exploited, abused as instruments of work or pleasure, who are often tortured and mutilated. It is my hope that government leaders may work decisively to remove the causes of this disgraceful scourge, it is a scourge unworthy of society. May each one of us feel committed to being a voice for our brothers and sisters, who have been humiliated in their dignity”
Prayer to end Human Trafficking
O God, when we hear of children and adults
deceived and taken to unknown places
for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, and organ ‘harvesting’,
our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry
that their dignity and rights are ignored through threats, lies, and force.
We cry out against the evil practice of this modern slavery,
and pray with Saint Bakhita for it to end.
Give us wisdom and courage to reach out
and stand with those whose bodies, hearts and spirits
have been so wounded, so that together we may
make real your promises to fill these sisters and brothers
with a love that is tender and good.
Send the exploiters away empty-handed
to be converted from this wickedness,
and help us all to claim the freedom
that is your gift to your children.