The third International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons will be celebrated on February 8, 2017, with the theme: “They are children! Not slaves!” This event is celebrated on the Feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita, a Canossian Sister who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Sudan. We will observe this Feast day as a Day of Prayer and fasting for Victims of Trafficking and for those who work to combat it. Starting January 11 and ending on February 8 we invite you to join us in a Daily Prayer to End Human Trafficking.

Roots of Human Trafficking: Reflections with Pope Francis

Prayer proposed for the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking

O GodSt Josephine Bakhita, 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.

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,” he said. (Source: Catholic news Services Dec 12, 2013)

To read more about St Josephine Bakhita, click here.

To watch a video of the story of St. Josephine below.

To commemorate the day, the Vatican released a statement that underscores 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.” [Source: First National Day of Prayer and Reflection on Human Trafficking November 26, 2014]

The Vatican ended by stating that another goal is to attempt to provide solutions to counter this modern form of slavery by taking concrete actions. 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.” [Source: First National Day of Prayer and Reflection on Human Trafficking November 26, 2014]

The theme of the Holy Father’s Message for the 48th World Day of Peace, which was held on January 1st, was “Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters”: To read the full text, click here.

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.

Starting January 11 and ending on February 8, 2017, we invite you to join us in a Daily Prayer to End Human Trafficking. 



new Read Pope Francis’ address to Religious leaders at the ceremony of signing of the
Declaration of Religious Leaders against Slavery in the Vatican on December 2, 2014 .


To learn more about how the Archdiocese is providing greater awareness, education and calls to action with the Anti Human Trafficking Ministry, click here.



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