Each year, thousands of people are deceived and sold into slavery as forced laborers, compelled into prostitution or begging.
The International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking 2021 brings into the spotlight one of the main causes of human trafficking: the dominant economic model of our time, whose limits and contradictions are exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Human trafficking is an integral part of this economy: victims of trafficking are as commodities falling into the mechanisms of a globalization ruled by financial speculation and competition spurred by below-cost pricing.
On February 8, Catholics all over the world are encouraged to host or attend prayer services to create greater awareness about this phenomenon. 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 survivors.
This day of prayer and awareness coincides with the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita. Born in Darfur, Sudan, around 1889, she was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery. At age 27, having been sold multiple times, St. Josephine was awarded her freedom in an Italian court and became a religious sister. She died on February 8, 1947 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000. Pope Francis, in 2015, declared her feast day the first international day for prayer and reflection on human trafficking.
Access here to pastoral resources released by the Holy See's Migrants & Refugees Section, created by Pope Francis to help the Church to accompany refugees, those who are forced to migrate or are victims of human trafficking. Click on document