Wednesday, 8 February, is the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese nun, who as a child had the traumatic experience of being a victim of human trafficking. Organised by Talitha Kum , the Unions of Superiors and Superiors General of Religious Institutes together with representatives from an international group of partner organisations, are promoting a Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.
“Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
“Journeying in dignity” is the theme of this 9th International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, on the 8th February 2023. In the past year (2022) the number of both at-risk groups and people suffering from trafficking violence has increased. This can be explained by the exploitation of vulnerabilities caused by instability due to armed conflicts, generalised violence, and climate-environmental and economic crises.
Those attempting to flee in hope of safety or employment have found themselves at the mercy of inadequate laws to protect migrants and find themselves more easily entangled in the webs woven by traffickers. In addition, traffickers have increased their use of information technology for recruitment and exploitation, luring victims on social media and posting false job ads on the Internet.
In this context, we are called to keep hope and the values that guide our being and acting alive. This is the meaning of the theme of the 9th International Day of Prayer, chosen by an international group of 10 young representatives of partner organisations and four young communication experts.
Journeying in dignity against human trafficking
Our commitment has as a horizon the dignity of every person, leaving no one behind. This is our journey:
- Walking with open eyes to recognise the processes that lead millions of people, especially young people, to exploitation and human trafficking;
- Walking with an attentive heart to discover the daily paths of thousands of people in search of freedom and dignity, paths of care, inclusion, and empowerment;
- Walking with hope guiding our feet to promote anti-trafficking actions that make us rediscover dignity, reawaken the joy of living and release hope, letting ourselves be inspired by young people’s creativity and spiritual strength;
- Walking together hand in hand to build a culture of encounter that leads to the conversion of hearts and inclusive societies, capable of unmasking stereotypes and protecting the rights of every person.
The 9th International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking is an invitation to journey with migrant populations, as pilgrims of human dignity, pilgrims of hope, together, young people, adults and children, people of different religious traditions, different cultures and generations.
Together we recognise the gift that each person is, against all forms of exploitation and human trafficking. To this end, it is crucial to encourage and increase paths of education and awareness. Because: “every change calls for an educational process that involves everyone. There is thus a need to create an ‘educational village’, in which all people, according to their respective roles, share the task of forming a network of open, human relationships.” (Message of Pope Francis for the launch of the Global compact on education – September 12th, 2019).
We are all pilgrims on this land. We must not be afraid to “dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travellers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, […] brothers and sisters all” (Pope Francis FT, 8).
(Text above has been extracted from the Presentation Theme Document prepared by preghieracontrotratta.org for this 9th International Day 2023) See: https://preghieracontrotratta.org/
Against Human Trafficking
Let us pray:
St. Josephine Bakhita,
you were sold into slavery as a child
and endured unspeakable hardship and suffering.
Once liberated from your physical enslavement,
you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church.
St. Josephine Bakhita, assist all those who are entrapped in slavery;
Intercede on their behalf with the God of Mercy so that the chains
of their captivity will be broken.
May God himself free all those who have been threatened,
wounded or mistreated by the trade and trafficking of human beings.
Bring comfort to survivors of this slavery and
teach them to look to Jesus as an example of hope and faith
so that they may find healing from their wounds.
We ask you to pray for us and to intercede on behalf of us all:
that we may not fall into indifference,
that we may open our eyes and
be able to see the misery and wounds of our many brothers and sisters
deprived of their dignity and their freedom,
and may we hear their cry for help.
Some useful resources to download:
February 8, 2023 from 9.30 am to 4:30 am (CET)
English, Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese
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