The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration has designated February 8, the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, as an annual Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Human Trafficking. St. Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.
“On that day, we will lift our voices loudly in prayer, hope, and love for trafficking victims and survivors,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the Committee. “If just one person realizes from this day that they or someone they know is being trafficked, we will have made a difference.”
Catholics are invited to pray for the emotional, physical, and spiritual healing, and make a personal commitment to work against human trafficking. Catholics are also encouraged to host awareness-raising events educating their parishes and communities about human trafficking in whichever way they choose, be it a Mass, a film screening, or an information session. In early 2014, USCCB will work to educate parishes throughout the country on human trafficking, with release of educational materials during National Migration Week (January 5-11) and the February 8 Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Human Trafficking.
USCCB is a founding member of the Coalition of Catholic Organizations against Human Trafficking, whose main goals are to educate Catholics about human trafficking, to promote responsible consumer practices, and to support national legislation that combats human trafficking. More information is found at USCCB’s Anti-Trafficking Program.
Learn more at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops article: USCCB Committee on Migration Designates February 8 as a Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Human Trafficking.