The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General has designated February 8 as an International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking. February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she became a Canossian sister 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. In 2014, Catholic Sisters petitioned the Vatican and Pope Francis to endorse an International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking (IDPA). When Pope Francis agreed, he asked the sisters if they had a day in mind when this worldwide observance should be held. The response was immediate: February 8 – the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita! The International Union of Superiors General (UISG) was charged with promoting this event, and the first IDPA was celebrated on February 8, 2015.
The 2019 prayer theme is “Together Against Human Trafficking”. This is an opportunity to highlight the practice of child trafficking, the connection between human trafficking and migration, and to shine a light on the often-hidden crime of human trafficking. Over the years, gathering in prayer has facilitated collaboration and overcoming boundaries with those working on other issues such as human rights, rights of the child, migration, etc. Human trafficking is a great tragedy that requires us to come together and join forces for the common good. On February 8, Catholics all over the world are encouraged to host or attend prayer services to create greater awareness about this modern-day slavery. 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.
You can click on this link for a prayer service to remember victims of human trafficking and St. Josephine Bakhita.2019- BakhitaPryrService
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, California have shared this Prayer Calendar beginning on January 11th and continuing until the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of trafficked person. Click here to download the calendar. 2019 HT Prayer Calendar
Visit the Justice and Peace page to learn more about this modern day slavery and see available resources,