A Crime Against Humanity – Modern Day Slavery
Pope Francis has strongly denounced, many times, the trafficking of human beings, defining it as “a crime against humanity” and calling on everyone to get involved in looking after the victims. Responding to the Holy Father’s plea, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, has designated February 8th as an annual day of prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking. February 8th is the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped from her home in the Sudan at age 7 and sold into slavery. Once Josephine was freed she became a Cannosian Sister and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.
The day of prayer on February 8th is intended to raise awareness of and encourage reflection on the violence and injustice that impact victims of human trafficking.
Each year, approximately 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. This horrific crime continues to grow and is now the 2nd most profitable “business” just behind the illegal drug trade.
We are all called to build a civilization based on the equal dignity of every person and join efforts to eliminate the scourge of human trafficking. Please join the Missionary Sisters and the Cabrinian community in praying the special intentions listed on the next page for each day leading up to February 8th. On the 8th we will join together in praying the prayer written by our own Sr. Veronica Piccone, MSC. During these days, let each of us pray for the emotional, physical and spiritual healing of victims, and make a personal commitment to work against human trafficking.
Daily Special Intentions:
Sunday, February 1st
There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today—more than any other time in history. Pray for an awakening to move like wildfire in our country and around the world to bring an end to slavery once and for all.
Monday, February 2nd
Children below the age of 18 years represent between 40 to 50% of all forced labor victims. Pray for these children specifically as they spend their childhoods working, being abused, and having their innocence stolen.
Tuesday, February 3rd
After drug dealing, human trafficking (both sex trafficking and trafficking for forced labor) is now the second largest criminal industry in the world today, and it is the fastest growing. Pray for the men and women who are wrapped up in this evil and darkness. Ask Jesus for an awakening among the worst offenders and that they would repent and instead become a force for freedom.
Wednesday, February 4th
Worldwide, there are nearly two million children in the commercial sex trade. Pray specifically for these children who are being abused, raped, and treated inhumanely today.
Thursday, February 5th
There are an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 children, women and men trafficked across international borders annually. Pray for the many women and children who are being trafficked this very moment to another country.
Friday, February 6th
Pray for pimps selling girls on the streets. Pray that their hearts will be changed and radical transformation will happen in their lives causing them to no longer abuse and force sex on girls.
Saturday, February 7th
The total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be in excess of $37 billion. Protect our hearts from greed and evil. Open our eyes to what is good and move us to fight for justice.
Sunday, February 8th
International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking
Prayer to End Human Trafficking
O Lord, you said you came: “to set the captives free.”
In our world young men and women who are trafficked are modern day slaves.
Help these young people not to lose hope.
Give the grace for elected officials to grow in awareness of and to take active steps to eradicate this horror.
Teach them not to prosecute the victims of trafficking but to bring to justice those who perpetrate this crime.
Lord, give the grace of conversion to those who mistreat unfortunates for their own personal gain.
May demand decrease as people realize that prostitution is a crime against human dignity, forced upon these people, who are more victim than anything else.
May the awareness of this horrendous crime spread throughout the world and may many join the efforts to stop trafficking and help the victims begin anew, filled with hope.
We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
~ Sr. Veronica Piccone, MSC