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Pope Francis invites us to hear the cry 

of the human trafficking victims

Vatican 8 February 2020 -- While 20 July is United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons, established to raise awareness of the plight of human trafficking victims, and promote and protect their rights, the Catholic Church reminds us on the Feast of Saint Bakhita, 8th of February. Let us take this opportunity to give hope to trafficking victims, pledge to do our part and help end this terrible crime.

In his February prayer intention, Pope Francis invites everyone to pay attention to the cry of migrants - refugees who are very often victims of human trafficking, smuggling of persons to rich countries around the globe.

The UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) states: "We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also millions of stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. In a world where nearly one person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution, our work at UNHCR is more important than ever before."

The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita (1969-1947) Sudan-Italian Cannosian Sister, who was sold five times in the slave market between Darfur and El-Obeid (Sudan) at the age of 8 years. After the armed turmoil in Sudan she was brought by an Italian owner to Veneto (Italy) where she was baptized and became a Canossian religious sister.

Under Pope Francis, there is more attention to the plea of migrant and refugees, many of them also victims of human trafficking: The Vatican 'Pastoral Orientation on Human trafficking' (ed. 2019). And the 'Santa Marta Group' was inspired and started by Pope Francis himself in 2014, to combat the modern slavery and bring together the women religious deeply involved in the assistance to human trafficking victims (mostly women and minors) and law enforcement (police or boarders military). At present is active in more than 50 different countries in all continents. Saint Bakhita is the saint patron of Santa Marta group. We pray to her to end the modern slavery:

Prayer to Saint Josephine Bakhita

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the inspiring example of Saint Josephine Bakhita.

Saint Josephine Bakhita,

you were enslaved as a child; you were bought and sold, you were treated brutally. Intercede, we implore you, for all those who are trapped in trafficking and slavery. May their captors let them go, and may this evil be erased from the face of the earth.

Saint Josephine Bakhita, once you regained your freedom, you did not let your sufferings define your life. You chose a path of kindness and generosity. Help those blinded by greed and lust who trample the human rights and dignity of their brothers and sisters. Help them to break out of their hateful chains, to become fully human again, and to imitate your kindness and generosity.

Dear Saint Josephine Bakhita, your freedom drew you to Christ and his Church. Then God called you to religious life as a Canossian Sister. You practiced great charity, mercy and joyful gentleness in your vocation. Help us always to be like you, especially when we feel tempted to look away and not to help, to reject others or even to abuse them. Intercede for us so that Christ may fill our hearts with joy as he always filled yours.

O Loving God, pour your merciful light into our troubled world. Let it flood into the darkest shadows. Bring salvation to the innocents who suffer under sinful abuse. Bring conversion to the utterly lost souls who hold them captive and exploit them. Give us all the strength to grow in the true freedom of love for you, for each other and for our common home."

Let's make February 8 a special day for our own awareness of human trafficking and listen to the victims!

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  • vaclav 2020.02.08 13:04

    Saint Josephine BAKHITA

    Very important modern saint! 

    Human trafficking is still a major problem in our society it is manifest in many ways 

    in many countries by many people it shows itself as a curse on modern society 

    and needs to be stopped.

    As Salesians we need to make sure our mission countries (especially the poorer countries) 

    are free from such things this is where this great & wonderful saint comes in to play

    St Josephine Bakhita pray for us!

    Br. David (AUL)

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