World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking
Sunday 07 February 2016 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
They left everything and followed him
Monday February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita and the world day of prayer, reflection and action against human trafficking. Josephine was born in Southern Sudan in 1869, and died in 1947. As a child, she was kidnapped 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. Eventually she joined the Canossian Sisters, living a life of prayer and service for fifty years. She was canonised in 2000.
Human trafficking and slavery continue in our own day and have become global issues. Pope Francis challenges us to put an end to human trafficking, which he describes as ‘a crime against humanity’.
Sometimes people are astonished to hear that in Australia there are examples of people who have been trafficked into our country. Han*, a construction worker on a building site, has worked for many months in Canberra, but his trafficker disappeared taking with him Han’s wages and that of his co-workers’. Lin* had been caught in a poverty trap of being prostituted in order to survive. She was brought to Australia where she thought she would earn a lot of money. Instead, when she arrived she was told she owed her trafficker, $50,000. Fatima* was a housekeeper in Sydney. She fled after being enslaved in her workplace and not receiving any wages. (*names have been changed to protect identities)
What action can we take on the issue of trafficking?
- LEARN about human trafficking – globally and locally
- PRAY, not only today and tomorrow but throughout this Year of Mercy for victims of human trafficking and for an end to slavery
- DEMAND that the products you buy are slave-free in their production. Buy FAIRTRADE tea, coffee, chocolate, clothing
- ADVOCATE for change that brings about and end to human trafficking