February 8 – International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Trafficking

St. Josephine was born in the Sudan and sold into slavery. She is the patron saint of trafficking victims.

In 2015, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General designated February 8, the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, as an annual day of prayer for victims of trafficking.  On this day, Catholics worldwide are encouraged to pray for the victims of human trafficking and increase their awareness of this grave human rights violation.

During a General Audience on February 7, 2018, Pope Francis reminded everyone of the theme for the 2018 observance, “Migration Without Trafficking: Yes to Freedom, No to Slavery,” which highlights the exploitation of migrants without official travel documentation.  In his appeal, the Holy Father commented: “Having few possibilities of regular channels, many migrants decide to venture by other ways, where often abuses of all sorts await them, exploitation and being reduced to slavery.” Pope Francis concluded his appeal: “Therefore I invite all, citizens and institutions, to join forces to prevent trafficking and guarantee protection and assistance to the victims. Let us all pray so that the Lord will convert the heart of traffickers – this is an awful word, traffickers of persons.”

“Become A Shepherd,” is an anti-trafficking resource available on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Click here to review this information.