Today is the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita and the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, which Pope Francis observed following the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer. We are all invited to join the observance with this moving prayer:
O God, when we hear of children and adults deceived and taken to unknown places for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, and organ ‘harvesting’, our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are ignored through threats, lies, and force.
We cry out against the evil practice of this modern slavery, and pray with St. Bakhita for it to end.
Give us wisdom and courage to reach out and stand with those whose bodies, hearts and spirits have been so wounded, so that together we may make real your promises to fill these sisters and brothers with a love that is tender and good.
Send the exploiters away empty-handed to be converted from this wickedness, and help us all to claim the freedom that is your gift to your children. Amen.
To this I only add:
St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for the freedom of your brothers and sisters still enslaved. And pray for the freedom of their captors, and those who patronize their trade, from their own enslavement to false gods of profit, lust and consumption demanding human sacrifice. Lord, free your people to live in the dignity for which they were created. Amen.