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February 8 is the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking

Monica Lambton, JPIC Coordinator and Pierrette Boissé, CND

Let us join with people around the world to turn our thoughts and prayers to the victims of Human Trafficking and for those who are working to bring an end to this terrible violation.

International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking 2016

JPIC Resources

Pope Francis has designated February 8 as International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.

On February 8, the Church will commemorate the life of Saint Josephine Bakhita, a Canossian Sister who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Sudan.

To know more about Saint Josephine Bakhita, visit

Pope Francis has stated “Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity.” “It’s a disgrace” that people are treated “as objects, deceived, raped, often sold many times for different purposes and, in the end, killed or, in many case, physically and mentally damaged, ending up thrown away and abandoned,” he said.

To commemorate the day, the Vatican released a statement that states that “the primary objective of the International Day is to create greater awareness on this phenomenon and to reflect on the overall situation of violence and injustice that affect so many people who have no voice, do not count and are no one: they are simply slaves.

Another goal is to attempt to provide solutions to counter this modern form of slavery by taking “concrete actions.” The phenomenon concerns the whole world. According to official data roughly 21 million people, often very poor and vulnerable, are victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced labour and begging, illegal organ removal, domestic servitude and forced marriages, illegal adoption and other forms of exploitation.

Each year, around 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. It is the third most profitable “business” after drugs and arms trafficking.

The Pope's Message for the 48th World Day of Peace, which was held on January 1st, 2015 (last year) had the theme “Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters'': See the full text

You can also read Pope Francis’ address to Religious leaders at the ceremony of signing of the Declaration of Religious Leaders against Slavery in the Vatican on December 2, 2014

Last July, Pope Francis wrote about the connection between climate change and human trafficking:   

The Pope’s most recent address touching on this subject was in January of this year on the occasion of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, titled “Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy”.

Last December, the Toronto Star published a big investigative piece about human trafficking in Canada.  It is rather difficult to read, as the details are graphic and startling, but it is a comprehensive piece with vital information.



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