The International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking that will be celebrated on February 8, 2017 is approaching. This year the programme introduces a new element. It invites us to focus on one specific aspect of the vast and complex world of human trafficking: the trafficking of boys, girls and adolescents with the specific slogan: They are just children! Not slaves! We invite you to join Religious Sisters of Charity throughout the world in praying for this special intention…
This day was first celebrated on the 8th. February 2015 at the desire of Pope Francis, who in 2014, requested the International Union of Superiors and of Superiors General (UISG / USG) to promote this day. The Secretary of State, responding to requests made by religious, who had been working for years to combat trafficking, gave approval to organisations that for years have celebrated Anti-Trafficking Day on this date.
The first IDPHT was announced internationally at a press conference on February 3. The programme in Rome included : a prayer vigil, Mass and participation with banners at the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square during which Pope Francis spoke of the event in the following words:
“Dear brothers and sisters, today, 8 February, the liturgical memorial of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese Sister, who as a child had the traumatic experience of being a victim of trafficking, the International Unions of Superiors General of religious institutes have promoted the Day Prayer and Reflection against trafficking in persons. I encourage all those who are committed to helping men, women and children enslaved, exploited, abused as tools or pleasure and often tortured and mutilated. I hope that those who have responsibilities of government will seriously strive to eliminate the causes of this shameful scourge, a scourge unworthy of a civilized society. Let each of us be committed to being a voice for our brothers and sisters, humiliated and deprived of their dignity. Let us all pray together.”
(Pope Francis, Angelus Domini February 8, 2015)