International Justice Mission joins the global Catholic Church in celebrating the first annual International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking on Sunday, February 8th. The day of prayer, designated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General, falls on the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was enslaved as a child in Sudan and Italy and who joined a religious order once freed. St. Josephine dedicated her life to sharing about her deliverance from slavery and was declared a Saint in 2000.
Human trafficking remains one of the fastest growing illicit enterprises in the world, generating approximately $150 billion (USD) per year—two-thirds from commercial sexual exploitation
“This special day of prayer is an opportunity to participate in God’s work of freeing the oppressed,” said Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Director of the IJM Institute for Biblical Justice. “Prayer is such a powerful tool in combatting human trafficking, and the Catholic Church has shown tremendous leadership in rallying people of faith and goodwill to this fight.”
“This International Day of Prayer is a time to remember the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples and to ask God to “deliver us from evil,”’ added Mark Wollenberg, IJM Canada’s National Director of Church Mobilization. “Our sisters and brothers who find themselves in this horrific and terrifying reality are longing for rescue and we are able to join their voices and ask for their deliverance. We invite people of faith of all nationalities, who know God’s mercy and justice, to join us in this day of prayer to end human trafficking.”
The International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking is one step towards ending the global plague of modern day slavery and human trafficking. IJM applauds the Catholic Church’s leadership in the movement.
Catholic religious leaders have launched a new website which features more information on the day of prayer, survivor stories of hope, and how to get involved in the fight against human trafficking. In addition, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Anti-Trafficking Program is hosting a Special Mass at Noon in Washington, DC. In Canada, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ President has also issued a message, outlining the life stories of several people living in Canada who were victims of human trafficking.
International Justice Mission is the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization, working to end modern-day slavery, human trafficking and other forms of violence against the poor by rescuing and restoring victims, restraining perpetrators, and transforming broken public justice systems. Learn more at www.ijm.org.