World Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking
7 February 2017
February 8th 2017 marked the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking. This day is the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947); an inspirational Sudanese Sister who as a child bore the traumatic experience of being a victim of human trafficking.
St Josephine Bakhita, also known as ‘Mother Moretta’ (Our Black Mother), was kidnapped at the age of nine and sold into slavery. Her 144 scars were a physical tale of the hardship she endured.
First celebrated in 2015, each year has been an invitation for prayer and reflection on the shocking reality of human trafficking. This year IDPHT invites us to focus specifically on the trafficking of children. This focus is encapsulated in the slogan:
They Are Just Children! Not Slaves!
Due to their marginalisation and limited economic resources, women and children are the key target groups in human trafficking globally. These groups are lured with the promise of higher incomes, improved economic situations, support for families in villages and an escape from conflict situations. Sadly the reality is vastly different as we see people sold into prostitution, sweat shops, illegal adoption, organ transplants, forced marriages, domestic work, drug trafficking – and the exploitative list goes on.
The deplorable conditions surrounding these women and children are resulting in a number of harmful mental and physical health effects. These effects include repeat pregnancies and maternal mortality, STD’s and HIV, drug and other addictions, economic slavery and a clear threat to an individual’s emotional wellbeing.
- Worldwide there are a staggering 168 million children in child labour.
- 20 million child workers are employed in factories that make garments, carpets, toys, matches and hand rolled cigarettes.
- Every year 22,000 children die in work-related accidents.
- 2 million children are subjected to prostitution, whilst millions more children are likely to be exploited to prostitution or pornography each year.
We invite you to join us in prayer as we call for an end to human trafficking and willfully proclaim “They are just children! Not slaves!”.