The Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita on the 8th of February each year. Her life was a journey from slavery to freedom and faith. The patron saint of Sudan, her life story inspires hope in the face of modern day indifference and exploitation. As Pope Francis states:
‘She is charged with showing to all the path to conversion, which enables us to change the way we see our neighbours, to recognize in every other person a brother or sister in our human family, and to acknowledge his or her intrinsic dignity in truth and freedom. This can be clearly seen from the story of Josephine Bakhita, the saint originally from the Darfur region in Sudan who was kidnapped by slave-traffickers and sold to brutal masters when she was nine years old. Subsequently – as a result of painful experiences – she became a “free daughter of God” thanks to her faith, lived in religious consecration and in service to others, especially the most lowly and helpless. This saint, who lived at the turn of the twentieth century, is even today an exemplary witness of hope for the many victims of slavery; she can support the efforts of all those committed to fighting against this “open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ”.‘ (Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace 2015)
On February 8, the Church commemorates the life of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Canossian Sister who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Sudan.
Josephine Bakhita was born in 1869, in a small village in the Darfur region of Sudan. She was kidnapped while working in the fields with her family and subsequently sold into slavery. Her captors asked for her name but she was too terrified to remember so they named her “Bakhita,” which means “fortunate” in Arabic.
5 Anti-Slavery Goals For 2019
A recent article published by Reuters says that in order to meet the UN goal of ending human trafficking and slavery by 2019 the world needs to sharpen its focus. The article lists five priorities for the global anti-slavery movement – high tech toolkits, companies living up to their anti-slavery commitments, support for survivors including opportunities to reintegrate into society, anti-slavery groups being a voice for the vulnerable and exploited and people willing to use their consumer power in campaigning for slavery free supply chains. Read more…
Prayer for an End to Trafficking
O God, our words cannot express what our minds can barely comprehend and our hearts feel, when we hear of men and women, boys and and girls deceived and transported to unknown places for purposes of sexual exploitation and enslavement and all kinds of abuse because of human greed and the desire for profit at this time in our world.
Our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are being transgressed through threats, deception and force.
We cry out against the degrading practice of trafficking:
- Against the sale of women and girls into the sex industry,
- Against the sale of people of all ages for their bodily organs,
- Against the capture of boys who become child soldiers,
- Against the enslavement of men in dangerous, dirty and demeaning work,
- And against the sale of babies.
We pray that the buying and selling of people will to end.