Pope Francis’ Universal Prayer Intention for February 2019

Universal: For a generous welcome of the victims of human trafficking, of enforced prostitution, and of violence.

8 February: International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

“Although we try to ignore it, slavery is not something from other times.  Faced with this tragic reality, no one can wash their hands of it without being, in  some way, an accomplice to this crime against humanity.


We cannot ignore the fact that there is as much slavery in the world today as  there was before, or  perhaps more.


Let us pray for a generous welcome of the victims of human trafficking, of enforced prostitution, and of violence.”

07 February 2019, 14:13

Church on the frontlines in fight against human trafficking

February 8 marks the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, a global phenomenon that Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned describing it as a wound in the side of humanity.
By Linda Bordoni 

A prayer vigil takes place in Rome’s Basilica of St. John Lateran on the evening of February 8 to mark the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking that takes place, this year, on the theme “Together against Human trafficking”.

The vigil is officiated by Fr Michael Czerny and Fr Fabio Baggio, Under-Secretaries of the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

St. Josephine Bakhita

People are also gathering across the world in prayer and observance of the Day which was established by Pope Francis in 2015, marking the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in her home country of Sudan. She gained her freedom in Italy, became a Canossian Sister, and dedicated her life to helping the poor and testifying against slavery.

At the launch on Thursday in the Vatican of this year’s International Day, Jesuit Father Michael Czerny said the Migrants and Refugees Section has just released an educational booklet entitled “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking” that aims to provide in-depth information about the phenomenon as wells as tools to help combat it.

Pastoral Orientations

The “Pastoral Orientations”, he says, help us to see more clearly why the depravity of human trafficking continues to persist in the 21st century.

“Is it simply,” he asks, “because human trafficking and slavery are very profitable?”

Fr. Czerny explains the document also helps us to understand, even more deeply, “how the ugly, evil business of human trafficking operates.”

“It stays hidden, and invisible, but it functions nearly everywhere, like corruption,” he says.

He emphasizes that it is the State that must “protect citizens and residents from entrapment and slavery”, however he adds, there is no visible effort to prosecute and punish on the part of the State.

The Pastoral Orientations, Fr. Czerny says, are a tool that can help us to respond here and now, and to commit long-term.

What can you and I do?

“The question is: what can you and I do to help alleviate human trafficking?” he says.

Pointing out that this is the core question behind the World Day of Awarness and Prayer,  Fr. Czerny notes that the testimonies of survivors describe the “unimaginable deception, coercion and suffering” they have been through and witness to “what can be stolen from a human life for the pleasure and profit of others”.

“It is inconceivable – until you listen to a survivor – how it happened to him or to her,” he says.

“At the heart of each survivor’s story is the inviolable, sacred dignity of every human person,” he says, concluding that “at the heart of each survivor’s liberation is the solidarity of others.”

Pope Francis on Thursday released a video message accompanying his prayer intention for February, which this month is “Human Trafficking “.

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed “The Pope Video” initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity.


2019.01.17 Orientamenti pastorali sulla Tratta di persone. Presentazione dei due documenti della Sezione migranti e rifugiati del Dicastero per il Servizio dello Sviluppo Umano Integrale.Two new documents on human trafficking, presented by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. 

Vatican publishes new resources on combatting human trafficking

The Catholic Church is continuing to lead the charge against the “scourge” of human trafficking. In a new document released on Thursday, the Migrant and Refugee Section of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development offers new Pastoral Orientations to help better understand, and combat, the phenomenon of human trafficking.

By Christopher Wells

The Vatican has issued a new document regarding “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking”, with the aim of “understanding, recognizing, preventing, and eradicating the plague of the trafficking of persons, protecting the victims, and promoting the recovery of survivors.”

New Pastoral Orientations

The 36-page document, which was presented at a press conference at the Holy See Press Office, is an expression of the “enormous importance” Pope Francis attaches to the “plight of the millions of men, women, and children who are trafficked and enslaved.” According to the preface of the Pastoral Orientations, the purpose of the document is “to provide a reading of Human Trafficking and an understanding that motivate and sustain the much-needed long-term struggle.”

The Pastoral Orientations are the result of extensive consultations with “Church leaders, scholars, and experienced practitioners and partner organizations working in the field.”

An “ugly, evil business”

After discussing the proper definition of human trafficking, Pastoral Orientations goes on to investigate the underlying causes of the phenomenon. It emphasises the importance of acknowledging the reality of human trafficking, and seeks to describe the dynamics of this “ugly, evil business.” Finally, the document examines responses to human trafficking, including increasing cooperation among those fighting this crime; providing support to victims of human trafficking, and promoting the recovery of survivors.

The new “Pastoral Orientations” document was prepared by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Since its foundation by Pope Francis, the Migrants and Refugees section has acted under the direct guidance of the Holy Father.

Teachings of Pope Francis

At the same press conference, Vatican Officials also presented a collection of Pope Francis’ teachings on migrants, refugees and human trafficking, from the beginning of his pontificate through 2007.

The collection, entitled “Lights on the Ways of Hope” is also available in a searchable electronic version, available on the website of the Migrant and Refugees Section.

The website is expected to be updated every six months with new pontifical teachings.

18 January 2019, 12:27

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