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St. Josephine Bakhita: Church’s commitment against trafficking in persons.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022: On this day, the Catholic Church celebrates the liturgical memory of Saint Bakhita, a Canossian religious sister from Sudan who, as a child, was kidnapped and enslaved.

Vatican News English Africa Service.

St. Josephine Bakhita (1869 – 1947) is the patron saint of Sudan and of human trafficking survivors. Born in Darfur, Sudan, her feast day is 8 February. St Bakhita has become the universal symbol of the Church’s commitment against trafficking in persons.

International Day of Prayer and Awareness 

Caritas Internationalis is co-organising and participating in the eighth edition of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons on 8 February 2022, under the theme, The Power of Care – Women, Economics, Human Trafficking.

Collaboration, networking and advocacy

Member organisations committed to raising awareness on the issue of trafficking are promoting collaboration, networking and advocacy, and amplifying the voice of women survivors of trafficking. According to the United Nations statistics on trafficking in persons (2020 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons), women and girls account for 72 per cent of trafficking victims, a percentage that increases dramatically when “trafficking for sexual exploitation” is included.

Receive, defend and accompany migrants

Caritas Internationalis says it associates itself with Pope Francis in denouncing human trafficking as a crime. The organisation says it is resolved to fight the injustice against innocent people. Caritas Internationalis is also determined to address the root causes of human trafficking. The organisation continues to receive, defend and accompany migrants, especially in the Covid-19 era.

Pandemic has increased the “trafficking business”

Indicators show that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the “business” of trafficking in persons, fostering the opportunities and socio-economic mechanisms behind this scourge: It has exacerbated the situations of vulnerability in which women and girls, those most at risk, already found themselves.

According to a US Department of State January 2022 press release, “Human trafficking robs millions of people of their dignity and freedom, erodes the rule of law, and simultaneously threatens public safety and national security. Human traffickers prey on adults and children of all ages, gender ...  backgrounds, and nationalities, exploiting them for profit by forcing their victims to perform labour or to engage in commercial sex. An estimated 24.9 million individuals are subject to human trafficking; as the global economic and social impacts of Covid-19 continue, we believe this number is rising,” said the US State Department.

Women as first victims of trafficking

Caritas has reiterated its support for this year’s theme, which focuses on “power care” with a particular focus on women.

“They are the first victims of human trafficking. Caritas also acknowledges the capacity of these women to be resilient and capable of taking their destiny into their own hands,” said Aloysius John, Secretary-General of Caritas Internationalis

The International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons is promoted by the Unions of Superiors and Superiors General of Religious Institutes. The coordination of the network of co-organisers is under Talitha Kum.

Everyone has a role to play in curbing the activities of human traffickers.

▪ Be deliberate about looking out for vulnerable persons.

▪ Report suspected cases of trafficking.

▪ Welcome, integrate and protect survivors

08 February 2022, 10:39