Saint Josephine Bakhita Saint Josephine Bakhita 

Pope: Human trafficking is a wound shamefully inflicted for economic interests

Pope Francis prays for all victims of human trafficking, and blesses a bronze statue of Saint Josephine Bakhita, brought by representatives of Talitha Kum, to St Peter's Square for the Holy Father's Sunday Angelus.

By Francesca Merlo

After the recitation of the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis noted that next Tuesday, 8 February, marks the International Day of Prayer, Reflection, and Action against Human Trafficking. He noted that the day is marked on the liturgical memorial of St Josephine Bakhita.

St Josephine Bakhita

St Josephine Bakhita was an Italian-Sudanese victim of Human Trafficking, today patron saint of modern Sudan and of all victims of human trafficking. As Pope Francis prayed for victims of trafficking, a crowd of sisters from Talith Kum, an international network against human trafficking, held up a bronze statue of St Josephine, which the Pope blessed from the window of the Apostolic Palace.

The bronze statue, made by Catholic artist Timothy P. Schmalz is dedicated to trafficking victims and to all women, especially the religious sisters who work to free women from modern-day slavery.

Representing "so many girls"

St Josephine represents "so many girls" who the Pope said we see on the street: they are not free from this deep wound, inflicted by the shameful pursuit of economic interests without any respect for the human person, stressed the Pope. They are slaves of the traffickers, who send them to work, and beat them if they do not return with the money. 

"This is happening in our cities today" continued the Pope, inviting all those present to "really think about it". 

Decisive action

Pope Francis then went on to stress that in the face of these scourges of humanity, he expresses his sorrow, and urges those with responsibility to act decisively to prevent both exploitation and the humiliating practices that afflict women and girls in particular.

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06 February 2022, 12:15