February 8 is also the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave who became a nun
The Catholic Church of Australia is calling on its citizens not to be indifferent to human trafficking and take simple steps to combating global injustice.
The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Commission for Pastoral life (BCPL) and Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) are calling for a day of prayer, reflection and action against human trafficking on February 8, the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave who was rescued and later became a Canossian nun and was declared a saint in 2000.
Last year, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General promoted the first “International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking,” or Bakhita Day, on February 8.
“In marking the Bakhita Day of prayer and fasting in this Year of Mercy, Australian Catholics should be mindful of Pope Francis’ challenge to us to stop human trafficking,” said BCPL chairman Bishop Terry Brady of Sydney. “We can all commit to learning more about human trafficking,” he said. “We can commit to helping victims of human trafficking. And we can commit to tackling the systems that enable human trafficking to flourish.”
ACRATH president, Religious Sister of Mercy Anne Tormey, also added her voice: “This day can be an opportunity to learn about trafficking locally and to globally pray for the victims of human trafficking and for an end to slavery, to commit to buying Fair Trade products where possible and to advocate for legislation to protect victims of human trafficking.”
The BCPL and ACRATH are calling for a fourfold commitment to prevention, victim protection, the legal prosecution of perpetrators and partnerships for change; these require a global effort on the part of various sectors of society (source: ACBC).