As part of the International Day against Human Trafficking a group of young dancers organized a flash-mob in front of St. Peter’s Square.
Just one verse each day.
Tourists and Romans on St. Peter’s Square and Via della Conciliazione were enjoying a calm, sunny Friday afternoon when the air was suddenly filled with music. A group of young people wearing purple shirts began moving to the rhythm, as they walked in circles under a large net, clapped and stomped their feet.
The choreography progressed as they hugged and held hands and curious tourists stopped to observe and take photos. After a few minutes the dance ended with the young people gathering in a circle with their arms in the air as they unveiled a large banner, promoting the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.
This day was celebrated with an online pilgrimage on February 8, 2023, but the whole week has been filled with events, such as this flash-mob and a message by Pope Francis, to draw attention to the issue of human trafficking. The initiatives were organized by Talitha Kum, an international network that fights human trafficking, and the International Union of Superiors General.
“Jesus’ dancers” against human trafficking
A group of 15 young representatives of Talitha Kum came together with 10 dancers of the “Evolution Company of the Holy Dance,” an association based just outside of Rome, which uses dancing to evangelize. It is run by Sister Anna Nobili, of the Congregation of Working Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth, who used to be a dancer and now uses this gift to help others evangelize with their bodies.
“We like to say we are Jesus’ dancers. Sister Anna opened this association to teach us how to pray and praise through dance. This is how we bring the Gospel and the Word of God around,” said Chiara Menichelli, a 21-year-old girl, who helped choreograph the routine.
“[Human trafficking] is not easy to talk about and I feel it is not spoken about often. We took this topic to heart and tried to understand it through articles. Choreographing the flash mob helped us because it is a delicate theme but with a few easy steps it can reach people’s hearts,” Chiara explained with a bright smile on her face, visibly excited after having performed their choreography with St. Peter’s Basilica as a backdrop. She explained they had already done dances for other important social issues, such as women’s rights.
A week of events to draw awareness on human trafficking
This was the ninth edition of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, an issue that affects nearly 25 million victims worldwide. The 15 young representatives from the Talitha Kum network came from all over the world to Rome for the week, to prepare the events and develop their understanding of this phenomenon.
“The young people are very energetic and vibrant,” said Sister Abby Avelino, a Filipino Maryknoll Sister and the international coordinator of Talitha Kum. As human trafficking is an issue that affects people of all ages and backgrounds, especially vulnerable youth, Sister Avelino said they wanted to involve young people in their initiatives. She was very “touched” by their “ideas and engagement throughout the week.”
“Our hope, our dream, is that more young people get involved in this,” said Sister Avelino.