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Vatican gathers young people to fight human trafficking

FLASH MOB Evolution Company of the Holy Dance

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Young people taking part in a flash mob during the 2023 International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.

J-P Mauro - published on 02/05/24

Until February 8, a group of 50 young people are gathered for prayer and training on the quest to end human trafficking worldwide.
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The Vatican will mark the 10th International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking on February 8, 2024. The day is preceded by a week of prayer and mobilization efforts, with youth engagement as the central focus.

Pope Francis initiated the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking early in his pontificate in 2015. It was established on the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, the enslaved Sudanese religious sister who experienced the “human trafficking” of the late 19th century.

Today St. Bakhita is the patron saint of modern day slavery and human trafficking and she has become the universal symbol of the Church’s commitment to fighting this crime. 

Parishes, communities, and associations are praying, reflecting, and sharing testimonials in the lead-up to the World Day. At the Vatican, 50 young representatives from partner organizations are gatherer. These are students, volunteers, researchers, creatives, communicators, activists, and operators against trafficking, each of whom is devoted to the cause.

They arrived on February 2 and the following day began their training activities. On February 6, the group of 50 will participate in a flash mob that will demonstrate against human trafficking to raise awareness in a public setting, at the Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome. The spectacle will take place at 4:15, but by 5:30 they will have filed into the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, where they will hold an ecumenical vigil of prayer.

The week of preparation, prayer, and training will culminate on February 7, when the international group will participate in the Audience with Pope Francis in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican.

Online pilgrimage

On Thursday, February 8, the Online Pilgrimage of prayer and awareness against human  trafficking will take place with participants hailing from all continents. It will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Oceania and each time zone will continue the pilgrimage until its conclusion in North America at 4:30 p.m. It is estimated that 50 countries will participate

The February 8 event will be broadcast from the dedicated website of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking. There, interested parties can also find more information on how to participate in the day, as well as resources to educate on the plight of human trafficking and prayers. 

In a February 1 letter encouraging participation in the day, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote: 

“It is incumbent upon all of us to unite in promoting efforts that prevent the evil of human trafficking. I join our Holy Father in inviting the faithful and all people of good will to uphold and affirm human dignity and grow in solidarity with those who are vulnerable to exploitation and have been impacted by this terrible evil of modern-day slavery. Inspired by Saint Josephine’s life, may we accompany them in the pursuit of justice. We also recognize the important role of governments in addressing the conditions that lead to trafficking, and we remain committed to working with our own government and fellow members of civil society to develop and implement anti-trafficking efforts.”

Click here to learn more.

Human TraffickingPrayerVatican
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