The feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947), born an enslaved person in Sudan and who became a Canossian sister and was canonized in 2000, falls on Feb. 8, which marks the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.

THE POWER OF CARE –WOMEN, ECONOMY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING is this year’s theme which continues that of last year’s, where we began to reflect on the connection between the economy and human trafficking.

The 2022 edition proposes to focus on women. They are, in fact, the most affected by the violence of trafficking. At the same time, they have a fundamental and important role in the process of transforming the economy of exploitation into one of care.

Trafficking is one of the deepest wounds inflicted by the current economic system: wounds that affect all dimensions of personal and communitarian life. The pandemic has increased the “business” of human trafficking and has exacerbated the pain. It has favored the opportunities and socio-economic mechanisms underlying this scourge, worsening the situations of vulnerability that involved the people most at risk – disproportionately women and girls.

Women are called to take on a leading role as agents of change to create an economic system based on caring for people and the common home, involving everyone. Care is a lifestyle and is Jesus’ way of loving, as he proposes to us in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10: 25-37), taken up by Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti.

The power of care is the only way to tackle human trafficking and all forms of exploitation.

A Prayer for the End of Human Trafficking

As shared by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.

God of freedom, beauty and truth
we believe that your deepest desire,
your most powerful energy,
is that all creation might know abundant life.
We raise our voices in anguished prayer
for our sisters and brothers,
women and girls, men and boys,
who are modern day slaves;
They are your beloved daughters and sons,
exploited sexually or forced to work
because of human violence and greed.

Fill us with your holy anger
and your sacred passion
that those who are trafficked might know healing and justice;
that traffickers will come to
repentance and conversion;
that all of us might live in such a way
that others are not made to pay the price
for our comfort and convenience.
Hasten the coming of the day when all people
and our precious Earth itself
will be treated, not as a commodity,
but as radiant images of your
freedom, beauty and truth.
Amen. May it be so