The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration has asked the faithful to join them in a day of prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking on Feb. 8.
“On that day we will lift our voices loudly in prayer, hope and love for trafficking victims and survivors,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the committee. “If just one person realizes from this day that they or someone they know is being trafficked, we will have made a difference.”
Feb. 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once freed, she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.
The bishops encourage Catholics to host or attend prayer services to pray for emotional, physical and spiritual healing for victims; reflect on the experiences of those who have suffered from human trafficking and exploitation; make a personal commitment to work against human trafficking; and consider hosting awareness events to educate others on the subject.
For more information about the bishops’ anti-trafficking program formed to rescue and aid victims, visit www.usccb.org/about/anti-trafficking-program. It was established to advocate for better protection for victims, provide training and technical assistance to service providers, and educates the public on the prevalence of human trafficking.
In Colorado, a state with reportedly the highest rate per capita of sex slavery, help is available through the Colorado Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-866-455-5075 or the Prax(us) confidential local hotline at 303-317-7009. For more information, see story in the Jan. 29 Denver Catholic Register (http://denvercatholicregister.org/nowhere-turn/) : “Nowhere to turn.”