Trafficking in Persons Day

by Rev. Dabulamanzi Ntshangase

As it appears on the Diocesan Year Plan, 10th February 2019 is the Trafficking in Persons day. The new desk in the Diocese (Trafficking in Persons), therefore, urges all the Parish Priests to make sure that the Prayer to Saint Josephine Bakhita is said in their parishes on the
aforementioned date.

As of 12th December 2018, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons gives the following definition of Trafficking in Persons:

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of
payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

If it happens that you wonder why the Prayer to St. Josephine Bakhita, she is recognised as the Patron Saint of Human Trafficking survivors. Her universal feast day is on 8th February. She was born in South Sudan in 1869 and died on 8th February 1947. She was kidnapped by Arab slave traders as a young girl and put into slavery both in Sudan and Italy. Fortunately, she later gained her freedom and became a Canossian Sister. She was canonised on 1st October 2000 by St. John Paul II, the then Roman Pontiff.

Pope Francis calls Trafficking in Persons an “Open wound on the body of the contemporary society, a scourge upon the Body of Christ.” If we cannot stop it, let us at least, for a start, raise an awareness in our Diocese of this “wound” and “scourge.”

Below is the prayer of St Bakhita 

St Bakhita, a daughter of Africa,
who, yourself, suffered
as a victim of Human trafficking
we honour and praise your name.
We humbly implore
that through your intercession
we may be able to persevere
in our battle to overcome
this terrible evil of human trafficking
experienced by so many in Africa
and indeed throughout the world.
We know, St Bakhita,
that victims of human trafficking
are close to your heart.
We pray that they may feel
the warmth of your loving care
and the presence of our Lord
in their time of suffering and despair.
We pray especially for their rescue
so that they may once again
live in the freedom
of the children of God. Amen.