Today (February 8) is the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita who has beatified by Pope John Paul II. Today has also been declared, under the leadership of Pope Francis, as the first International Day of Prayer and Action against human trafficking. I wrote about the connection between these two important dates in my latest column on Global Sisters Report.
The column draws upon research I did for my Masters thesis, “Human Trafficking as Social Sin: An Ethic of Resistance.” I see Bakhita as a model of resistance and believe that her story can help evoke in contemporary people of good will the motivation needed to take actions of solidarity and resistance to human trafficking today.
The story of St. Josephine Bakhita invites us to take an honest look at our own connections to the social sin of human trafficking. What are the unjust social and economic structures and distorted social norms which allow human trafficking to thrive? What actions of resistance might we take to heal relationships distorted by human trafficking?
Here are some resources for this first ever International Day of Prayer and Action against human trafficking.
- Read my column on Bakhita over at Global Sisters Report and my recent column at Sojourners to learn more about what I mean by resistance to human trafficking
- Talitha Kum, the anti-trafficking effort of Catholic Sisters across the globe, encourages you to Light a Candle Against Trafficking – Light a Candle and send in a photo for the website
- Pray – Talitha Kum has translated into six langauges a prayer service adapted the Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center in Seattle (where I used to work)
- Learn more – the IPJC website has a wealth of resources. You can also check out the new website for US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking
- Calculate your Slavery Footprint
- Support anti-trafficking efforts. If you are looking for somewhere to make a donation, I highly recommend the work of the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network as worthy of your support.
- Support anti-poverty efforts. Poverty puts people at risk of being trafficking. Catholic Relief Services does great work across the globe.
- Add your name to the pledge signed by the world’s faith leaders against modern slavery
Human trafficking is a social evil perpetrated by human beings. Human trafficking is not inevitable. As St. Josephine Bakhita’s story tells us, it is possible to resist, and it is possible for ordinary persons to resist in solidarity with trafficked persons. We can start today through our prayer and action against human trafficking.