Five ways to end human trafficking

February 8 was the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.

An initiative of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Travellers, it occurs on the feast of St Josephine Bakhita who was kidnapped by slave traders, sold into slavery five times, experienced daily beatings and was used as a human canvas for 114 intricate patterns drawn on her with a razor.

Human trafficking is the third most profitable “business” after drugs and arms trafficking.

It generates $32 billion per year through the exploitation of an estimated 21 million of our brothers and sisters who are used as slaves.

It takes many forms, but each act attacks the integrity of the person for profit, pleasure or possession.

As Catholics, we are called to affirm with our words and actions that no person may ever be used as a means.

We may think it is beyond our means to do anything about such a large problem, but here are five concrete things you can do to fight human trafficking.

1. Pray
We are all being asked to pray for an end to trafficking this Sunday, and we would do well to pray often for an end to this attack on the human person. Some suggestions include:

  • Pray for those who are trafficked, that they will receive strength, find freedom and experience true love;
  • Pray for those who exploit others, that they will be captured and converted;
  • Pray for those who work against human trafficking, that their efforts may be fruitful; and
  • Pray for ourselves, that we may stand in solidarity with all who are exploited.

2. Be vigilant
We should be vigilant for signs of human trafficking.

It is not just a problem in overseas countries, it exists in Australia.

Statistics are unknown, but it is reported that those who are trafficked into Australia are either done so for sexual slavery, forced marriage or forced labour. Continue reading

James van Schie is Manager, Parish Advisory Services, for the Catholic Development Fund in the Archdiocese of Sydney.

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