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Women Religious ask Pope for World Day of Prayer Against Trafficking

After Pope Francis entrusted two Vatican academies to study the problem of human trafficking, a group of women religious asked the pope to raise greater awareness in the church about the issue by establishing a worldwide day of prayer and fasting.

 “The pope was very interested in our suggestion and asked us what date we would like the day to be,” Consolata Sister Eugenia Bonetti told Catholic News Service. “We told him February 08 — the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita,” a Sudanese slave who found freedom in Italy and became a nun in the late 19th century.

She said the idea for a worldwide day of prayer came from “the need to do something that joins us together” to tackle the global problem; some dioceses and parishes are active on the issue while others are unaware or indifferent, she said.

Sister Eugenia, a leader among religious women in Italy working against human trafficking — particularly women and young girls forced into prostitution — was one of about 80 people attending a November 2-3 working group on trafficking at the Vatican.

Described as a “preparatory workshop”, organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences together with the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, the event aimed at examining the trade in human persons in order to establish the real state of this phenomenon and an agenda to combat this heinous crime.

Professor Marcelo Suarez-Orozco a dean of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies said “Human trafficking is a very ancient infamy with a very new face”.

He said that trafficking of human beings is the third-most profitable global criminal enterprise, after drugs and armaments. The professor highlighted the fact that up to 75 per cent of all detected trafficked people are women and children. (There are about 27 million trafficked people in the world today). He added that the percentage of children in increasing: “In the U.S., it is estimated that of all the detected trafficked people, 50 per cent are under age”.


Published: November 11, 2013


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