The Congregation is committed to ending Human Trafficking in the world. In the U.S., we are beginning to raise awareness of the issue through education sessions for all our sisters and associates. We are members of the Coalition United against Human Trafficking and we provide them with office space in our St. Austin Center.
Through Legislative Advocacy we advocate for laws in the U.S. Congress and Texas Legislature to provide protection and support for victims of Human Trafficking and also laws to apprehend and prosecute the Traffickers. We partner with organizations providing direct service to victims of Human Trafficking such as St. Mary’s Place, Long Beach, CA; Faith and Justice Worker Center, Houston providing services to victims of Labor Trafficking.
Asking the right questions will help you determine if the person in front of you is a victim of trafficking who needs your help.
Key Questions to Ask:
- What type of work do you do?
- Are you being paid?
- Can you leave your job if you want to?
- Can you come and go as you please?
- Have you or your family been threatened?
- What are your working and living conditions like?
- Where do you sleep and eat?
- Do you have to ask permission to eat/sleep/go to the bathroom?
- Are there locks on your doors/windows so you cannot get out?
- Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?
On February 8, we celebrate the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita. St. Bakhita was born in Sudan’s embattled Darfur region in 1869. This African flower knew the anguish of being kidnapped and in slavery. She is the patron saint of Sudan and is often promoted as a patron saint for he victims of slavery and trafficked persons.
Bakhita was not the name she received from her parents at birth. The fright and the terrible experiences she went through made her forget her name she was given by her parents. Bakhita, which means “fortunate” was the name given to her by her kidnappers.
She was kidnapped at the age of 9 and was sold and re-sold in the markets of El Obeid and of Khartoum. She experienced the humiliations and suffering of slavery, both physical and moral.
In Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, Bakhita was bought by an Italian Consul, Callisto Legnani. In the Consul’s residence, Bakhita experienced peace, warmth and moments of joy, even though veiled by nostalgia for her own family, whom, perhaps she had lost forever.
Political situations forced the Consul to leave Italy. On arrival in Genoa, Mr. Legnani consented to leave Bakhita with the Zianigo family. Eventually Bakhita was temporarily entrusted to the Canossian Sisters in Venice. It was there that Bakhita came to know about God whom she had experienced in her heart without knowing who God was. Ever since she was a child, “Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: Who could be the master of these beautiful things?”
After several months as a catechumenate, Bakhita was baptized and given the new name Josephine on January 1, 1890. She remained with the Canossian Sisters and on December 8, 1896 Josephine was consecrated forever to God. For 50 years, this humble Daughter of Charity, a true witness of the love of God, lived in the community in Schio, engaged in various services of cooking, sewing, embroidery and attending to the door.
She died on February 8, 1947. The fame of her sanctity spread to all the continents and many have received graces through her intercession. On this special feast day, pray for victims of human trafficking throughout the world.
Prayer to St. Josephine Bakhita
St. Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child
and endured untold hardship and suffering. Once liberated from your physical enslavement,
you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church.
O St. Bakhita, assist all those who are trapped in a state of slavery;
Intercede with God on their behalf
so that they will be released from their chains of captivity.
hose who, man enslaves, let God set free.
Provide comfort to survivors of slavery
and let them look to you as an example of hope and faith.
Help all survivors find healing from their wounds. We ask for your prayers ad intercessions for those enslaved among us.
February 8, is the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita who was sold into slavery as a child. PRAY for all children who live in slavery and are exploited. US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking http://sistersagainsttrafficking.org
Trafficking today is a continuation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade with the sophistication of technology making the buying and selling of persons convenient and globally efficient. SUPPORT US: Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking http://sistersagainsttrafficking.org
Victims of human trafficking may look like many of the people you help every day.
Look for the Following Clues:
- Evidence of being controlled
- Evidence of inability to move or leave job
- Bruises or other signs of physical abuse
- Fear or depression
- Not speaking on own behalf and/or non-English speaking
- No passport or other forms of identification or documentation