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Prayer for the World February 7, 2023

 

Human Trafficking

 

Introduction

Pope Francis has said “Defeating human trafficking is a great moral calling of our time.”  Tomorrow is the International Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking.  It is also the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita.  Josephine was born in Sudan in 1869, taken at the age of 9 by slave traders who called her Bahkita.  Bahkita was sold to the Italian Consul who brought her to Italy where she was baptized and took the name Josephine.  She asked for and was granted her freedom according to Italian law and later joined the Canossian Daughters of Charity in Venice.  Josephine led a simple life as cook, seamstress and door keeper and her gentleness and compassion endeared her to all.

 

Song:  I will not leave you comfortless, Singing for the Soutl by Jan Phillips and the Gnostic Gospel Choir https://youtu.be/qqyPIk9aZ2E?si=IouKtYiR8hz7Jjr4

 

 

Thoughts for Reflection

Human trafficking is the business of stealing freedom for profit, the business of trading in human beings. It is a globally assisted pandemic that generates billions of dollars of income a year.  In some cases traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims into providing commercial sex.  In others, victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions.  It is modern day slavery. Every year millions of men, women and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the U.S. It is believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world behind trafficking in arms and drugs.

 

We know human trafficking is a trans-national crime of great proportion, however, trafficking is also all around us.  It flourishes in plain sight, on the internet and in the motels in our towns.  It is the fastest growing crime in Fort Wayne.  Trafficking can start with something as simple as a flattering comment on Facebook. 

 

Trafficking is a good example of an issue, where if you look for the root cause, there is an intersection of other critical social issues:  poverty, climate change, gender inequality, profit and greed, imbalance of power and vulnerability, racism, forced migration, and online sex abuse. Many victims of the latter today, i.e., online sex abuse, are middle class youth. 

 

We know that one important way we extend our commitment to justice is through our collaboration and support of others who share our values and can bring about change.  Victory Noll made a major legacy gift to “U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.”  They acknowledged this gift as follows:  This legacy gift will sustain the ongoing  work of USCSAHT and honor the long history of the OLVM Sisters’ work accompanying those on the margins who are impacted by oppression.”

 

The mission and vision of USSAHT to realize a world without trafficking and exploitation, aligns well with our focus on justice for women and children.  It is a way to promote ongoing education on this critical issue.  It also supports the work of the Sisters in the U.S. who are also connected to a global network of sisters committed to this same mission and vision.  The fact that this ministry has both a local and global impact makes it even more significant.  May they continue and expand their work to educate about human trafficking prevention and identification; advocate for stronger laws to prevent human trafficking, hold those responsible accountable, and support survivors; and provide direct support to survivors on their journeys of healing

 

Silent Reflection

 

There was an article in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette this week entitled, “What should parents do to keep their children safe online?”    Social media CEOS got grilled by Senate lawmakers last week in an emotional and often heated hearing about the dangers their platforms pose to children through sexual predators.  Republicans and Democratic senators came together in a rare show of agreement throughout the hearing, though it’s not yet clear if this will be enough to pass legislations such as the Kids Online Safety Act or other proposed measures intended to protect kids from online harms. 

 

Silent Reflection

 

Song

 

 

Here is the link to our 10th Anniversary video that was debuted at the conference:

 

 

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