During the prayer there will be several cultural activities expressed through song and dance, aimed at highlighting the desire to fight against slavery and to show the desire of both men and women for freedom. This day is part of the effort of the Church and of religious congregations to call upon the world, especially after the interreligious meeting on the theme of slavery, which took place at the Vatican on December 2, 2014 with Pope Francis. This meeting was also the occasion to denounce slavery as a crime against humanity.
Taking part in this prayer initiative on Friday are, among others, three Cardinals: Cardinal Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, as well as Bishop Matteo Maria Zuppi, Auxiliary Bishop if the Diocese of Rome, but also many religious sisters and brothers, faithful lay people, and men and women of good will all united against slavery in all its forms and which affects every continent.
A prayer was composed especially for the occasion of this First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking:
O God, when we hear of children and adults deceived and taken to unknown places for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, and organ ‘harvesting’, our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are ignored through threats, lies, and force.
We cry out against the evil practice of this modern slavery, and pray with Saint Bakhita for it to end.
Give us wisdom and courage to reach out and stand with those whose bodies, hearts and spirits have been so wounded, so that together we may make real your promises to fill these sisters and brothers with a love that is tender and good.
Send the exploiters away empty-handed to be converted from this wickedness, and help us all to claim the freedom that is your gift to your children. Amen.
It has been a decade since the SNJM’s began their fight against Human Trafficking.