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February is the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month provides an excellent opportunity to increase awareness about human trafficking and trafficking prevention. In the upcoming weeks, we encourage you to undertake efforts to raise awareness and educate communities on human trafficking. In doing so, you can also promote best practices to help advance anti trafficking initiatives.
February 8th has been designated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. February 8th is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. She learned from Canossian nuns that she was created in the image of God and possessed human dignity. Once she asserted herself and refused to be enslaved, Josephine became a Canossian sister and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering. She was declared a Saint in 2000. On February 8th, Catholics all over the world are encouraged to host or attend prayer services to generate greater awareness about human trafficking. Through prayer, we not only reflect on the experiences of those that have suffered through this affront to human dignity but also comfort, strengthen, and help empower survivors. As Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, former Chairman of the Committee on Migration, has stated: “On [February 8th], we will lift our voices loudly in prayer, hope, and love for trafficking victims and survivors. If just one person realizes from this day that they or someone they know is being trafficked, we will have made a difference.”