Yesterday – January 11, 2012 – was the International Day Against Human Trafficking.
As a Franciscan Community, we seek to reach out to the world as instruments of peace, and so we continue to remember all victims today and help bring awareness to others that “there are over 32 million people enslaved around the world, and out of that number 80% percent of the victims are forced into sexual servitude. In the United States it is estimated that 50-75,000 victims are trafficked into America for sexual servitude and that is not factoring the 100,000-300,000 American children forced into prostitution under our noses.” Quoted from istoptraffic.
It is important for us to be aware this is not just happening overseas. In fact, thousands of young women and children are trafficked each year in the US at the Super Bowl alone – one of the biggest human trafficking events in the world. This year, Indiana legislators are trying to make it more difficult for sex-traffickers to invade Indianapolis on February 5, 2012 for Super Bowl XLVI. Still, it will take so much more to detect the crimes and protect the victims.
Yesterday, the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg – and many religious communities across the nation – united in prayer for an end to sex trafficking. The Oldenburg Sisters prayed the attached Prayer Service together, inspired by the life of St. Josephine Bakhita. We share the prayer service and a prayer below, that you might join your prayers with ours and many across the world – that God hear our plea to help us bring an end to slavery.
Click here to open and read the Prayer Service to End Human Trafficking developed by the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center of Seattle, Washington.
We close with this prayer by Gen Cassani, SSND (used by permission), which we invite you to pray with us daily through the February 5, 2012 (the day of Super Bowl XLVI):
Creator of us all, our words cannot express what our minds can barely comprehend and our hearts feel when we hear of children and adults deceived and transported to unknown places for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour because of human greed.
Our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are being transgressed through threats, deception and force. We cry out against the degrading practice of trafficking and seek ways for it to end.
Strengthen the fragile-spirited and broken-hearted. Make real your promises to fill these our sisters and brothers with a love that is tender and good and send the exploiters away empty-handed. Give us the wisdom and courage to stand in solidarity with them, that together we will find ways to the freedom that is your gift to all of us. Amen
Peace and Good,
The Sisters & staff at Oldenburg Franciscan Center
For more information about the Oldenburg Franciscan Social Justice ministry visit their informational web page at Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation or write to Sr. Marge Wissman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional facts about human trafficking can also be found at dosomething.org.