8th February 2017
I hadn’t heard of this saint until yesterday either. But I saw a film of her life last night which tells the story of a young girl, born in the Darfur area of Sudan, and sold into slavery at the age of 9 years.
St. Bakhita is the patron saint of Sudan but also the patron saint of victims of slavery and trafficked persons and today is her feast day.
Today, 8th February has been designated as a Day of Prayer for and Awareness of victims of modern day slavery – human trafficking, which is happening in all parts of our world; it is in fact one of the most lucrative illegal activities the world over, generating 32 billion dollars a year for those pimps and traffickers engaged in its ‘business’ and is now the 2nd most profitable such ‘business’ coming up short only of the illegal drugs trade.
Here are some facts about human trafficking and slavery:
- Each year 2.5 million people become victims of trafficking and slavery
- Worldwide today there are 27 million slaves (more than at any time previously and the number is growing at an alarming rate)
- 40% to 50% of all forced labour victims are under 18 years of age
- Currently there are two million children throughout the world involved in the commercial sex trade being abused, raped and treated inhumanely
- Up to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year
If we are to tackle this problem each and everyone of us must take action and act against this crime. What do you think?
Statistics taken from the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus website