Prayer Vigil February 2020 – Together against Trafficking

Leader: Today, we celebrate together the sixth World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking. In many parts of the world, trafficking is a scourge that strikes everyone without distinction, but it strikes above all the poorest and those who in various ways can be defined as “the least”, the “discarded” of our society. Those who live on the margins and the weakest, such as women and children, are the targeted victims of injustice and abuse. May Saint Bakhita intercede for us and for the many Josephine Bakhitas of our time.

(Symbol: Place in front of the altar a globe, a painting of St. Josephine Bakhita, and large iron chains)

Entrance Hymn  –  Christ be our Light   (B. Farrell)

Leader: We present two true stories of engagement against trafficking – stories of desperation, poverty, courage.

Reader 1. A Story from Jessie of Uganda: “I was working in a chemical industry in Uganda. After I got sick because of an allergy to the materials we used, I had to leave work. I bought a small kiosk to sell food to passers-by. Everything was fine, until I was cheated by an agency that offered me work in the Middle East. I thought I had a great opportunity but found myself in domestic slavery. I worked tirelessly and received no food or compensation…”

[One minute’s silence as you hear the sound of the chains]

Reader 2. A story from Somchai of Thailand: “I am 40 years old, many of which were lived with my family in a shantytown in Thailand. I couldn’t study because my parents were poor, I had no papers and I was and I still suffer from schizophrenia. I earned my living by selling waste. When I had the opportunity to board a fishing boat I accepted the offer, I was so tired of such poverty. I dreamt of travelling around the world. Unfortunately, I found myself in a worse situation than before: I ate very little and never rested. Even the promised payment never arrived. After a few months I was abandoned on an island in Indonesia. I didn’t understand their language, I suffered a lot…”    

(One minute’s silence as you hear the sound of the chains)

Leader: “If there are so many young victims of trafficking who end up on the streets of our cities, it is because many people — young, middle-aged, elderly — demand these services and are willing to pay for their pleasure. I wonder then, is the principal cause of trafficking really the traffickers? I believe the principal cause is the unscrupulous selfishness of the many hypocrites in our world. Of course, arresting traffickers is an obligation of justice. But the true solution is the conversion of hearts, cutting off demand in order to dry out the market.” (Pope Francis, February 2018).

Reader 3: A reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove the heart of stone from your body, and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and I will see to it that you walk according to my laws, and you will observe and put into practice my prescriptions.”  (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)


  • When our hearts are indifferent to the pain of our sisters and brothers All: Lord, free our hearts
  • When our minds refuse to want to know if what we use and consume has been produced by slave workers All: Lord, free our minds
  • When our eyes can’t see our sister, our brother, in the other All: Lord, free our eyes
  • When our ears close to the cry of freedom All: Lord, clear our ears
  • When our hands and feet become instruments of violence against others All: Lord free our hands and feet.

Reader 1. A Sister concludes the Story from Uganda: “…Desperation led Jessie to flee and luckily she managed to get to the embassy. For her, it was the beginning of a new life: they took her to our community, which took care of her, giving her back food, clothes and dignity. One day she asked us if we could go home: she often thought of the happiness that that small kiosk she owned only a few years earlier gave her. So we helped Jessie to obtain the documents and make contact with Uganda as we continue to support her on her journey of reintegration into work and society.”

Reader 2. Conclusion to the Story from Thailand: “…Somchai tried to escape and, with the help of two church organizations, managed to regain his freedom and return to Thailand. He was  helped to obtain the documents he had never had and we followed his case, allowing him to obtain compensation for damages and to build a new house, where he still lives with his parents. He resumed his old job and now manages to live with dignity, despite his illness.

Psalm 34

The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them;

he delivers them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous person may have many troubles,

but the Lord delivers him from them all;

he protects all his bones,

not one of them will be broken.

Evil will slay the wicked;

the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

The Lord will rescue his servants;

no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Prayer to St. Josephine Bakhita

St. Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child and endured untold hardship and suffering.  Once liberated from your physical enslavement you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church.  O St. Bakhita, assist all those who are trapped in a state of slavery; Intercede with God on their behalf so that they will be released from their chains of captivity. Those who man enslaves, let God set free.  Provide comfort to survivors of slavery and let them look to you as an example of hope and faith.  Help all survivors find healing from their wounds.  We ask for your prayers and intercessions for us and for all who contribute to the evil of human trafficking.

Closing Hymn: Pour out Compassion and Mercy (Womans Song of God)

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