Prayer Service for an End to Human Trafficking
For use on January 11, 2011 (Human Trafficking Awareness Day)
or February 8th (Feast Day of St. Josephine Bakhita)
Opening Song: Select a song, such as God Whose Purpose is to Kindle or We are Called
Leader: Let us begin by observing a moment of silence in solidarity with the more than 27 million women, men and children who suffer each day from modern day slavery.
[Moment of Silence]
Leader: We hold all those impacted by human trafficking in our hearts as we pray Psalm 126
Psalm Prayer (Read Antiphonally)
When God brought the exiles back to
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouths were filled with laughter,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Among the nations it was said,
“God has done great things for them.”
God has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
Bring back our exiles, O God,
like fresh streams in the desert.
May those who sow in tears
reap with songs and shouts of joy.
Those that go forth weeping,
bearing the seeds for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
All: Glory to you, God of life and freedom, praise and thanksgiving now and forever. Amen
Leader: Each person forced into slavery has a unique story—a story of struggles, hopes and
dreams. Let us listen now to the story of one survivor of human trafficking.
Reader 1: St. Josephine Bakhita was born in southern
Reader 2: In 1883, she was bought by an Italian diplomat who sent her to
Reader 1: Later, the Italian family came to take their “property” back to
Reader 2: St. Josephine was canonized in 2000, and there is currently a grassroots movement to designate her as the patron saint for human trafficking victims. “In St. Josephine Bakhita we find a shining advocate of genuine emancipation. The history of her life inspires not passive acceptance but the firm resolve to work effectively to free girls and women from oppression and violence, and to return them to their dignity in the full exercise of their rights.” ~Pope John Paul II, homily at her canonization
Response Prayer: In the weeks before her death, St. Josephine Bakhita re‐lived the terrible days of her captivity. More than once, she cried out: “Please, loosen the chains … they are heavy!” We ask for the intercession of St. Josephine as we pray …
Ø For the estimated 27 million women, men and children currently held in slavery‐like conditions.
R. Loosen the chains … they are heavy!
Ø For young girls and women exploited and objectified in the commercial sex industry. R.
Ø For those forced to become soldiers, especially children who are made into tools for violence. R.
Ø For those in bonded labor in agricultural fields, mines and factories. R.
Ø For conversion of heart for the perpetrators and organizers of human trafficking. R.
Ø For governments, corporations, and consumers, that we will address the systems that make human trafficking possible. R.
Ø For the success of efforts to stop the demand for human trafficking. R.
Closing Prayer: God of hope and freedom, inspire us in our work to loosen the chains of human trafficking in our world. Strengthen us so that like St. Josephine Bakhita, we may stand firm in our resolve to create a slave‐free world. Amen.