17 February 2021
The 7th World Day of Prayer and Reflection against human trafficking
The courage of an economy without human trafficking
The 7th World Day of Prayer and Reflection against human trafficking embraces the whole world
The 7th World day of Prayer and Reflection against human Trafficking came to an end; its recurrence was celebrated on February 8 which marked the liturgical memory of St. Bakhita, the girl who was sold into slavery and became a saint and universal symbol of the Church's commitment against slavery.
The theme of the 2021 edition was ‘An economy without human trafficking’, an invitation to multiply and promote new economic experiences that counteract all forms of exploitation. For this event, the inspiring image was an artwork representing St. Bakhita, realized by the Canadian sculptor Tim Schmalz with the title “Let the oppressed go free” (Lk,4).
Seven years ago, Pope Francis asked the two Unions of Superiors General to promote this feast. The International Committee of the World Day, coordinated by Talitha Kum organized a prayer marathon for the occasion. However, due to the global pandemic, the event was held online. For the first time to bring together all the realities committed against trafficking in persons worldwide.
Partners are: Talitha Kum, the network of consecrated life against trafficking in persons of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, Caritas Internationalis, the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations, the Focolare Movement and many other organizations involved at the local level.
Pope Francis addressed participants with this message: “This day is important, because it helps us to remember this drama and encourages us not to stop praying and fighting together. May reflection and awareness always be accompanied by concrete gestures, which also open up paths of social emancipation. The goal, in fact, is that every enslaved person returns to be a free protagonist of his/her own life and play an active part in building the common good."
The online marathon, livestreamed on the YouTube channels of the World Day against human trafficking, was followed by over a thousand people, connected from different parts of the world. More than five thousand people accessed the video in the following hours. Sr. Patricia Murray IBVM, UISG Executive Secretary, and H.E. Cardinal Michael Czerny, Undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section, delivered their opening address. During the seven hours of prayer there was an alternation of moments of reflection, awareness, testimonies and prayer, dances and songs.
Sr. Gabriella Bottani, International Coordinator of Talitha Kum, said: "The online marathon was made possible thanks to the concrete commitment of many organizations, especially the Talitha Kum networks around the world, which responded with commitment and great responsibility to the appeal. During the marathon, I was moved several times. At the end of the day, for the first time I felt the power of universal prayer, the beauty of celebrating together overcoming all boundaries, supported by the presence of Pope Francis. I think we can all say together with the children of Rome: Yes, I see you!”