As we prepare to observe the Day for Life on Sunday 17th June, Pope Francis has sent a special message to Catholics in England and Wales appealing: ‘that we may open our eyes and be able to see the misery of those so deprived of their dignity and freedom’ as victims of human trafficking and modern slavery and ‘hear their cry for help’.
Invoking the intercession of St Josephine Bakhita, the patron of victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, he prays that ‘she might intercede on their behalf with the God of Mercy so that the chains of their captivity will be broken’. Imparting his Apostolic Blessing to all who celebrate the Day for Life, the Holy Father also prays that ‘God might free all those who have been threatened, wounded or mistreated by the trade and trafficking of human beings and bring comfort to those who have survived such inhumanity’.
Day for Life is the day in the Church’s year dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. This year’s Day for Life remembers all who are suffering or have survived human trafficking and modern slavery. In the UK alone, it is estimated that every year there are over 13,000 victims of trafficking.
In the Diocese of Westminster, the practical expression of the fight to combat human trafficking and modern slavery is Caritas Bakhita House, a safe house that provides rescued women with safety and support to begin the recovery process and to find new hope for their lives. To find out more about their work, please visit https://www.caritaswestminster.org.uk/bakhita-house.php