The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General has designated February 8 as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she became a Canossian nun and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering. She was declared a saint in 2000.

On February 8, Catholics all over the world are encouraged to host or attend prayer services to create greater awareness about this phenomenon. Through prayer, we not only reflect on the experiences of those that have suffered through this affront to human dignity, but also comfort, strengthen, and help empower survivors. 

In the words of the committee chairman for migration, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S.:  "If just one person realizes from this day that they or someone they know is being trafficked, we will have made a difference." (source: usccb.org)

Novena to St. Josephine Bakhita (Giuseppina Bakhita)
"Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!"

First Day: 1/30
Dear St Josephine, you were taken from your family at an early age and lost your entire identity. We pray for all those children who have been abducted and for their parents and families who suffer not knowing what has become of them.   May they be comforted, and may they one day be reunited. We pray especially for child victims of human trafficking.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Second Day: 1/31
Dear St Josephine, you knew what it was to be a slave, to have no rights, to have lost even your name. We pray for the victims of human traffickers and all those in any kind of slavery. May this evil be wiped out from our world.           We pray especially for victims of labor trafficking.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Third Day: 2/1
Dear St Josephine, one of your 'owners' had your whole body scarred. You knew this terrible pain. We pray for all victims of torture. Help them to heal in body, mind and spirit. May all governments fight this practice. We pray especially for those scarred by slavery, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Fourth Day: 2/2
Dear St Josephine, even in the terrible suffering of your life, you saw beauty in the world and believed there must be God because of that beauty. May we too have something of your love for beauty and the natural world. We pray especially for those who don't recognize your beauty.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Fifth Day: 2/3
Dear St Josephine, when the family which had rescued you wanted you to leave the Canossians, you had the courage to refuse, even though you were truly grateful to them. Help us to put God's will above all things, even above our natural affections. We pray especially for your fortitude.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Sixth Day: 2/4
Dear St Josephine, you were so grateful to know God and to be part of his Church that you often kissed the baptismal font.  May we never take for granted the faith we have been offered and give us something of your humility and gratitude for all God does. We pray especially for those whose faith needs your strength.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Seventh Day: 2/5
Dear St Josephine, your sufferings gave you a great compassion for others and you were constantly smiling and always open to those who came to you, no matter how inconvenient it was. St Josephine, may we have something of your sweetness and openness, something of your joy. We pray especially for those who have nothing to smile about.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Eighth Day: 2/6
Dear St Josephine, in your last painful illness you relived your slavery, begging the nurse to loosen your chains. We pray for all those who are weighed down by pain, and we ask that we too may enter the sufferings of our lives in faith and knowledge that God has not abandoned us. We pray especially for victims who feel there is no way out.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Ninth Day: 2/7
Dear St Josephine, your last words were "Our Lady, Our Lady". May we too know the comfort of the Mother of God, now and at the hour of our death. We pray especially for all victims of human trafficking to know your love and the love of our Blessed Mother.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Feb 8th: 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 whom 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 those enslaved among us.   Amen.