On February 8th, the Human Trafficking Academy and Campus Ministry joined millions of people of the global faith community on a day of prayer for the victims of human trafficking. In 2015, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) at the Vatican designated this day as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. The Human Trafficking Academy, directed by Professor Roza Pati, member of the PCJP, has joined this initiative in line with its social justice mission of educating, researching and raising awareness about the worldwide phenomenon of modern slavery and leave no stone unturned in order to eradicate this affront to human rights and human dignity.
The Human Trafficking Academy commemorated this day with a special mass and prayer service celebrated by Rev. Msgr. Franklyn Casale, president of St. Thomas University, followed by a discussion led by Ms. Beatriz Susana Uitts and Father Paul VI Karenga, current J.S.D. candidates of the Intercultural Human Rights Program at St. Thomas Law. Ms. Uitts discussed “Human Trafficking in Cyberspace” and explained how criminals are using the internet to target, entice, groom, and solicit victims for trafficking purposes. Father Paul VI Karenga presented “Trends of Human Trafficking in West Africa” and highlighted some of the key challenges in addressing human trafficking in Africa.
St. Thomas community was joined at this service by a group of high school students from the Chaminade-Madonna CollegePreparatory in Hollywood, whose presence and desire to learn more about preventing recruitment into human trafficking amongst youth through internet was a most welcome treat.
February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of human trafficking victims, a Sudanese woman kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery. Upon escaping to freedom, she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.
Learn more about Human Trafficking Academy at www.humantraffickingacademy.org.