Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
The Feast of St Bakhita, brings to mind the plight of those who have been trafficked, stripped of their dignity and their fundamental human rights.
We continue to ask that the month of February be dedicated to Human Trafficking Awareness and the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita, be a Day of Prayer for the release of those suffering under the yoke of this horrific crime. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis speaks of human trafficking as an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ.
South Africa, as we know, is a hotspot for traffickers. We appeal especially to our youth to be vigilant. Not long ago, as a young lady approached a particular “office” of a building in the centre of town, the porter stopped her and whispered: “if you go in there you will not come out- I am serious”. Later, as she recounted her panic, she also mentioned that she had not followed her initial instinct regarding the job on offer, considering it may be a bit too good to be true but then it was only a maybe and there was nothing to lose in going for that interview. She was fortunate. Sadly though, it is not so for the many who remain lost to society.
Traffickers are increasingly turning to social media for victim recruitment and grooming. To recruit they run operations offering opportunities to escape from poverty or discontentment. They study what a potential victim posts on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Snap Chat and others. They pretend to understand and want to help their victims who feel misunderstood or unloved.
Parents, the best gift you can give your children is to love and safeguard them. Let us go forward with courage and faith imploring the blessing of Jesus our Saviour, the prayers of Mary our Mother and Joseph her spouse, the Holy Family of Nazareth and Saint Josephine Bakhita.
SACBC Liaison Bishop for Migrants, Refugees and Human Trafficking
Bishop of the Diocese of Aliwal North