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Australian Catholics are being encouraged to join thousands of people around the world on 8th February to mark the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, which is celebrated on the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese woman who was trafficked as a child and became a Canossian Sister.
The online pilgrimage, Journeying with Dignity, is a global event and the early part will feature a video about a group of young social justice advocates from a Catholic secondary college in Nathalia, in country Victoria.
To find out all about the pilgrimage, prayers and how to participate in the 24-hour live stream, go to https://preghieracontrotratta.org/?lang=en. Once you subscribe, you will be notified about the timeline of the event.
St Mary of the Angels Secondary College students in Nathalia participated in Victorian ACRATH’s Learning for Justice Project. At the 2023 International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, Pope Francis missioned the young people of the world to a year of activation in the fight to end human trafficking. The Justice Project’s aim was for secondary school students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of a human trafficking issue and determine an appropriate action that they would commit to taking. ACRATH’s November newsletter featured the story.
Marguerite Buckley, ACRATH’s Victorian Regional Co-coordinator, said “Students at one of the involved schools, St Mary of the Angels Secondary College in Nathalia, examined the issue of slavery free coffee. They uncovered the reality of trafficking in coffee production and responded creatively, investigating available slavery-free coffee brands and offering their teachers and peers a coffee tasting session. Their aim was to introduce the most popular brand of slavery-free coffee throughout the school. They produced a video highlighting their learnings and showcasing their coffee tasting session.”
Marguerite applauded the school’s Coffee Project, which culminated in the formal introduction of Jasper Coffee across the school.
“We were truly impressed by the knowledge and conviction displayed by these young people and their effective actions to address the injustice of human trafficking,” she said.
More details about the project were also published in the St Mary of the Angels’ College newsletter here. The video, featuring the students, will also be available on the ACRATH website after the February 8 online event.
The coffee project builds on earlier work by St Mary of the Angels to change their uniforms to include slavery-free scarves which are now available to students.