Religious Call and Prayers
Pray with all those who are trafficked
Reflect and pray for all concerned with human trafficking
Each excerpt of the message from the Catholic sisters gathered in Rome in October, 2007 is addressed to persons concerned with human trafficking and is here also followed by a prayer for these persons.
To the Victims
We wish to say to you who have been trafficked – we stand with you, you are not alone. We will fight with you to release you from your bondage. In solidarity with you, we will confront the traffickers. We challenge unjust systems and those who exploit others. Do not give up hope.
Let us pray for the victims: that they will find comfort, peace, security and dignity restored to their lives.
To the Traffickers
We women religious from across the world, say to you traffickers, “Stop the exploitation! Look at the children, women and men you are destroying with your physical and psychological abuse. By violating their fundamental human rights, you damage, deny and destroy their identities, names and status. We condemn these actions as well as the subtle ways you use to exploit them”
Let us pray for the traffickers: that they will be freed from their lust for money and power, and come to see what they are doing to others whose lives are just as precious as their own.
To Demanders and Exploiters
We call on you who exploit women, children and men for commercial sex or forced labour to stop buying human beings, for without your demand, the evil of human trafficking would not exist. We call on you to realise that all women, children and men have equal rights and dignity and that in your demand you cause irreparable harm and lose your own dignity.
Let us pray for demanders and exploiters: that they will be freed from the shackles of their unbridled sexual drives, and realise that their lust deprives others of their right to dignity and freedom of choice.
We acknowledge that many governments have laws against trafficking: we call for an increased enforcement of these laws. We further call on governments of the world to address the issues of economic inequality, poverty and corruption that lead to the destruction of so many lives. The physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological torture of millions of people hidden in back streets, ghettoes, hotels, and parlours all over the world, is criminal activity. We urge governments to create and implement policies and strong legislation to criminalise the exploiters. Good governance demands that traffickers do not benefit from the vulnerability of others.
Let us pray for world leaders: that they will faithfully and quickly address the issues that lead to and allow for human trafficking.
To Religious Leaders
We appreciate all the religious leaders who have supported the fight against trafficking in persons. We call on all religious leaders to end religious practises and customs that discriminate against women and girls, and hence contribute to the attitude of gender inequality underlying the growth of human trafficking in our world today. We urge all religious leaders to denounce injustice and violence against women, children and men who are exploited or used in the sale of organs. We encourage you to relentlessly use your pastoral responsibility to defend and promote the human dignity of persons exploited by these forms of slavery.
Let us pray for religious leaders: that they may have the courage to denounce injustice and violence against women and children and that they may always be willing to defend the rights of the voiceless.
To People of Good Will
We urge all people of good will to open your hearts to the victims and to act to change the root causes of human trafficking – poverty, gender inequality, discrimination, greed and corruption. Each small action of restoring dignity to another person furthers the dignity of each one of us. Our hope rests in that vision of humanity that honours the principle that no woman, child or man is a commodity for sale. Relying on the love of God, we ask you to join us in our prayers and our actions to eradicate this social and moral evil.
Let us pray for all the people of good will: that they have strength, courage and wisdom to act each time human dignity is threatened.
(Adaptation of the Declaration, issued in Rome, October 22nd 2007. www.zenith.org)
Final prayer … Let us pray with hope
God hears the cry of the poor
Blessed be our God.
I will bless God’s name at all times
God’s praise is ever in my mouth. R.
Let my soul glory in our God,
For he hears the cry of the poor. R.
Every spirit crushed God will save,
God will be ransom for their lives. R.
God will be safe shelter for their fears,
For he hears the cry of the poor. R.
Let us pray together
Almighty and loving God, you who created all people in your image,
Lead us to become individuals of deep compassion as we read and reflect on the stories of affliction suffered by trafficked men, women and children.
You gave your only Son, Jesus, who died and rose again so that sins will be forgiven.
We place before you today the pain and anguish of the trafficked who are deprived of land, language, culture, family and the hope of justice.
We live in faith that you will hear our prayer for them so that they will escape from the pain and hopelessness of their situations. Touch their spirits with hope and heal their suffering bodies.
We are sorry on behalf of our human brothers and sisters who inflict such pain. We ask forgiveness and conversion for them.
Help each of us to grow in compassion and in gratitude for our own freedom and the riches we enjoy.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.