The International Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking will be observed on Feb. 8. Designated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General as a time of remembrance for victims and survivors of forced labor and commercial sex trafficking, the day coincides with the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita.

People display signs in Los Angeles during the Jan. 9 “Walk 4 Freedom” in advance of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Jan. 11. Established in 2007, the day comes just a week and a half into what has been declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, a time when communities rally together to raise awareness about modern day slavery and what it looks like. (CNS photo/Victor Aleman, Vida Nueva)

With an estimated over 25 million women, children, and men trapped in modern-day slavery, Feb. 8 offers an opportunity to educate communities of faith about the prevalence of trafficking and to pray for its victims, who are often “hidden in plain sight.” Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, notes “through prayer, we grow in solidarity with those that have suffered this affront to human dignity. We demonstrate to survivors that they are not alone.”

In honor of this important day, the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services, the Archdiocese of Washington, the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, and Trinity Washington University will host an Inter-Religious Prayer Service to remember victims and survivors of human trafficking, and to reflect on how we can unite against modern-day slavery. The service will take place on Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Chapel of Trinity University (125 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC).

For help in hosting an awareness event or prayer service locally, visit Become a Shepherd for downloadable resources. To read an article from the St. Augustine Catholic magazine on Human Trafficking, click here.