News

Day of prayer for victims of trafficking

06th February 2014
AoS urges our supporters and friends to join us in prayer for the victims of human trafficking on the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita on 8 February. The date has been designated by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales as a Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking and those who work to combat it. 
                    AoS is actively involved in assisting seafarers and fishermen who are in danger of being exploited and abused by unscrupulous owners. A recent Sunday Times report titled 'The slaves in peril on the sea' documents how the crew of a fishing trawler operating from a port in Great Britain suffered physical and mental torture by their skipper. One of the men was tricked into working as a migrant deckhand after initially being promised work as a crewmember onboard a cargo ship. 
                    The article also mentions how AoS and other organisations supported the victims and eventually helped them escape to safety. AoS National Director Martin Foley told the Sunday Times, "For years there has been abuse but now the authorities are finally becoming more attuned to its existence." Many cases of human trafficking of seafarers and fishermen have gone undetected as the victims fear the consequences of speaking out and the authorities fail to understand the complexity of the exploitation. 
                    Last November, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, which coordinates the activities of AoS worldwide, repeated its call to governments to urgently ratify the Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (No. 188). The new regulation will go some way in ensuring the welfare of fishing crew are better protected.
                    This year's Feast Day of St Josephine Bakhita will see American Catholics join fellow Catholics in Great Britain in prayer following the decision by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to also designate 8 February as a Day of Prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking. In the coming years Catholics worldwide will be encouraged to recognise this feast and join the efforts in the campaign to end human trafficking. 
                    For more about the Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking and the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita please visit the Catholic Church in England and Wales website.

The Feast Day of St Jospehine Bakhita falls on February 8