On the dawn of a new year, we pray for the strength of convictions to the common good for leaders beginning new terms, especially President Lula da Silva of Brazil, whose government faced an overthrow attempt last weekend, and the new leadership in the House of Representatives of the United States.
For courage for our international community to address human trafficking, as President Biden of the United States proclaimed January 2023 “National Human Trafficking Month.”
- Human traffickers flourish when men, women, and children are forced to flee their homes for their personal safety. In 2022, 100 million people were forced to migrate from their homes. Lord, have mercy.
- Many children working on tobacco farms in Malawi are missing school, 13 UN-appointed independent human rights experts said last month, urging the government and tobacco companies to step up human rights protection across the supply chain. Lord, have mercy.
- Guatemalan aid workers and international NGOs strengthening justice and health systems in Guatemala by promoting quality care for female victims of violence and human trafficking and people living with HIV. Lord have mercy.
- Children in Mozambique, known to be particularly vulnerable to child traffickers as a result of the COVID pandemic facing their country. Lord have mercy.
- The 16,554 victims of human trafficking in the United States, 83 percent of whom were recruited by a family member/caregiver, intimate partner, or employer (2021). Lord have mercy.
We combine the intentions of all trafficked people as we pray:
Oh God, we didn’t see them.
But you did-
Hundreds and thousands of human beings
Trafficked each year to join the millions who are trapped in
Under terrible conditions, they work in factories, plow fields,
harvest crops, work quarries, fill brothels, clean homes, and haul water.
Many are children with tiny fingers for weaving rugs
and small shoulders for bearing rifles.
Their labor is forced, their bodies beaten, their faces hidden
from those who don’t really want to see them.
But you see them all, God of the poor.
You hear their cry, and you answer
by opening our eyes, breaking our hearts,
and loosening our tongues to insist:
No más. No more.
Prayer Source: Catholic Relief Services, “Prayer to End Human Trafficking.”