On the occasion of the International Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking this Friday, the Auxiliary Bishop of Cologne Ansgar Puff denounced a "scandal of slavery". This is occurring "in our midst," he declared.
"In Germany, thousands of people suffer from forced prostitution and labor exploitation," said the vice chairman of the Migration Commission of the Catholic German Bishops' Conference in Cologne. The day of prayer on this Friday is a day of solidarity with the victims, she said.
St. Josephine Bakhita Memorial Day
The 8. February is the commemoration day of St. Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947), patron saint of victims of slavery. To mark the occasion, Catholic Christians around the world are observing a day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking. Bakhita was reportedly enslaved as a child in Darfur, Sudan. She later made it to Italy, where she was given freedom with the help of a religious community. She was baptized, became a nun and was venerated in the northern Italian town of Schio during her lifetime. Pope John Paul II. Canonized it in 2000.
The German Bishops' Conference referred to Pope Francis, on whose initiative the Santa Marta Group was founded in 2014.
Abolish Modern Slavery
In it, bishops, religious sisters and senior police officers work together to fight human trafficking and support victims. In the same year, the Pope had signed a declaration with dignitaries of other religious communities in the Vatican calling for the "abolition of modern slavery worldwide by 2020 and for all time.".
The bishops' conference quotes from the "Global Estimates of Modern Slavery," according to which more than 40 million people were victims of modern slavery, mainly sexual exploitation and labor exploitation, in 2017. More than two-thirds were women, according to the report. For Germany, it is estimated that up to 167.000 people were affected by modern slavery.
Catholic organizations working against human trafficking in Germany joined forces in 2014 in the "Working Group on Human Trafficking" at the suggestion of the Migration Commission of the German Bishops' Conference. In addition to the Secretariat of the Bishops' Conference and the Catholic Office in Berlin, the German Caritas Association, the German Commission Justitia et Pax, Renovabis, Solwodi, IN VIA and the Stuttgart Women's Information Center are represented.