World Day of Prayer, Reflection, and Action Against Human Trafficking


The 8th of February is the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita – the Patron Saint of Human Trafficking. She was a Sudanese nun who lived very traumatic experiences of human trafficking at a young age. Over the course of 12 years after being kidnapped, she was sold, bought, and given away a number of times, beaten, incapacitated, whipped, cut, and suffered well over 100 physical scars from all this abuse, as well as the emotional and mental scars that would follow.

After a dangerous journey to Italy, she was given away and served as a nanny for another family. When this family needed to travel away, she was put in the custody of the Canossians Sisters. Here, she learned a lot about who God truly was, rather than just knowing him as ‘a name’. She asked the Sisters a lot of questions and received a lot of answers. Her time here influenced her to follow a call to Christ.

When the family returned, the mistress struggled to get Josephine to leave the Sisters. This conflict went to court and Josephine was declared free. This was due to the court finding that slavery was outlawed before Josephine was born in Sudan, so she was not able to be lawfully made a slave.

She got baptised in 1890, as well as receiving her first Holy Communion and Confirmation on the same day. The Archbishop who gave Josephine her sacraments was Giuseppe Sarto – Pope Pius X. She took her final vows in 1896 and worked as a cook and doorkeeper in the covenant in Schio for the next 42 years. She also travelled and shared her story among other covenants, and often ‘thanked’ her kidnappers, as this traumatic experience is what let her to find God.

Towards the end of her life, she used a wheelchair due to physical pain, and in February 1947, spoke her last words “Our Lady, Our Lady!” before passing. Her canonisation process began in 1958, was declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1987, beatified in 1992, and canonised in 2000.


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