Day for Life is celebrated annually by the Catholic Church in Ireland, Scotland and England and Wales. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition.
This year’s Day for Life will be celebrated in Ireland on Sunday 7 October and will focus on the theme of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery.
Click here to download a PDF of the pastoral message:
Day for Life 2018 message
“My name is Daia*. I’m from a small town in Edo State, Nigeria. My family were very poor and from a young age I was always chasing a ‘better life’.
“At 18 I met and fell in love with Victor*, from Lagos. I was so impressed by his fine clothes and his confidence. Victor suggested going together to London – he said he had friends there and a job for me, cleaning in a hair salon. I was so excited. Victor traveled ahead and I was to follow him.
“After a long journey I arrived in Dublin. I had never heard of this place but thought it was just another stop-over on my way to London. Victor had arranged for someone to meet me. This man took me in his car. But we did not go to Victor, or to the hair salon, or to London. He took me to a brothel. I have been here ever since.”
* This is a true story. Names have been changed to protect identities.
Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery
Jesus tells us, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NJB). But many people do not have life to the full.
They have fallen victim to the scourge of human trafficking and modern slavery which are an assault on a person’s innate human dignity. People are not commodities to be traded ruthlessly for criminal profit.
Indeed, this is something that is happening in communities across our country, not just in our big cities. It’s not only happening in brothels and nail bars, but on farms, building sites and factories as well. Nor is this a problem confined to immigrant communities, it is affecting our own citizens too.
Trafficking is a growing problem and the UN estimates that over 40 million people worldwide are in slavery. In Ireland each year the victims of trafficking is approaching 100. Irish people are also trafficked in the UK where it is estimated that the total number of victims each year is over 13,000 from all countries.
Criminals exploit some of the most vulnerable and desperate people. We can act together to stop this. It is a crime hidden in plain sight. It is difficult to investigate, and the police need our help to identify and stop the traffickers and rescue and support the victims.
How can we help?
The Catholic community can make a real difference to help solve this problem – to help victims find freedom and live life to the full. There are many organisations working to put a stop to human trafficking and modern slavery. One of these, the Santa Marta Group, works internationally to bring the Catholic Church and law enforcement agencies together to eradicate slavery.
To read more visit www.santamartagroup.com
A Diocese or local Church community can effect real change for trafficked people.
Day for Life is celebrated yearly by the Catholic Church in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition.
We encourage you to deepen your understanding of Catholic Social Teaching on this important question by exploring the material we have for you on www.chooselife2018.ie/Day4Life/
We wish to thank Ruhama for its support in the preparation of this pastoral message on human trafficking. Ruhama is involved in advocacy and assists women affected by prostitution including victims of sex trafficking. See www.ruhama.ie
Prayers of Intercession on the theme of Human Trafficking
(There are more prayers here than might be used in any one liturgy. The idea is not to use them all but to offer people a selection. You are invited to adapt the intercessions to suit your circumstances).
On this day, when we celebrate the gift if life which comes from God, we make our prayers for all our needs and especially for the needs of those whose lives have been affected by the reality of human trafficking
1. For people everywhere, who are made in the image of God – that they may be valued for who they are and not for the economic benefit that they bring to others. Lord hear us.
2. For women and men who have been victims of human trafficking so that they can be used for the profit or the pleasure of others – that they may be rescued out of slavery and helped to build new lives which are consistent with their own freedom and dignity. Lord hear us.
3. For children who have been unlawfully removed from the families and from their homes – that they may be found safe and well and restored to their families and friends. Lord hear us.
4. For families who have lost trace of a son or daughter, a brother or sister – that they may be consoled and supported in the hope of one day being reunited with the one who is lost. Lord hear us
5. For all who work to find and to support victims of human trafficking – that their work may bear fruit and that they may retain always their own sense of the dignity of every person. Lord hear us.
6. For political leaders and public servants – that their eyes and their hearts may be opened to respond with urgency to the challenge of human trafficking. Lord hear us.
7. For employers, supervisors and others in the world of business – that they be watchful for signs of human trafficking in their own industries. Lord hears us.
8. For all who have died as a result of their violence and abuse associated with human trafficking – that they may enjoy freedom and peace in the kingdom of heaven. Lord hear us.
God our Father, you love all your daughters and sons equally and personally. We entrust to you our brothers and sisters whose lives have been touched by the pain of human trafficking. Help them to know, even in their isolation and enslavement, that they remain your sons and daughters and that you love them with an everlasting love. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord.