Press release No. 15/04
6 February 2015
On Sunday 8 February 2015, Roman Catholics around the world will celebrate the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking. This date falls on the Feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave who later became a nun and was canonised in 2000.
This initiative is the latest in growing worldwide efforts from across the church to address the human rights violations and crimes associated with the trafficking of human beings.
Human trafficking has long been a priority area for the Conference of European Churches and we are heartened to see a high profile call for prayer and awareness. Our deep tradition of work in the area includes ecumenical theological dialogue and engagement with political institutions in Europe. Through close working relationships with the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) we are committed to faithful responses to the complex social and political dimensions of human trafficking.
A recent dialogue seminar with the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) at the European Commission drew attention to the urgent need for increasingly robust response from the European community to bring about an end to human trafficking. Among recommendations advanced by CEC and our dialogue partners were a call for more research on new forms of human trafficking, increased specialized services for victims, and encouragement to establish better provisions on residence titles for trafficked persons.
“Human trafficking in all its forms is a grave affront to human dignity,” remarks CEC General Secretary Guy Liagre, “We lament its ongoing occurrence in Europe and beyond, and strive for its end through our unity-building programs at CEC and in our day-to-day prayers.”
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The Conference of European Churches  (CEC) is a fellowship of some 114 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 national council of churches and organisations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.