Prayer Service for January 2015

Prayer Service for Human Trafficking Awareness
Parts have been adapted from: Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center’s
Prayer Service for Human Trafficking Awareness Day, January 11, 2010

Opening Song: We Are Called

Leader: As we unite to pray for an end to Human Trafficking, let us begin by observing a moment of silence in solidarity with the more than 27 million women, men and children who suffer each day from this modern form of slavery.

(Moment of Silence)

Reader 1: “Again I considered all the oppressions that take place under the sun; the tears of the victims with none to comfort them! From the hand of their oppressors comes violence, and there is none to comfort them!” (1)

Leader: We join our tears with the victims of human trafficking. Feeling their pain, let us listen to the news about the climate crisis and how it creates powerless victims of human trafficking.

Reader 2: Carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas is driving climate disruption and warming our planet. The more carbon pollution in the air, the more the sun’s energy gets trapped as heat. This means things keep getting hotter. Warmer temperatures have real consequences for all of us. Sea levels around the world have risen nearly 7.8 inches since 1901, swallowing entire islands and creeping closer to populated areas of great coastal cities like New York, Melbourne and Venice. Additionally, extreme weather events like torrential rain, floods, heat waves, and drought are becoming more frequent and intense. Carbon pollution is warming the planet and creating dirty weather like extreme droughts, flooding, wildfires, and super storms. (2)

(Moment of Silence)

Leader: We are outraged at the consequences of the greed that fuels the human-caused carbon pollution that is destroying the very air we breathe and causing untold human suffering, especially to the impoverished and most vulnerable. Let us listen to the news about people victimized by human traffickers in the wake of just a few recent extreme weather events.

(Moment of Silence)

Reader 1: After Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, thousands of temporary guest workers flooded the city, eager for construction jobs.  According to a study conducted by the Human Rights Center of the University of California at Berkeley, 54 percent of those workers were undocumented, setting the stage for human trafficking abuses that can occur when workers are in the United States on work or guest visas, Murphy wrote.

Human trafficking does not require crossing state lines, only force, fraud or coercion.

Murphy’s report highlighted Million Express Manpower, Inc., a firm that after Hurricane Katrina recruited Thai workers by promising them agricultural jobs in North Carolina but instead routed them to New Orleans. Once in Louisiana, Murphy wrote, “they were forced to do construction work and held hostage by armed guards in squalid, un-rehabilitated buildings. Their passports and visas were confiscated. They were given no money for food, so they were forced to eat birds they caught outside their building.” (3)

(Moment of Silence)

Leader: God of Light, bring a new dawn to men, women and children treated like slaves in construction work, agricultural fields, mines, sweat shops and other situations of forced labor. (Moment of Silence)

Reader 2: According to warnings from aid agencies, millions of children in India & Pakistan were at risk of trafficking following disastrous flash floods in South Asia that began on September 3, 2014 and in which at least 450 people were killed and more than 700,000 made homeless. In addition to the loss of their livelihoods, vulnerable families also faced the harrowing prospect of having their children taken away by “opportunistic” traffickers.

Every 30 seconds, a child is trafficked somewhere in the world, and the practice is often heightened in the wake of conflict or natural disaster. The head of a relief agency’s Asia region said: “We know from previous disasters … that opportunistic traffickers will take advantage of vulnerable families in the wake of disasters, by offering to temporarily take their child to cities to find work and send back money. Out of desperation, families accept the offer, without realizing that their child – some as young as six years old – will be sold into the sex industry or into child labor. In some extremely sad cases, they never see their child again.” (4)

(Moment of Silence)

Leader: Our hearts ache for children doubly victimized by climate disasters and by human traffickers. We grieve for the children orphaned or deceived into slavery and for the men and women who become victims of human trafficking following such disasters. Help us to know how to join the struggle to mitigate the climate crisis and to end human slavery. (Moment of Silence)

All: God of all peoples, awaken our hearts and deepen our commitment to work for a world where all persons are free and able to live their lives fully and joyfully. We ask for conversion of heart for traffickers and for strong laws that both protect victims and help to end carbon pollution. Help us to grow in our awareness that we are all connected to one another and intimately connected to the Earth community. Give us wisdom, inspiration, and courage to stand in solidarity, so that together we will find ways to the freedom that is your gift to all your people. Amen

Closing Song: We Shall Overcome

1. Ecclesiastes 4:1
2. Excerpted from The Climate Reality Project
3. Excerpted from “the Louisiana Human Trafficking Report” by Juliet Linderman,, the Times-Picayune
4. Excerpted from an article by Carey Lodge on September 24, 2014 in Christianity Today


About opreach

I am Sister Pat Farrell, OP, a Dominican Sister of San Rafael. We are known as the Order of Preachers, and the Dominican charism of Preaching is very real in my life. The words of St. Paul resonate within me: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16) The quote on the header of OPreach is from the Dominican Saint Catherine of Siena. "Preach as if you had a million voices. It is silence that kills the world." I live at St. Luke Convent - a House of Hospitality - in River Forest, Illinois with another sister. I enjoy walking, hiking, and photography. The Chicago area has some great places for all of that!
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