Vatican, religious orders launch international day against trafficking

Vatican City — Several Vatican congregations and leaders of the global representative groups of men and women religious are teaming up for a new global initiative to fight human trafficking, a scourge Pope Francis has called a modern "crime against humanity."

With the new International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, the Catholic leaders hope to draw attention to what many have called the modern slave trade and what the United Nations says has affected some 21 million around the globe.

The day of prayer is set for Feb. 8, the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, a 20th-century Sudanese woman who was imprisoned as a slave before being freed and joining a religious order.

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