Weekend of Prayer to end human trafficking: Jan. 11-13
Human trafficking, both for labor and sex, is among the largest and fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the world. Labor trafficking dominates much of the world economy, and accounts for upwards of two-thirds of the estimated 27 million people enslaved today. Sex trafficking, the more common form in the United States, depends on the willingness of men to pay for sex, and all too often from minors. The average age at which a girl is forced into prostitution in America is 12-14, and it is the most vulnerable among us who are being abused.
Christian leaders are seeking to organize a million people who will commit to pray for an end to modern-‐day slavery during the Weekend of Prayer to End Slavery and Trafficking. The initiative is scheduled for January 11-‐13, 2013, coinciding with the Congressional designation of January 11 as “Human Trafficking Awareness Day.”
The Weekend of Prayer to End Slavery and Trafficking is being led by a coalition of abolitionists and prayer leaders. The Task Force’s mission is to mobilize people of prayer throughout the U.S. and to encourage awareness of the issue of human trafficking.
Tomas J. Lares of Orlando, who heads Florida Abolitionist, founded the national annual prayer initiative in 2012 and is its National Chair. Honorary Chairs include Rev. Sam Rodriguez, Jr. of Sacramento who heads the 14,000+ churches of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Council; Sister Mary Ellen Dougherty of Baltimore, MD, a School Sister of Notre Dame from the Atlantic–Midwest Province, who previously coordinated anti–trafficking educational efforts for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); and Sister Jean Schafer of San Diego who helps operate SDS Hope House for adult women survivors of trafficking and publishes the nationally-‐distributed Stop Trafficking newsletter.
“Our Weekend of Prayer National Leadership Task Force and our partners believe that we can best fight this scourge of evil through prayer and wisdom from God,” said Lares. “It is essential that people of faith exercise leadership roles in this fight, the greatest civil rights issue in the world today, just as religious leaders in the nineteenth century led the fight to end slavery in their age, and religious leaders led the fight for civil rights in this country. It is morally intolerable that slavery still exists in America in the twenty-‐first century and we must do all that we can to bring an end to this evil.”
A variety of events is planned for the Weekend of Prayer, including:
- Friday, January 11: HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS DAY
(As designated by Congress)
NOON: The Leadership Task Force encourages everyone to say individual prayers, in their homes or places of employment, at 12 noon in their own time zone. If at work, please ask others to join you. A suggested prayer can be found on the website.
- Saturday, January 12, 2:00 p.m. EST: MAJOR EMANCIPATION RALLY IN DC
At 2:00 p.m. EST in Washington, DC, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and just eleven days after the nation has celebrated the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the prayer network will conduct a modern Emancipation Rally including both Catholic and Protestant clergy. Keynote speaker at the rally will be Kenneth Morris, Jr., the great-‐great-‐great grandson of Frederick Douglass, one of the nation’s earliest abolitionists. Morris heads the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, a national organization fighting modern day slavery. Plans are for the event to be streamed live at Weekend of Prayer.
CONFERENCE PRAYER CALL 9‐11:00 a.m. EST: Christians are encouraged to join a national conference prayer call with clergy and lay persons, facilitated by Prayer Surge NOW. The call in number is (712) 432-0075 and the access code is 6149782 followed by the pound sign (#).
- Sunday, January 13: PRAYERS OF THOUSANDS of CHURCHES
“Petitioning with one voice, we are encouraging congregations throughout our nation to dedicate their prayers to ending modern-‐day slavery,” Lares said. “It is our hope that through this event a million Christians will be informed about the horrors of modern-‐day slavery and be motivated to take action to seek justice.”