The first edition was celebrated in 2015 at the desire of Pope Francis, who the previous year had commissioned the International Unions of Superiors and Superiors General to be its promoters.
From the beginning, Talitha Kum, the international network founded by the UISG and committed against trafficking in persons, assumed the coordination of the group of partner organizations of the day at the international level.
In 2015, throughout the world, 2312 lights were turned on against trafficking, in 154 countries. In Rome took place: a prayer vigil, a Eucharistic celebration and participation with banners in the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, during which Pope Francis spoke of the event in the following words:
"Dear brothers and sisters, today, 8 February, the liturgical memorial of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese Sister, who as a child had the traumatic experience of being a victim of trafficking, the International Unions of Superiors General of religious institutes have promoted the Day Prayer and Reflection against trafficking in persons. I encourage all those who are committed to helping men, women and children enslaved, exploited, abused as tools or pleasure and often tortured and mutilated. I hope that those who have responsibilities of government will seriously strive to eliminate the causes of this shameful scourge, a scourge unworthy of a civilized society. Let each of us be committed to being a voice for our brothers and sisters, humiliated and deprived of their dignity. Let us all pray together.”
(Pope Francis, Angelus Domini February 8, 2015)
In 2016, followed a similar pattern, favoring the local action.
The 2017 edition introduces an element of novelty, trying to balance the proposal of "prayer" and "reflection" by focusing on a specific aspect of the vast and complex world of trafficking in persons: the trafficking of children, girls and adolescents. With the specific slogan: They are just children! Not Slaves!
2018: MIGRATION WITHOUT TRAFFICKING: say yes to Freedom and no to slavery
2019 and 2020: Together against trafficking in persons
2021 brings into the spotlight one of the main causes of human trafficking: the dominant economic model of our time, whose limits and contradictions are exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The inspiring image is by Timothy Schmalz, the artist who created the sculpture of St. Bakhita "Let the Oppressed go free".
In 2022, “The Power of care – women, economy and human trafficking” is the theme for the 8th world Day of Prayer and Reflection against human trafficking. The theme’s choice continues the previous year’s, where we began to reflect on the connection between the economy and human trafficking. The 2022 edition proposes to focus on women. They are, in fact, the most affected by the violence of trafficking. At the same time, they have a fundamental and important role in the process of transforming the economy of exploitation into one of care.