When we hear the words human trafficking we think of the horrors foreign women and children go through in their countries. From rape, to torture, to prostitution, and even death. But what not many people are aware of is that human trafficking is a practice common not just in poorer countries but in wealthy countries like the U.S. Human trafficking is not just the dark and dingy picture portrayed in films. American children and young adults being forced into prostitution and into working for someone else’s profit is human trafficking. The King of Prussia Mall, located in suburban Philadelphia, and many other malls, and concerts and sporting events in the U.S. are playgrounds for traffickers. They target runaways and vulnerable young people.
Cabrini freshman, Christian Vazquez, had a basic understanding of human trafficking from learning about it at his high school, but he admits that he was not aware of how close to home this occurrence is. Because of the assumed “…tough laws…” that the U.S. has, many Americans like Christian have no idea that human trafficking is an international occurrence and not just another misfortune third world citizens have to endure.
Thankfully, the Cabrinian community continues spreading awareness on social justice issues and providing for those in need. The Cabrini Action and Advocacy Coalition is an MSC ministry that promulgates the MSC’s two corporate stances: to SUPPORT the rights and dignity of all immigrants and STOP human trafficking once and for all.
“The coalition was formed to do whatever we [could] to stop human trafficking,” current chairman, Karol Brewer explains. Karol began her work with the Cabrini Action and Advocacy Coalition many years ago, and because of her dedication to helping the most vulnerable, the MSCs asked her to chair this initiative.
Karol is also the founder of The Cabrini Closet, “a trendy Goodwill” — as I call it — which specializes in providing human trafficking victims with new and contemporary attire to better accommodate them in their transition into society once again. She began this work after forming a friendship with an FBI agent who worked solely with trafficking victims and hearing the stories of what these people go through. “We have to do something — we can do something!” Karol recalled telling herself. So she took matters into her own hands and thought: “Why not do this on our own?” And so, The Closet was created!
To further spread the word on The Closet and promote awareness as well as support for Human Trafficking and its victims, the Cabrini Action and Advocacy Coalition will be hosting a sale to raise funds for the cause. The sale will take place on Wednesday, March 16th in the College’s Grace Hall Atrium from 10:00 am-3:00 pm. (See flyer on page 6.) They will be selling designer purses, shoes, belts, and many more items, which were donated to The Closet by generous people from all over the country. These items will be sold at reasonable prices.
Karol has reached out to top designers to ask them to donate at least one of their bags. She has sent out about 15 requests to designers ranging from Michael Kors to Ralph Lauren and even Coach. She is still waiting for replies but is hoping at least one agrees. Being as though this is the first fundraiser the coalition has hosted, she expressed her nervousness for the turnout of the sale. But she was enthused about the Cabrini community and their support of the cause. Though she admits that it is a lot of work, Karol finds it all to be exceptionally “gratifying…[and] wonderful that [we] get to do this.”
All proceeds will go directly towards the Coalition to provide funds and gift cards for trafficking victims, and to Dawn’s Place, a shelter in Southeastern Pennsylvania for women who are victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse.