~ by Gail DeGeorge, Global Sisters Report
The fight against human trafficking continues, 15 years after the United States designated January 11 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in 2007, and January as National Human Trafficking Prevention Month in 2010.
Catholic sisters around the world are deeply committed to ending the scourge of modern-day slavery. Through regional organizations, such as the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking and Rome-based Talitha Kum, initiated by the International Union of Superiors General as a “network of networks” active in five continents coordinating efforts of congregations in 60 or more networks, sisters work to raise awareness, aid and rehabilitate victims, and lobby for stricter laws and enforcement.
The Global Sisters Report (GRS) reflects these efforts in their coverage of sisters’ ministries and work related to human trafficking. They also take opportunities to help raise awareness through other venues. The GSR in the Classroom curriculum, for instance, offers six lessons about human trafficking. GSR correspondent Soli Salgado, who has reported extensively about human trafficking, produced a special video presentation for the annual California Ministry Conference Hope, Heal, Renew, sponsored by eight dioceses and archdioceses from California, Nevada and Hawaii. The 2021 conference was a virtual gathering held November. 4-6.
The hourlong segment, entitled, “Migrating Toward Exploitation: Why Migrants Are Susceptible to Human Trafficking, and How Sisters Are Helping,” featured an explanatory introduction, plus interviews with Sr. Sally Duffy, a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati who is involved with migration and trafficking issues, and Jennifer Reyes Lay, executive director of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.
There are also other official days to commemorate trafficking victims and efforts to raise awareness and stop human trafficking. February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was born in Sudan and sold into slavery and taken to Italy where she eventually joined the Canossian Sisters. February 8 is a World Day of Prayer, Reflection, and Action against Human Trafficking, designated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General. The theme for this year’s day of prayer is “The Power of Care – Women, Economics, Human Trafficking.”
In addition, the United Nations observes the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30.
While much of the attention of anti-trafficking is on women and children who are trafficked and abused, there is also growing attention to the labor trafficking and workers who are exploited.
There can never be enough attention to the issue of human trafficking, or the efforts by Catholic sisters and others to help women, children and vulnerable adults avoid becoming victims of trafficking, or assisting those who are already caught in the trap. So, this day, this month, February 8th and every day take time to pray and add your efforts to the cause to stop human trafficking.
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The Missionary Sisters of the Guadalupe Province have a Corporate Stance on Human Trafficking.
To learn more please click here and here to download a PDF of the Corporate Stance brochure.