A growing movement is recognizing the perils of human trafficking and its wide reach throughout the world. "Trafficking for exploitation robs people of dignity. It is modern-day slavery and evokes the Old Testament situation of Moses seeing the condition of the people in slavery in Egypt and wanting to rescue them."
Religious priests, brothers and sisters in Brazil are urging everyone attending the Olympic Games to report instances of exploitation of vulnerable people and to turn in suspected traffickers.
In 1989, while serving in Guatemala as a missionary in a Mayan community, Ursuline Sr. Dianna Ortiz was abducted and tortured by Guatemalan security forces. This trauma fueled her passion for human rights work. Ortiz now serves as the editor of Education for Justice, a project of the Center of Concern. She also founded the international Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition and served as its director for 10 years.
Sr. Imelda Poole of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary is president of RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation). On Sunday, Feb. 7, Poole, 69, attended a prayer service in St. Paul's Cathedral in the Albanian capital Tirana, where she has been based for the past 10 years establishing her Mary Ward Loreto Foundation, which works in the field of trafficking.
After being involved with anti-trafficking efforts for 10 years, I received a grant from the Louisville Institute to study the resilience of women who have been trafficked here in the United States. Through my interviews, I discovered a face of the human trafficking reality that is rarely addressed. Survivors themselves made it clear that they would like more focus on their growth, goals and strength — on who they have become in their own resilience.
GSR Today - Today, Feb. 8, is the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, and it's no coincidence that it is also the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita: The date was chosen at the request of women religious to highlight her life.
Four years ago, Sheri Shuster decided she wanted to raise awareness about sex trafficking in the United States — she just wasn't sure how. She bought a camera and a computer, thinking she might film a public service announcement, but instead ended creating up creating a full documentary. Shuster's debut film, "Still I Rise," tells the story of black sex trafficking victims in California.
Disposable girls . . . suspicious massage parlours . . . shifty escort services . . . massive frauds . . . strip clubs . . . physical and psychological violence . . . women killed or missing . . . many young women unidentified, anonymous, damaged in body and soul. It is all so overwhelming, and because of that, very often people do not know what to do to help the cause of abused and exploited women.
Humility Sr. Anne Victory and some of her sisters started the Cleveland-based Collaborative to End Human Trafficking in 2007 after attending a conference on immigration and trafficking. The collaborative works with eight other agencies, including the FBI, to offer in-services and workshops and to provide speakers and volunteers. The idea is to create a safety net for those being trafficked. The collaborative also works to raise awareness among professionals like nurses, social workers, educators and local law enforcement officers.
In the history of the United States, human trafficking runs long, pre-dating the Declaration of Independence. As efforts to end slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse have evolved, Catholic sisters were among the very first faith-based groups to take on human trafficking, specifically of women for sex, in modern times. Global Sisters Report looks specifically at the efforts of Benedictines in South Dakota, whose education and other ministry centers on the I-29 corridor and the particular vulnerability of Native American young women living there. Their work mirrors that of many other sisters' communities and coalitions.