A Crime Against Humanity
Human Trafficking is currently the Second Largest Criminal Activity in the World Today, Exceeded Only by the Illegal Drug Trade. Forced labor, debt bondage, and sex trafficking affects as many as 27 million people worldwide. Many sisters and congregations across the Federation have taken a very public stance against this heinous act. We invite your involvement to aid in preventing, detecting, and responding to this urgent social justice issue in your community.
Education & Community Advocacy
Sisters serve as spokespersons to churches, community service groups and local media outlets, teaching us ways to prevent this crime. Congregations have put on training programs and events in their local communities to help healthcare professionals and law enforcement officers recognize human trafficking. Others take part in community marches to spread public awareness of this modern day form of slavery.
Some sisters choose to work with their local politicians, sending letters and e-mails to pass laws necessary to prosecute human traffickers. Others participate in lobbying campaigns against certain corporations, calling for an end to labor trafficking within their supply chains.
Sisters have also approached hotels in their local area to sign anti-trafficking pledges. Hotels can be particularly high-risk areas, so many sisters collect donations and funds for anti-trafficking programs like S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution), an initiative that distributes millions of bars of soap to hotels which are wrapped with the National Human Trafficking Hotline number.
Direct Service to Victims
Congregations have held drives to collect and bag personal care items and snacks for use in street outreach. Some even participate once a week in nighttime ride-alongs, approaching any single woman they see standing alone on the streets and inviting her to visit a community shelter the next day that provides counseling, a meal, a shower, and a place to do laundry and relax.
Sister congregations have also directly funded police victim units that rescue people from trafficking and provide donations for their immediate needs. In just one instance, a congregation provided a donation that was later used that day to buy a coat and baby things for a 12-year-old pregnant girl rescued from a situation of trafficking.
Once victims are safely away from their oppressors, and the cycle of prostitution/labor/addiction is broken, they must bring closure to that chapter in their lives and start anew. Some sisters volunteer with non-profits, residential programs and safe houses who help trafficking victims acclimate to regular life. Sisters drive them to medical and counseling appointments, and take them grocery shopping every week, hearing their stories and doing what they can to help them through the recovery process.
Understanding the social, cultural and economic factors that promote human trafficking, and benefit from it, is the first step. Sign up for one of these monthly trafficking newsletters that provides the latest information on preventing and recognizing human trafficking in your community:
Chetna Bharati is a Non Governmental Organization collaborating with the Sisters of Nazareth in Chatra, India to control trafficking against young girls and boys. Through various programs, one of which is a residential bridge camp, the Sisters can influence systemic change and find better solutions.
LifeWay Network provides safe, community housing for women survivors of human trafficking in the New York metro area. LifeWay welcomes each woman into a supportive, caring environment that helps them recover from their trauma, regain their sense of self-worth, and move from isolation towards reclaiming their independence.
“To be a home where love heals” is the mission of Bakhita House, a safe house for victims of human trafficking in the greater Boston area. The Bakhita community is an initiative of LCWR and provides shelter, food, clothing and access to social services, empowering its guests to rebuild their lives with the support of a loving community.