Tag Archive | human trafficking

5 Ways to Reduce Human Trafficking

• The month of January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

• Pope Francis’ January 1st World Day of Peace, 2015, message* is “Slaves No More, But Brothers and Sisters.” 

• January 11, 2015, is National Awareness Day: Human Trafficking.  

• Feb. 8, 2015, Catholics worldwide will keep a Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.

*Pope Francis’ challenge includes recognizing the “equal dignity” of our brothers and sisters who are enslaved and exploited, and to work to end human trafficking, trade in migrants and prostitutes, slave labor, and the enslavement of women and children.

(For 2017 information, see https://ecospiritualityresources.com/2016/12/26/trafficking-ritual-2017/.)

Information, ways to help, and a prayer ritual follow. Please consider sharing this with others.

1. Know the Extent of the problem 

Types-of-human-trafficking1Trafficking in children is on the increase, according to the latest report released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons was released November 24, 2014, in Vienna, Austria and shows that one in three known victims of human trafficking is a child – a 5 per cent increase compared to the 2007-2010 period.

Girls make up 2 out of every 3 child victims, and together with women, account for 70 % of overall trafficking victims worldwide. A recent study from Walk Free, an anti-slavery organization, puts the number of slaves at around 36 million, which is 0.5% of the world’s population. 36 million is a little over half the population of Britain, well over the population of a number of European nations, including Greece, and just about the population of Scandinavia put together. When framed in those terms, that number starts to seem pretty terrifying — though even one person in slavery is a serious matter.

2. Know about trafficking laws. In the U.S.: HumanTraffickingDec292012

President Obama has signed into law H.R. 4980, also known as the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act. This bipartisan legislation aims to reduce child sex trafficking, increase adoptions and improve child support collections. It was introduced in the House by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Ranking Member Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).

The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act will encourage states to combat sex trafficking among youth in foster care, promote normalcy for foster youth, help move more children from foster care into adoptive homes or the homes of relatives, and increase the amount of child support provided to families in which one parent resides outside of the U.S. The legislation is fully funded.

3. Three Action Steps from Project IRENE: projectirene@aol.com:

• Buy Fair Trade Key Chains 

f1771b72-5e79-4b6c-be87-e88fc533253fPoverty is one of the many factors which make individuals vulnerable to trafficking.  Key chains made by women at the Regina Center in Nongkhai, Thailand provide income generating opportunities for women.  The women can stay in their villages and keep their children in school.  These are two effective strategies for reducing sex trafficking.

These key chains are $5.00 each.  The Regina Center is one of the partners of HandCrafting Justice which is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.  These key chains can be ordered at ECPAT USA.  Go to www.ecpatusa.org.  Email address is info@ecpatusa.org.  Even though buying a key chain might seem an insignificant act, ponder the impact of everyone reading this information deciding to gift others with these key chains during the holiday season.

• Encourage More Information in Libraries

Ask libraries to purchase materials related to trafficking.  Possibilities include What I Have Been Through Is Not Who I Am; Not a Choice, Not a Job; Rape is Rape; Girls Like Us; The Natashas; Trafficking in Persons Report, published annually by the U.S. Department of State; Life Interrupted.

• Purchase fair trade, sweat-shop free products (clothing, chocolate, coffee, tea, etc.). 

4. Reduce Runaways

Another way to reduce trafficking is to reduce the number of runaway boys and girls. They are prime targets for traffickers. If all the youth who run away in the United States lived in one city, it would be the 5th largest city in the country. If you notice runaway young people in your neighborhood, or anyone who shows signs of abuse or restricted living, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888.

 5. Pray, including with others

My thanks to Rose Mary Meyer, BVM, at Project IRENE (projectirene@aol.com) for the follow prayer that I have slightly adapted:

Human Trafficking Prayer 

Opening Prayer 

All: Creating and compassionate Source of Life, living and acting within each part of your cosmos, we gather to pray for an end to human trafficking, which degrades all those, created in your image, who suffer from, who profit from, and who perpetuate, this crime against humanity.  We pray for strength to continue our anti-trafficking efforts, so that all may experience the preciousness of human life.  Amen.


UnknownWe remember Sudanese St. Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947), patron for victims and survivors of  human trafficking.  She was kidnapped when she was seven years young and sold into slavery.  Her abductors gave her the Arabic name Bakhita which means “fortunate one.”  She was sold a number of times.  She met the Canossian Sisters, and was baptized and confirmed, taking the name Josephine Bakhita.  She entered the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossia in 1893.  Canonized in October 2000, she became the first Sudanese saint.  Let us give thanks for this Sudanese woman who personally experienced being trafficked.  May she advocate with us for justice for trafficked persons!    (“The Saint of Human Trafficking,” Theresa Baldini, MM.  Maryknoll Magazine)


Pope Francis has spoken about trafficking a number of times.  image-493He reflected:  “I have always been distressed at the lot of those who are victims of human trafficking! …  Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved?  Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labor.  Let us not look the other way.  There is greater complicity than we think.  The issue involves everyone!  This infamous network of crime is now well established in our cities, and people have blood on their hands as a result of their comfortable and silent complicity.”    (The Joy of the Gospel)

Shared Silence

Litany Against Trafficking

Alternate readers. Response:  Source of All Life, may our efforts to end human trafficking be effective.

We mourn the degradation of those who are victims of human trafficking:  Source of All Life, may our efforts to end human trafficking be effective.

We rejoice in the efforts to gain knowledge and understanding of the tragedy of human trafficking: Source of All Life . . . .

We grieve the human trafficking associated with sporting events: Source of All Life . . . .

We rejoice in the anti-trafficking training of hotel, restaurant and other personnel in geographic areas near major sporting events: Source of All Life . . . .

We grieve our failure to drink only Fair Trade coffee and to eat only Fair Trade chocolate: Source of All Life . . . .

We rejoice in consumers who are becoming more aware of and committed to purchasing Fair Trade products whose production aims to be traffick-free: Source of All Life . . . .

We grieve the lack of local anti-trafficking laws: Source of All Life . . . .

We rejoice when people advocate for anti-trafficking laws in cities, counties, states, and nations: Source of All Life . . . .

We grieve our inattention to trafficking in our local area: Source of All Life . . . .

We rejoice in those who take seriously their connection with all other human beings and make calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 888 373 7888:  Source of All Life . . . .

Reflection:  Take a few moments to try to absorb the immensity of the global, national, and local trafficking reality as well as the possibilities for actions to stop this human tragedy.

Instrumental Music and Reflection, ending with

All: In our hearts, may each of us commit to an action that is possible—prayer, education, other actions. 

Reflective Silence to choose your commitment

Commitment and Closing Prayer

All: I commit myself to fulfilling the action I have just chosen in order to show solidarity with members of the human family who are trafficked.

 Creating and compassionate Source of Life, we thank you for your love of each of us.  May we model your love by our concern for our trafficked sisters and brothers.  May they experience in their lives the power of being treasured by us and our efforts to free this world, locally and globally, of human trafficking.  This we ask in great confidence now and in the future.  Amen.

Music such as We Shall Overcome, City of God, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

As 2014 begins

New Year’s blessings to all!

New beginnings:

And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been. Rainer Maria Rilke

January 1 is but a day past December 31, yet it holds special significance for imagesall who follow the Gregorian calendar.* Together, the end of one year — with its joys and sorrows — and the start of a new year — with its unknown possibilities — call for celebration, reflection, gratitude, and  motivation for renewal – and possibilities of less violence and human trafficking.

* The Gregorian calendar, adopted in 1582 by the Roman Catholic Church, grew from the Julian calendar, which had been used since the Romans. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox countries continued to use the traditional Julian calendar and only gradually adopted the Gregorian in order to simplify international transactions.  The Gregorian calendar now predominates in the Western world and is recognized by the United Nations.

On January 6, Christians in the Orthodox traditions celebrate Christmas. Christians in the West celebrate Epiphany, with its symbolism of wise persons coming to acknowledge the beginning of a new era in the cosmic story.

Jan. 31 begins Chinese New Year, the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. It begins the Chinese year 4712.

One way or another, there’s a spirit of new beginning and unity as people everywhere begin the cycle of new calendar life.

Looking ahead

January is Poverty Awareness Month. Poverty is a cause and/or a result of the issues remembered on the following three dates. I suggest we keep them in mind as the year begins:

 January 11, Saturday, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. look-beneath-the-surfaceThough the day is national, the issue is definitely global.

“Human trafficking is the most extensive form of slavery in this twenty-first century!”  Such was the Easter 2013 message of Pope Francis.  In November the international workshop in Vatican City, “Human Trafficking: Modern Slavery,” brought together 82 representatives of Church and State as well as NGOs and civil organizations, whose Statement on Trafficking in Human Beings presents 42 tasks to eight (8) groups to “make ours the last generation that has to fight the trade in human lives.” For 3-page statement, click here.

images-3January 28, Tuesday, won’t be marked officially on any calendar, but those opposed to nuclear weapons are aware that this is the date three non-violent and unarmed protestors — Megan Rice, SHCJ, Michael Walli, and Greg Boertje-Obed — will be sentenced for entering the Y-12 facility grounds in Tennessee in July 2012. The ease with which these Transform Now Plowshares reached the highly enriched uranium storehouse alerted the US government to the insecurity of this and other nuclear weapons facilities, and alerted everyone who cares to the illegal, wasteful use of tax dollars.

images-4Theirs was not an action many would take. After all, they knew they were risking their lives. They knew not all would approve. But they knew they were called to do this.

Present law requires these protestors for “a healed, peaceful planet” to receive the same sentence as would violent terrorists. Please join the Sisters of the Holy Child and support groups in many locations as we pray that Judge Amul Thapar will adjust the sentence to fit the action. (If you wish to write to Judge Thapar, see: http://transformnowplowshares.wordpress.com/category/updates/.

Mail can be sent to Megan at this address:
Sr. Megan Rice, SHCJ

Knox County Sheriff’s Detention Facility
5001 Maloneyville Rd.
Knoxville, TN 37918

For a full account of this incident and its follow-up, read The National Journal Group article: http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/q-jailed-nun-voices-no-regret-trespassing-nuclear-arms-facility/.


February 2, Sundayis a date known to all sports fans in the West: Super Bowl Sunday.

images-1 I include it here because Super Bowl Sunday is known to be the peak event for sexual trafficking in the United States annually. Held this year at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey, perhaps it will lose this unpleasant distinction thanks to the efforts of many groups.

Among the groups working to reduce trafficking this year, the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment (TRI CRI) and  the New York Coalition of Religious Congregations to Stop Trafficking of Persons (NY-CRC-STOP) are contacting managers of area hotels to urge awareness/adoption of “The Code” (Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct) of ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) http://ecpatusa.org/wp/what-we-do/tourism-child-protection-code-of-conduct/  and to inform them that training of hotel staff is available from ECPAT. For more information: Info@polarisproject.org, www.freetheslaves.net/page.aspx?pid=497, www.freetheslaves.net/page.aspx?pid=497

A group of students from the Academy of the Holy Angels who attended a student-run and student-led summit, Not On Our Turf, were so inspired and galvanized by what they learned about trafficking that they created this video:   https://docs.google.com/a/holyangels.org/file/d/0B4lmR7Qpim58OWRHRl82VVExNk0/edit?pli=1. (The School Sisters of Notre Dame, members of the Tri-State Coalition, run the Academy of the Holy Angels.)

Please join those using the following prayer before and during Super Bowl Sunday to make this the most trafficking-free year ever:

 Loving God, as [our nation/ the United States] celebrates the annual Super Bowl event, we pray for those women, men and children for whom the Super Bowl means abuse, exploitation, and entrapment.  May the preventive activities lessen as much as possible the impact of human trafficking.  We also pray for all vulnerable victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse.


Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking: Preventable Modern Slavery

 Everything is interconnected. Thomas Berry liked to remind people that images-1 creation is    a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects. Thus care of our beloved Earth includes care for every component of it. This season the Sisters of the Holy Child (I am one) are focusing our corporate justice efforts on human trafficking.

A 2012 report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on human trafficking says around 20.9 million victims are forced into labor globally. “Labor” includes any work that is not voluntary, where freedom is denied and, too often, conditions are deplorable. This includes situations that are agricultural, domestic, manufacturing, or sexual. Trafficking for organ transplants also occurs.

Human trafficking is not limited to poor and underdeveloped areas, but extends to all world regions, including cities throughout the United States. Given the rapid increase in this slavery, it is possible that trafficking in persons could exceed the trafficking of drugs and arms, making it the most lucrative criminal activity in the world.

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Many countries 
(and states in the U.S.) have made laws meant to stop trafficking and assist victims of it. Vatican experts will gather November 2013 to tackle the growing scourge of human trafficking. The bishop’s academy, with the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, will meet at the Vatican City’s Casina Pio IV to discuss a Vatican action plan to help combat what is often referred to as the modern slave trade.


Buying Fair Trade coffee and chocolate is one sure way to                                     reduce the demand for trafficked laborers.

Children are often trafficked to be used/abused in the growth and production of both coffee and chocolate. Multiple reports show that children aged 12-16, but sometimes as young as 7-9, are tricked, smuggled, and sold to work as slave labor working with coffee beans and cocoa beans. Thus one way to both care for creation and reduce trafficking is to purchase sustainable and fair trade coffee and chocolate.                                                                                       


Fair-trade certification means that workers are paid fair wages, are free from abusive, exploitative labor practices, work in healthy and safe conditions, and that land, water, and birds are protected because growers use environmentally sustainable methods. Hundreds of thousands of farmers and workers in about 70 countries have benefited from fair trade practices.

By buying fair-trade coffee and chocolate we increase the demand for products free of abusive child labor and slavery.

When buying coffee and chocolate (and other products), check for a sign that it is Fair Trade. Some products have a rectangular black and white seal; others (e.g., Equal Exchange) mark themselves as “Fairly Traded” or (e.g., Theo chocolate) “fair for life.” Recommended coffee companies include Equal Exchange and Thanksgiving Coffee Company. Look for fair trade labels on other brands (e.g., Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Allegro, Green Mountain, Ben & Jerry’s) that provide some, but not all, fair trade.

These brands might be more expensive than brands like Nestle (Hills Brothers, Nescafe, Taster’s Choice) and Philip Morris (Brim, General Foods, Gevalia, Maxim, Maxwell House, Sanka), but the cheaper price might mean that child labor — or poor sustainability practices — are used. (No, I am not accusing these brands.) In this case, we definitely don’t want to buy the cheapest product! Reducing child trafficking is surely priceless!

Those who already buy only Fair Trade products can be comforted to know that they are reducing the number of children who are trafficked. Naturally buying fair trade products will not eliminate all human trafficking, but it will take a bite (sorry, couldn’t resist) from this modern slavery.