Fighting Human Trafficking…and Learning to Love Myself Along the Way

My path to becoming involved in the anti-trafficking field is not so unusual. It may very well be the same path that you are on right now. It began with awareness through a film, progressed through education as I read every book and article I could find on the topic, and culminated with a passionate commitment to dedicate myself to the cause. The more I learned, the more I became convinced that modern-day slavery is the most egregious form of injustice and that we must work together to combat this horrific crime.

Since then, my path led me across the globe. I worked with the international anti-trafficking agency, Not For Sale; visited projects in Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, and Peru; wrote a master’s thesis on the topic; and returned home to Columbus, Ohio, to fight human trafficking “in my own backyard.”

Today, I am the Managing Director of Freedom a la Cart, a social enterprise that offers employment, workforce development, and supportive services to local, adult survivors of human trafficking. The women that I work with are victims of unimaginable trauma and abuse. They are also the strongest, most resilient women I know. Through their words and actions they continue to teach me the power of loving oneself.

Because here is my deepest, darkest secret—the one that I never speak about. The one that I shove deep down and hope that no one ever learns about.

I struggle to love myself.

I am the boss, the director, a caretaker, an advocate for social justice. But I don’t love myself, and I struggle with self-worth daily. I am a perfectionist and constantly feel that I am “not enough.”

Read the full article by Keturah Lee Schroeder on Sojourners’ website

114th Congress Makes Human Trafficking Top Priority

At a House leadership news conference Jan. 27, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California announced a list of bills to combat human trafficking that he expected would pass the House of Representatives by week’s end.

“Human trafficking affects so many of the vulnerable throughout the world,” said McCarthy, so “we have 12 bills, bipartisan, Republicans and Democrats, to protect the most vulnerable out there.”

He said in the week ahead, the House would be “strong on legislation.”

“There are unseen prisons in the world that exist even in towns and cities across our country,” said a statement issued by McCarthy’s office. “Though few are aware of the severity of the problem, human trafficking affects thousands of people in America alone.

Read the full article by Nate Madden at America Magazine’s Website

Nuns on the Underground Railroad

While some people may have heard of the great work of Nuns on the Bus to engage people on pressing social issues, there’s also the “Nuns on the Underground Railroad”—a quiet movement of nuns working together to restore dignity and healing for victims of labor and sex trafficking across the nation and the world…

For several years now, Catholic nuns have been proactive in preventing sex trafficking before, during, and after major sporting events like the Super Bowl by raising public awareness and conducting personal visits to hotels to alert them to the signs of human trafficking. Nuns have also placed full-page ads in airline magazines to educate the public about the dangers of child trafficking.

A fundamental theological and scriptural principle for Christians is that each human person is made in the image and likeness of God. This belief in the imago Dei helps us to see the face of God even when the person doubts her own beauty and worth because of oppression. “Nuns on the Underground Railroad” seeks to restore a person’s sense of dignity and beauty through two rails of freedom: healing through programs and shelters and empowerment through education and employment.

As we move toward the Lenten season, the prophet Isaiah reminds us: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)

How is God moving your heart as you awaken to the stories of human trafficking victims? What action can you take for your enslaved sister and brother? What will you bring to your faith community to stir up concern? One single action to educate others and liberate the oppressed strengthens freedom throughout the world. As our mission affirms, “Ending slavery is everyone’s work.”

Read the full article by Kathleen Bryant at Sojourners’ website

The First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking

Rome – The First “International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking” will be celebrated in all dioceses and parishes in the world, in the groups and schools on 8 February 2015, the Feast Day of Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave, freed, who became a Canossian nun, and was declared a Saint in 2000. The initiative is promoted by the Pontifical Council of Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General .

To read the full story from the Vatican News: Click Here

 

Resistance. Lamentation. Action.

Ordinary people of goodwill, no matter their faith or creed, recognize human trafficking as a concrete manifestation of evil in our world. It is an ugly and lucrative business, with traffickers often using torture-like tactics to dehumanize the persons they treat as disposable commodities. It is a violation of human dignity, one in which certain human beings exploit others for profit or pleasure.

When stories of human trafficking or dramatic rescue operations come across our news feeds, we are understandably shocked. For a moment, our attention is grabbed and we feel genuine outrage toward the traffickers and, hopefully, compassion for the trafficked persons. But to what end?

Read the full story by Sister Susan Rose Francois at Sojourners: Click Here

Pope Joins Faith Leaders in Signing Declaration to #EndSlavery

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9JGYjqLUcc]

by Global Freedom Network

For the first time in history, leaders of the world’s largest faiths have come together. Their goal is to end slavery.

Committed to the dignity and freedom that is the birthright of all humankind, Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Orthodox leaders have signed a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Will you join with them and sign a declaration to end slavery once and for all? www.globalfreedomnetwork.org/declaration

Produced by WalkFree.org

A Path Appears

A Path Appears follows Pulitzer-prize winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Half the Sky) and a group of dedicated actor/activists to Colombia, Haiti, Kenya and the USA to uncover the harshest forms of gender-based oppression and human rights violations (including sex trafficking) and solutions being implemented to combat them.

Scheduled for broadcast on January 26, February 2 and February 9 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Check your local listings for showtimes in your area.

For more information: Click Here

Italian Convents Act as Safe Houses in Trafficking Portal

Read about the work of women religious in Italy who are organizing a group of convents to take in female migrants to protect them from traffickers.
(Article from Global Sisters Report, “Italian convents act as safe houses in trafficking portal” by Megan Sweas, Jan. 12, 2015.)

Arizona Billboards Aim to Stop Human Trafficking

Cindy McCain speaks during the press conference (Photo: Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic)

 

The fight against human trafficking will get a visible boost in the Valley for the next eight weeks with a campaign that seeks to raise awareness about the problem by placing dozens of billboards in the Phoenix metro area.

The 60 billboards are designed to take advantage of the notoriety of the upcoming Super Bow; by alerting the community that the crime exists, said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, an anti-sex trafficking group that has partnered with the McCain Institute and Clear Channel Outdoors in the initiative.

The narrative that women and girls are being forced into commercial sex at the Super Bowl in unprecedented numbers has been debunked by researchers who have said there is no evidence that shows there is a significant rise in sex trafficking over what occurs any other day.

While human-trafficking can be found during the Super Bowl, it is a problem that is present 365 days of the year, Myles said.

“This is an important campaign and an opportune moment to raise awareness of human trafficking in Arizona and beyond,” said Cindy McCain, co-chair of the Arizona Human Trafficking Council. “This is the continued work to combat this enormous problem and make a difference.”

Read the full story by Yihyun Jeong at AZ Central: Click Here