In the News

Illinois To Include Human Trafficking Materials In CDL Curriculum

QUAD CITIES (KWQC) – A new year brings new laws. In Illinois, one of those laws is aimed at cracking down on human trafficking.

The secretary of state will now be required to include information on human trafficking in its commercial driver’s license curriculum and study guide information.

According to the organization Truckers Against Trafficking, seven million truck drivers are on U.S. highways. They say the more people who are trained at recognizing signs of human trafficking, the better.

“There’s 40 million people enslaved in the world today,” said Kaylla Lanier, deputy director of Truckers Against Trafficking.

Lanier two others decided they wanted to do something about human trafficking in the United States.

“And we thought what group of people could make a difference what is a key strategic group and we thought truck drivers, right,” Lanier.

The deputy director says there are seven million people in the trucking industry, and these people are the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways.

To read the full article by Shelby Shepherd on KWQC: Click Here

Anti-Online Sex Trafficking Bill Gets Crushed Under Big Tech’s Lobbying

A bill that purports to disrupt online child sex trafficking authored by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and amended by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) was rushed through the House Judiciary Committee last week and now heads over to the House Commerce Committee for consideration.

It should be a time of celebration. And yet, survivors, victims, and their non-profits could not be more distressed.

Why? Because several weeks ago, H.R. 1865 (the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017” or “FOSTA”) was hijacked in the dead of night. Rep. Wagner, unbeknownst to the survivor and NGO community, caved in to the demands of certain tech lobby organizations, allowing the bill to be stripped of its heart and soul. FOSTA, originally an amendment to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, was quietly gutted, leaving nothing behind for victims or survivors. Despite its name, the bill no longer “allows victims to fight online trafficking.”

H.R. 1865 was first conceived earlier this year on the heels of “I AM JANE DOE,” our documentary film which chronicled several Jane Doe children (and their families) who were waging a legal battle against to determine whether Backpage had facilitated the crime of child sex trafficking on its site. These children were 13, 14, and 15 years old when they were sold for sex via Backpage. Or, more bluntly put, repeatedly raped. 

Many of the children who sued Backpage lost their cases because of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which was enacted at the dawn of the internet. Section 230, originally intended to shield website bulletin boards from lawsuits related to third party content, has been, over the years, liberally expanded by federal courts.

Last year, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, in Doe v Backpage, radically stretched the protective shield of Section 230 to cover Backpage, even if it was engaged in facilitating the crime of sex trafficking (in violation of another federal statute). The 1st Circuit court also, perhaps wringing their collective hands, advised the children to seek a legislative solution to this conflict of laws.

The children have done just that.

To read the full story byMary Mazzio on The Hill: Click Here

Fifteen Ways You Can Help Combat Human Trafficking 

Man reaches toward outstretched hand at a gate to provide assistance to a potential victim of human trafficking. [Shutterstock Photo]

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Each year during this month, people and organizations around the nation recommit to assisting victims of human trafficking and to combating it in all its forms.

The U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons leads the United States’ global engagement against human trafficking and supports the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts across the U.S. government.  These efforts include forging partnerships with foreign governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector to develop and implement effective strategies for confronting modern slavery.

While these efforts are critical to addressing this issue, you don’t need to be affiliated with any government or organization to help make a difference. Anyone can join in the fight against human trafficking. Here are a few ideas to consider.

  1. Learn the indicators of human trafficking so you can help identify a potential trafficking victim. Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businessesfirst responderslaw enforcementeducators, and federal employees, among others.
  2. If you are in the United States and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, report your suspicions to law enforcement by calling 911 or the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Resource Center line at 1-888-373-7888. Trafficking victims, including undocumented individuals, are eligible for services and immigration assistance.
  3. Be a conscientious and informed consumer. Discover your slavery footprint, ask who picked your tomatoes or made your clothes, or check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced LaborEncourage companies to take steps to investigate and prevent human trafficking in their supply chains and publish the information for consumer awareness.
  4. Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community.
  5. Meet with and/or write to your local, state, and federal government representatives to let them know you care about combating human trafficking, and ask what they are doing to address it.

To read the full story by Susan Coppedge on The US State Department’s blog: Click Here


Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration-founded Task Force to End Modern Slavery Launches Video Series

Join FSPA-hosted Twitter chats during Human Trafficking Awareness Month

La Crosse, Wis. – The Franciscans Sisters of Perpetual Adoration-founded Task Force to End Modern Slavery partnered with Minnesota’s Breaking Free, one of the nation’s leading organizations for working with victims and survivors of sex trafficking, to create “The Faces of Human Trafficking” video series. The series will be launched throughout January, Human Trafficking Awareness month.

“Our goal was to create an online resource to educate human trafficking support workers, the general public and give voice to the survivors,” said Sister Corrina Thomas, who serves in the field of human trafficking. “With the help of Breaking Free, we’re introducing the world to the stories of survivors, pimps (sellers) and Johns (buyers).”

“It’s a brainwashing that happens; there’s a reason traffickers go after children,” said Jenny, human trafficking survivor featured in the series debut. “I want people to know that women don’t choose this. This is something that happens to them; they’re victims.” Jenny and other survivors featured in “The Faces of Human Trafficking” recall their childhoods, their time in “the life,” how they survived and what they’d like everyone to know about this billion dollar industry.

Each video is introduced by Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, founder of La Crosse Task Force to End Modern Slavery. 

Release Dates
FSPA will release all videos at noon CST at and all Twitter Chats will be hosted on Fridays from 12:30-12:45 p.m. CST at using the hashtag #HumanTraffickingFaces.

Friday, Jan. 5 (released now): Meet Jenny, followed by Twitter Chat @fspatweets using #HumanTraffickingFaces

 Wednesday, Jan. 10: Meet Laurie

 Friday, Jan. 12: Meet Anne, followed by Twitter Chat @fspatweets using #HumanTraffickingFaces

 Wednesday, Jan. 17: Meet Jessica

 Friday, Jan. 19: Meet Maya, followed by Twitter Chat @fspatweets using #HumanTraffickingFaces

 Wednesday, Jan. 24: Meet Ms. R

All videos, and additional resources, will be available at Later this month and into early February, near the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of human trafficking, we’ll also introduce you to Flora, Mr. J and Mr. P.

The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration will also host a human trafficking awareness prayer service on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at 4 p.m. in Mary of the Angels Chapel, 901 Franciscan Way, La Crosse, Wisconsin. All are welcome. 

Based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration are women religious engaged in furthering the work of the Catholic Church and the Gospel. Their partners in ministry, including affiliates and prayer partners, join them in service of God’s mission. The sisters work in the United States and internationally in varied ministries, creating innovative approaches to healing, teaching and praying. Visit FSPA online at


Sister Margaret Nacke Honored for Work Against Human Trafficking

By Cathy Doud

Sister Margaret Nacke, CSJ, was honored Dec. 8 by the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, a network of Catholic Sisters and their colleagues devoted to eradicating human trafficking.

She was awarded the first-ever “Sister Margaret Nacke, CSJ Bakhita Award” in recognition of outstanding work by an individual or group for their efforts to end the crime of human trafficking. In 2013, Sister Margaret was the driving force that resulted in the founding of the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.

Sisters Ann Oestreich, IHM, and Jeanne Christensen, RSM, of the Board of the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, came to Concordia to present the award during Mass at the Nazareth Motherhouse. This new award was named after Sister Margaret in recognition of the decades of her life she has spent to work to end human trafficking worldwide and at home.

According to a statement by Sister Anne Victory, HM, President of the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, those who receive this award “exemplify vision, courage, dedication and creativity in addressing the complexities surrounding this issue. They work in collaboration with others to raise awareness of human trafficking, address the multiple needs of survivors and advocate for legislative changes to the modern-day slavery of commercial sex and forced labor.”

“I just want to say I accept this award on behalf of all Sisters throughout the world, really, in the U.S. Sisters Against Human Trafficking, but also throughout the world because many of us are not young but are doing our best to combat human trafficking,” Sister Margaret said.  “And I want to thank you, as my congregation, for the support you have given me for this endeavor.”

Sister Margaret has pioneered the ministry of Sisters working to eradicate modern-day slavery. An educator by profession, she has spent significant time establishing and maintaining relationships with many people and groups, and has always had a special concern for those on the margins of society.

This story comes from The Sisters of St. Joseph of Kansas: Click Here

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims January 2018 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we recommit ourselves to eradicating the evil of enslavement.  Human trafficking is a modern form of the oldest and most barbaric type of exploitation. It has no place in our world. This month we do not simply reflect on this appalling reality. We also pledge to do all in our power to end the horrific practice of human trafficking that plagues innocent victims around the world.

Human trafficking is a sickening crime at odds with our very humanity. An estimated 25 million people are currently victims of human trafficking for both sex and labor. Human traffickers prey on their victims by promising a life of hope and greater opportunity, while delivering only enslavement.  Instead of delivering people to better lives, traffickers unjustifiably profit from the labor and toil of their victims, who they force — through violence and intimidation — to work in brothels and factories, on farms and fishing vessels, in private homes, and in countless industries.


To read the full statement from the White House: Click Here

Whoopi Goldberg, ‘The View’ Help Sex-Trafficking Victims Transform Their Lives

Bishop Cantú Addresses Human Trafficking and Gender-Based Violence

To fully address the “evil of horrifying magnitude” caused by human trafficking and gender-based violence, Most Rev. Oscar Cantú, bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces, N.M., said development and community workers need to address the root causes of vulnerabilities in their communities.

“For development to be successful, it’s crucial to address the totality of issues facing the region — including corruption, impunity, violence, and poverty — with a comprehensive response,” he said. “In the long term the only way to address the crisis at hand and to protect human dignity is to provide opportunities and human security for young people and families by investing in their communities.”

Bishop Cantu was one of the key speakers during a recent workshop on gender-based violence and human trafficking held Nov. 16 and 17 at The Catholic University of America.

The workshop, which was co-hosted by the University’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies (IPR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was intended to train faith-based and community workers from Central America on the the need to get and keep faith-based organizations actively involved in the fight against human trafficking and sex-based violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle region — El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

To read the full story on The Catholic University of America: Click Here

Religious Anti-Human Trafficking Group ‘Gaining Muscle’

Sr. Mary Adel Abamo, Talitha Kum Philippine coordinator, at their office in Quezon City

MANILA – A group comprising different congregations has grown more muscles in the past 8 years while combating human trafficking in the country as well as in its Asian neighbors.
“The more anti-human trafficking advocates, the better,” said Sr. Mary Adel Abamo, the group’s Philippine coordinator. “More can blow the whistle to crackdown this crime.”

Established in 2009, the Talitha Kum has grown from 10 partner congregation to 40 as of November 2017,

Prevention better than cure

“About 90 percent of the group’s religious advocates are sisters from different congregations, and only 10 percent priests. Lay people are also on board,” she noted.

The group seeks to stop human trafficking through preventive programs like awareness drives since they believe prevention is better than cure.

They plan to identify and form more advocates in schools, dormitories, and communities to broaden the campaign of educating people on the whys and hows of human trafficking.

According to Abamo, the number of documented trafficked children in the Philippines a year or two ago has reached 60,000 to 100,000, while the number of men and women 300,000 to 400,000.

The nun also expressed alarm over the rising figure of Filipino children forced by their own parents to pose naked online, which she explained, is also considered human trafficking.

To read the full story by Oliver Samson on CBCP News: Click Here

Hotline Focuses Awareness Of Human Trafficking In Latino Communities

The National Human Trafficking Hotline has reportedly received 2,200 calls concerning sex trafficking with connections to Mexico or Latin America since it was set up in  2007. 

Polaris, the organization that operates the hotline, plans to target these demographics, with emphasis on the Houston area, in its latest anti-trafficking campaign, according to a news release from the group.

In partnership with Hispanic Communications Network, a social media marketing company serving U.S. Hispanic communities, Polaris will be releasing all-Spanish public service announcements, social media strategies, celebrity endorsements and survivor testimonies throughout the next few months, geared toward raising awareness in the Hispanic community nationwide, according to the Polaris news release.

“When communities are equipped to recognize the signs of sex trafficking and know there’s a trusted resource available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they can play a critical role in the fight against this crime,” said My Lo Cook, Polaris’ strategic initiatives director for Mexico, in the release.

To read the full story by Jasmine Davis on Chron: Click Here