Human Trafficking Bulletin Inserts

NEW! (November 2015) U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking is now offering monthly bulletin inserts or short announcements to help inform the Catholic community about the sin of human trafficking. The inserts offer a fact about trafficking and a link to our website, which is rich in educational and faith resources, along with current news about human trafficking in the U.S.

We encourage you to offer these inserts to your parish community!

Download a Word document with December 2015–March 2016 in English and Spanish: Click Here

Trafficking In Natural Resources Fuels Instability, Terrorism: Pope

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at UoN grounds and later addressed UNEP

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – Pope Francis on Thursday urged global action against illegal trafficking of blood diamonds, ivory and other natural resources, saying it caused political instability and “terrorism”.

“Illegal trade in diamonds and precious stones, rare metals or those of great strategic value, wood, biological material and animal products, such as ivory trafficking and the related killing of elephants, fuels political instability, organised crime and terrorism,” he said in a speech in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

“We cannot be silent about forms of illegal trafficking which arise in situations of poverty,” he said, just two weeks before Nairobi hosts a key ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization.

The pontiff spoke on the first full day of a three-nation trip which will also take him to Uganda and war-torn Central African Republic, where rights groups have warned that illegal smuggling of “blood diamonds” may be financing militia groups behind ongoing sectarian violence.

To read the full story from Agence France Presse: Click Here

Human Trafficking Cases Soar in Wichita

The bags are piled in Jennifer White’s office, waiting for her or a group of volunteers to fill them.

Promising Practices: An Overview of Trauma-Informed Therapeutic Support for Survivors of Human Trafficking

This report from Polaris and the Sanar Wellness Institute provides an overview of promising therapeutic support that can be used to enhance individual and group intervention for survivors of all forms of human trafficking. Based on the experiences of serving clients in Polaris’s New Jersey office over the past five years, Polaris has found that certain trauma-informed therapeutic supports helped survivors gain resiliency. These interventions include: therapeutic/restorative yoga; expressive arts therapy; and mindfulness and sensory-based practices. 

Clients have expressed lower levels of stress, increased self-regulation, and strengthened life skills after receiving these therapeutic support interventions. Our findings aim to assist social workers, clinicians, mental health counselors, and victims’ service providers in enriching their existing services and increasing trauma-informed supports for survivors of human trafficking.

To read the full the story from Polaris: Click Here

Caritas and Partners to Advance Fight Against Human Trafficking

In Nepal a sign warns girls about false promises of marriage. Caritas Nepal runs awareness-raising sessions so that people will be wary of fast-cash offers. Photo by Sheahen/Caritas

Members and partners of the Network of Christian Organizations Against Trafficking in Humans (COATNET) from 33 organisations and countries met for three days in Paris to advance the fight against the heinous crime of Human Trafficking. Human Trafficking strips victims of their freedom and violates the dignity of the human person created in the image of God.

Two emerging trends in global trafficking were highlighted and discussed: that of human trafficking in conflict and post-conflict situations and the trafficking and exploitation among seafarers and the maritime industries.

Awareness increases on the issue of trafficking in conflict and post-conflict situations were presented through the results of a joint action – research conducted by Secours Catholique and Caritas of Euro-Mediterranean region, and the International Organisation for Migration Research on Trafficking in Crisis situations with similar findings. Both reports highlight the increased vulnerability of families, women and children during crisis situations, such as conflicts and natural disasters.

The Caritas study highlights in particular forced and child marriage for the purposes of exploitation in conflict situations. Families think that with a marriage they can protect their daughters, but the daughters fall prey to exploiters and may end up being treated like slaves for the purpose of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and begging.

To read the full story by Caritas International: Click Here

Michigan Receives “B” Grade for Efforts Against Human Trafficking

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – The report card is in—last year Michigan received a “F” for preventing human trafficking. This year, Michigan has received a “B” by Shared Hope International.

While it’s an improvement, advocates say the work is not done yet.

“They would promise me warm beds, warm apartments, cool apartments, luxury, all the clothes I could want,” says one survivor.

“He will probably hit you with a belt, physically punch you, slap you,” says another survivor explaining her treatment while working as a sex slave.

To read the full story from WWMT News Channel 3 : Click Here

Sisters Against Trafficking Gather in Cleveland

When she was 12, her father raped her and on weekends sold her to neighbors and acquaintances when they came over to play cards. When she was 14, her addicted brother sold her to a gang for drugs. When he was 15, he was kidnapped while walking home from school. He was sold but managed to escape before being shipped out of the United States. These are three people whose stories break my heart. Their pain is palpable. Their courage is undeniable as they reclaim their voices. These are three of the millions of people, millions of reasons Catholic Sisters have come together in their work against trafficking. The words of Saint Catherine of Siena are as vital today as they were in the 14th century, “Speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills the world.”
October 11-13, fifteen core group members of US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT) met in Alexandria, Virginia to update and to strategize on our work. We reported on our progress in these areas: communications, educational resources, legislative advocacy and survivor support services.

We invited guest speakers. Rachel Harper from “Shared Hope International” gave a presentation on ending demand for children in sex trafficking. Dan Nejfelt from “Faith in Public Life” presented on two topics: the basics of effective messaging and the use of Twitter.

Sister Carol Davis, OP

Read the full report by Sister Carol Davis, OP, at Dominican Sisters of Peace: Click Here

Human trafficking survivor: I was raped 43,200 times

Mexico City (CNN) Karla Jacinto is sitting in a serene garden. She looks at the ordinary sights of flowers and can hear people beyond the garden walls, walking and talking in Mexico City.

She looks straight into my eyes, her voice cracking slightly, as she tells me the number she wants me to remember — 43,200.

By her own estimate, 43,200 is the number of times she was raped after falling into the hands of human traffickers.

She says up to 30 men a day, seven days a week, for the best part of four years — 43,200.

Her story highlights the brutal realities of human trafficking in Mexico and the United States, an underworld that has destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of Mexican girls like Karla.

Human trafficking has become a trade so lucrative and prevalent, that it knows no borders and links towns in central Mexico with cities like Atlanta and New York.

U.S. and Mexican officials both point to a town in central Mexico that for years has been a major source of human trafficking rings and a place where victims are taken before being eventually forced into prostitution. The town is called Tenancingo.

To read the full story and watch the report from by Rafael Romo of CNN: Click Here

New Trafficking Ambassador Addresses U.S. Mission to the United Nations

After almost a year without a leader, the State Department Trafficking in Person’s office has a new Ambassador, Susan Coppedge Amato, confirmed by Congress in October. She certainly seems like a good choice for the job.

At her first public appearance today, Ambassador Coppedge, a former federal prosecutor from Georgia with a strong record prosecuting human trafficking cases, made clear that while the United States has some strong laws on the books to prosecute traffickers, “we must all do more to address this problem.”

Speaking at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Coppedge presented her office’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, a 382-page volume on anti-trafficking efforts around the world that Coppedge called “the United States’ principle diplomatic tool” to convince other countries to do more to fight this form of modern slavery.

The credibility of that report has recently been called into question, however – an issue the new ambassador will need to address. As a Reuters news report revealed in August, the TIP report released last summer (before Coppedge took office) upgraded the rankings of 14 countries, even though State Department experts reportedly did not believe the evidence supported improvement on their efforts to combat trafficking.

Malaysia, for example, long criticized for not doing enough to combat forced labor and sex trafficking, was upgraded this year to “Tier 2 Watch List,” a step above its previous “Tier 3” ranking –  essentially a failing grade. (Tier 3 countries are those “whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”) Malaysia’s upgrade was crucial to President Obama’s ability to win “fast-track” approval for his proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Congress, since Malaysia would be a partner in the proposed trade agreement, and Congress has prohibited “fast-track” approval of any trade deal that includes a Tier 3 country. The upgrade of Malaysia therefore raised understandable suspicion that the State Department’s change in rank was more an attempt to push through the trade deal than a reflection of any actual improvement in the country’s anti-trafficking efforts. The lack of a leader in the State Department to champion the anti-trafficking cause may have smoothed the way for that upgrade – or at least left skeptics suspicious.

To read the full story by Daphne Eviatar at Human Rights First: Click Here

Ozark Henry Appointed UN Ambassador Against Human Trafficking

Flemish musician Piet Goddaer, better known by his stage name, Ozark Henry, has been appointed a National Goodwill Ambassador against human trafficking. He was chosen by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for his vast international network among activists and artists and his past commitment to campaigns on social issues.

Goddaer is the department’s first Goodwill Ambassador in Belgium. “Mr Goddaer is a prominent Belgian artist who has demonstrated a strong commitment to helping raise awareness about the crime of human trafficking,” said UNODC director of public affairs Jean-Luc Lemahieu. “His rhythmic voice and melodic music make him one of Belgium’s most influential modern-day storytellers, who will help UNOCD spread the word about this horrific crime that afflicts so many vulnerable victims.”

To read the full story by Lisa Bradshaw, of Flanders Today: Click Here