Inaugural Prayer Breakfast Held For Human Trafficking Awareness

An Inaugural prayer breakfast was held to raise awareness about human trafficking. (Cy Boord/WNWO).
The Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition (LCHTC) sponsored the inaugural multi-faith prayer breakfast on Saturday to raise awareness for human trafficking.

The event was held at the UAW Local 12 Hall and featured leaders from throughout the faith community. There were also resource tables from several area agencies to provide information about the issue and the services available to victims.

Read the full story from Jim Nelson on Click Here

Survivors of Human Trafficking find Comfort in Healing Retreat

COLUMBUS, OH – To assist in the healing of women who are survivors of human trafficking, the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Theresa Flores, founder of S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution), a human trafficking survivor, national speaker and writer, provided a New Beginnings Survivors Retreat for 20 victims of human trafficking from across the country. The retreat took place at the St. Therese Retreat Center (Columbus, OH), from January 1 to 3, 2016. The female attendees traveled from California, Texas, Florida, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio and ranged in age from the early 20s to 40s.

Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States and globally. Sex traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. Each part of the retreat was designed to lift the spirits of the women attending and gift them with positive images of themselves.

The retreat began with Washing of the Feet, an act of love led by Sr. Carol Davis, a Dominican Sister of Peace and substance abuse counselor and retreat leader from Niskayuna, NY. “I believe this retreat is important for healing,” Sr. Carol said. “Survivors can claim their voice, speak their truth and connect with others who understand.”

Maria Durant, a news reporter from ABC-6 Columbus, offered tips on how to be interviewed, especially for survivors who want to tell their story.

Two female Highway Patrol Troopers from Michigan, Mary Capp and Tressa Duffin, provided instruction in self-defense and nutrition. When the out-of-uniform troopers introduced themselves, some of the women initially reacted negatively. “I was often treated as a criminal by the police,” one woman said. “I’m so glad you two understand.”

Art therapists, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart and Lyndsey Archer, (Ohio), guided the women in creating their personal LIFT books. (LIFT stands for Listen and Know, Inspires, To Fly Free and Trust.) Both Mary Helen and Lyndsey work with Hope and Liberation Coalition, which is dedicated to creating awareness and preventing human trafficking via the arts.

Dominican Sisters of Peace Noreen Malone, OP, introduced the women to “the Real Woman at the Well” in John’s Gospel. “From her we learn that God is not in the mountain but in our thirst. God is not in the temple but in the stream of our desire,” Sr. Noreen said.

Pastor Bonnie Laudeman, chaplain with the Investigative and Forensic Services Department of the Oakland County, Michigan, Sheriff’s Office spoke about “the Bad Girls of the Bible.” “We don’t transform ourselves God does,” she said. “We can’t forgive ourselves. God forgives us.”

Katerina Rosenblatt, PhD (Florida), participated in the retreat. Like Flores, she survived trafficking as a teen and now speaks nationally. Through her foundation, There Is H.O.P.E. for Me, Rosenblatt helps women trapped in sex trafficking.

Read the full story from the Dominican Sisters of Peace: Click Here

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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

Speaker in Dubuque: Work to Stop Sex Trafficking

Casey Klein helps set up displays for the “Journey to Freedom” exhibit Friday at the Roshek Building in Dubuque.

Sex trafficking will never go away unless men stop buying.

Teresa Downing-Matibag, executive director of the Network Against Human Trafficking, hammered away at this message Friday night at the opening reception for the “Journey to Freedom” exhibit in the lobby of the Roshek Building.

“We are no better here than in any other country,” she said.

The “Journey to Freedom” exhibit walks viewers through personal stories of sex-trafficking survivors. It was brought to Dubuque by the Coalition Against Human Trafficking of the Tri-State Area. It will remain open through Monday, Oct. 5.

There are an estimated 27 million people across the world in slavery today, Downing-Matibag said.

In the U.S., the estimated $32 billion sex industry has surpassed the profitability of the drug trade and is trending to surpass the international arms trade, she said. Ten percent to 15 percent of American men will pay for sex during their lifetime, she added.

In Iowa, youth are particularly vulnerable.

“Traffickers these days call our schools candy stores,” she said.

More than 10,000 of Iowa’s youths spend time on the streets each year; one in three of these youth will be approached for a sex act within two days. The average age of entry into the sex trade is 12 to 14 years old.

Iowa has seen multiple cases of children trafficked by family members and pastors, Downing-Matibag said.

“The lines are jammed in Iowa,” she said of the demand.

In some cases, undercover officers have had to wait up to 45 minutes just to get through to a number listed on an online post advertising sex, she said.

For the full story by Audrey Ingram of THONLINE: Click Here

End Trafficking Group’s Luncheon September 24

The Collaborative to End Human Trafficking will host its fall luncheon at noon Sept. 24 at Windows on the River, 2000 Sycamore St. in Cleveland.

Dawn Conway, a founding member of the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking and former chief operating office of Cision US, Inc., will serve as the keynote speaker. Conway will discuss “What Every Business Needs to Know About Human Trafficking.”

For more details: Click Here