In preparation for the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking on February 8, 2021, Global Sisters Report and National Catholic Reporter offered two sessions.
Presented by Sr. Maryann Mueller and Jean Reyes Lay
The exploitation of the human person takes on many forms, and knows no barriers or socio-economic borders. Citizens who are informed and alert, and know what to do with what they observe, help protect their families, neighborhoods and communities.
This session was the second of a two-part series on human trafficking. The first session was presented by our friends at Global Sisters Report can be viewed here.
U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking
Educational resources, advocacy campaigns, survivor stories and ways to help survivors, Stop Trafficking Newsletter, and sign up for emails. Find these resources and more on the website. Bookmark the site and visit often to stay on top of the issue of human trafficking, and to learn what you can do to make a difference.
- Stop Trafficking Newsletter
- Facebook: @SistersAgainstTrafficking
- Twitter: @USCSAHTraffic
- Instagram: @USCSAHT
- YouTube: U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking
Recommended by our presenters:
Websites and apps:
- ECPAT: As the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial, sexual exploitation of children, ECPAT-USA focuses on awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation.
- Slavery Footprint: take a survey and learn an approximate number of slaves it took to bring you your
- Sweat and Toil: a comprehensive resource developed by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) documenting child labor and forced labor worldwide.
- Statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline on Human Trafficking. Learn about the activity in your area.
- The Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct
- TraffickCam: help combat sex trafficking by uploading photos of the hotel rooms you stay in when you travel.
Suggestions from participants:
- “I attended an info session a few years ago, and they indicated that a small percentage of children are groomed in their own neighborhoods, particularly in apartment buildings where they know (the children’s) routines.”
- “We see it in South Dakota at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, also pheasant hunting, both which bring 1000's to the state. Our group handed out lip balms at the Rally a few years ago with the trafficking hotline number.”
- “Many truckers are involved in Truckers Against Trafficking and are doing very good work to counteract this crime.”
- “In Minnesota, Ramsey Co. (St. Paul metro) created training videos for both service professionals and for law enforcement. They are very excellent to help train anyone about signs/how to act, etc. We have used these with youth workers, social service folks, anyone who wants to learn more and help. You can also just view them yourself to learn more, or share in a small group.”
- “Did you mention putting info in restrooms in Greyhound bus stations? Runaways use Greyhound.”
- “Sisters of the Holy Names did not hold a community meeting at a hotel until it went through the human trafficking education and signed the pact.”
Call to action:
Opening and closing prayers used at session:
Blessed are they who have survived,
for they will show us courage
and hope and dare us to be their voice.
(Sister Jeanne Christensen, United States}
Blessed are those who see anew the pain of the world
and respond with compassionate action.
(Sister Catherine Gibbons, Volunteer Global Action)
Blessed are those who never, ever give up on God’s promise
of fullness of life and freedom from oppression, exploitation and violence,
for they shall be our mercy, our action for justice and our hope.
(Sister Aine O’Connor, Mercy Global Concern at the United Nations)
Blessed are the poor and vulnerable,
for they will become co-creators with our God,
transforming our torn and fractured world of human trafficking
one moment at a time.
(Sister Margie Taylor, Newfoundland)
Blessed are the dispossessed and enslaved,
for in time they will know the depths of freedom and belonging.
(Sister Denise Boyle, FMDM, Mercy Global Action in Dublin, Ireland)
Blessed are the parents who have lost their children through trafficking,
for they will be comforted.
(Sister Carole McDonald, Australia)
Blessed are those who promote the Oneness of our Universe
and understand the intimate relationships of earth, humanity and the heavenly kingdom;
from this understanding, there will be no more trafficking.
(Sister Mary Ryan, Ireland)
Blessed are those with open eyes and open hearts;
they are the ones who connect us
(Sister Ruth Kilcullen, Ireland)
Blessed are those who have family and friends
who get lured into being trafficked
and can do nothing to make the struggle end for them,
for they will be Mercy-ed.
(Pat Zerega, Mercy Investment Services)
Blessed are the poor who joyfully accept deprivation
for the strengthening of faith in God’s providence,
for theirs is the fulfillment of God’s mercy in their midst.
(Sister Carmela Cabactulan, Philippines)
© Sisters of Mercy
God of power and possibility,
God of light and love,
God of hope and resurrection,
God of presence and grace,
we entrust our prayers,
and all that remains left unsaid into your Heart,
the one heart
of our collective body.
and liberate us
to do the work
you call us to do in the world.
We give you thanks and praise
for this day and the possibility of tomorrow.
Jennifer Reyes Lay is the first Executive Director of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking. She believes strongly in the vision of a world without slavery and exploitation. Prior to this role Jennifer served as the Assistant Director of the JPIC Office for the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word - San Antonio, a congregation she first connected with as a lay missionary in Peru. She has a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, and an honors B.A. in Theology and International Studies from St. Louis University. She is an ecofeminist theologian and midwife of justice who lives with her husband Roger and dog Bella in St. Louis, MO.
Sr. Maryann Agnes Mueller is a Felician Sister of the North American Province. Prior to her entrance into her congregation she worked as a dietician and research tech in cholesterol metabolism. Later she worked as a certified diabetes educator, and taught science in high school. She now lives in Enfield, Connecticut, serving as the full-time Justice and Peace Coordinator for the Felician Sisters’ North American Province, and edits the Congregational Justice and Peace newsletter. Sr. Maryann serves on the board for United States Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking and chairs the Education and Resources Working Group. She is the editor of the Stop Trafficking Newsletter.
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