U.S. Catholic sisters work to end human trafficking

September 20, 2013 by

Sixteen Catholic sisters from across the United States gathered this week in Washington, D.C., to continue and strengthen their efforts to raise awareness of the crime of human trafficking, address the complex needs of survivors of both labor and sex trafficking, and advocate for more effective legislation to both increase available resources for victim needs and eradicate this crime.

The contingent included Sister Margaret Nacke of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, founder of the Bakhita Initiative: U.S. Catholic Sisters United Against Human Trafficking.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., second from left, is pictured with sisters who gathered in Washington. D.C., this week. Sister Margaret Nacke is fourth from the left.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., second from left, is pictured with sisters who gathered in Washington. D.C., this week. Sister Margaret Nacke is fourth from the left.

Several of the sisters participated in the White House Summit “Taking Action to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery: Convening for Civil Society Leaders,” Sept. 16 at the White House.  This Summit is the result of one of the 10 recommendations put forth by the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in the council’s April 2013 report titled “Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery.”  The entire report is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/advisory_council_humantrafficking_report.pdf

Summit participants included heads of religious denominations, rabbis and nuns, CEOs of large nonprofits organizations such as the United Way and Girl Scouts, foundation leaders, along with human trafficking survivors and experts, all united in their interest to join forces to eradicate modern-day slavery.  Participants discussed ways their organizations can work together to raise awareness to educate both professionals and the public, identify victims, expand services for survivors and eliminate slavery in the goods and products.

“The commitment of the Obama administration to fight human trafficking by bringing together a very diverse group of citizens working on this issue was very hopeful and productive”, said Sister Ann Oestreich, IHM, who attended the White House event.  “We were able to connect with allies engaged in all phases of this work, and we are much stronger working together to end this horrific crime.”

Building on the momentum, the Catholic sisters spent the following day formulating their initial vision and mission based on their particular niche in this work and the skills and expertise they bring to the table. Their broad networks and experience of collaborating with many others for the sake of mission provide some solid grounding for the work ahead.  They also consulted with representatives from the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and others supportive of the issue.

On the final day of their gathering, the sisters visited the Polaris Project, headquarters of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and hotline, and received briefings on pending legislation relating to human trafficking. They then went to Capitol Hill where they visited their congressional representatives and senators to speak about these bills and provide additional information about the importance of addressing the crime of human trafficking.  “There are several bills awaiting action in the House and Senate that need a push forward.  The anti-trafficking bills have bipartisan support. We visited Congress to let them know we want to see these bills enacted as soon as possible,” said Sister Margaret Nacke.


2 Responses to “U.S. Catholic sisters work to end human trafficking”

  1. Marcie A Pray on August 26th, 2020 2:03 pm

    I applaud your interest and involvement in such a hideous activity. I didn’t know if you needed temporary placement of survivors or how I could help your cause. Please advise.

  2. S. Faye on September 21st, 2013 10:50 pm

    Wonderful. The cooperation will do much to forward action for survivors and to assist in informing the public. Thank you.

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