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“A Girl Can Be Sold Over and Over…” the Haunting Truth about Human Trafficking

It was in September 2003 when our Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Committee first shared a resource unit on human trafficking with our sisters. In the years since then, I’ve heard and read many stories of exploitation and violence related to the sale and trading of human beings that seem unbelievable in their total disregard for the dignity of a person.

What haunts me most is not a story, but words spoken by a man convicted of trafficking human beings.

Once a drug is sold it's gone,” he said, “but a girl can be sold over and over before she collapses, has gone mad, committed suicide, or died of disease."

This selling of human beings—over and over—helps explain why human trafficking ranks among the top three most profitable enterprises of organized crime operations. The other two are trade in illegal weapons and illegal drugs.

As we grow in awareness of the tragic reality of human trafficking, there has been a shift away from blaming the trafficked victims and an increased legislative effort to protect and support survivors and stop protecting perpetrators. Yet so much more needs to be done.

February 8th is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, an enslaved woman who was freed with the support of the Cannossian Sisters. The Catholic Church has designated her feast day the World Day of Prayer, Reflection, and Action against Human Trafficking. This year’s theme is A Light Against Trafficking: An Economy without Human Trafficking.

On this day, we remember and pray for survivors and victims of modern-day slavery. We pray that we may work together to remove the causes of this disgraceful scourge that is present in all our world, our nation, our state, our cities.

Image, links, and captions to share on your personal social media pages. 

    • January is national slavery & #humantrafficking prevention month. Learn about the Coalition of Catholic Organizations against Human Trafficking at https://bit.ly/36Q6riU
    • We draw attention to #slavery & #humantrafficking. Learn how you can help victims of #trafficking by visiting https://bit.ly/3andAJB and https://bit.ly/37oaOly
    • January has been designated as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. There are more than 40 million people who have been affected by human trafficking worldwide. To learn more about trafficking, visit Justice for Immigrant’s anti-trafficking page: https://bit.ly/3afmGrU
    • Throughout the year, the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT) works to eliminate the plight of trafficked victims. CCOAHT advocates for stronger legislation, promotes survivor-centered services for victims, and raises public consciousness through grass roots action. Interested in becoming a member? Learn more at CCOAHT: https://bit.ly/3oVMehO
    • Join in the [@USCSAHTraffic (Twitter) @SistersAgainstTrafficking (Facebook)] campaign envisioning “An Economy Without Human Trafficking” by downloading this sign, writing in your vision, taking a picture with your message, and sharing on social media with #EconomyWithoutTrafficking and #EndHumanTrafficking.
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