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January 11

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Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Human trafficking has a history of thousands of years.  Its underlying cause is patriarchy, the dominance system of males over women and children. Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation. The root cause of trafficking is the trafficker who dominates over other human beings for profit. It violates every ethic of the dignity, equality and rights of the human person and is reinforced by the conviction of superior and inferior rights. It is a flagrant violation of human rights, one that indiscriminately strips its victims of confidence and dignity, and leaves pain, fear and shame. Unfortunately, the structures of patriarchy underpin all our institutions. No matter our spiritual or religious beliefs this abuse will last as long as a system of vertical rather than horizontal relationships exists.

Human trafficking is the third largest crime industry in the world. Only drug dealing and arms trafficking eclipse it. Held against their will, people are forced to work for or provide services to the trafficker or others. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates there are 14.2 million people trapped in forced labor in industries such as agriculture, construction, domestic work and manufacturing. Traffickers sell women and children online every day. Enslaved domestic workers can be found in any neighborhood. This is the invisible slavery of our time.


May we have eyes to see and act to make our communities slave free,


Name this injustice if you see it. Report a tip 1 (888) 373-7888. Do not be afraid of what others may think. Share what you know about human trafficking with someone else.

Suggested Reading

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
Matthew 5: 3-12

Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.
Isaiah 1:17 

Human trafficking is a scourge, a crime against the whole of humanity. It is time to join forces and work together to free its victims and to eradicate this crime that affects all of us, from individual families to the worldwide community.
Pope Francis

Trafficking in persons is a vile crime that feeds on inequalities, instability and conflict. Human traffickers profit from peoples’ hopes and despair. They prey on the vulnerable and rob them of their fundamental rights.
Antonio Guterres

It surprises people that there are actually a very large number of slaves in the world today—our best estimate is 27 million. And that is defining a slave in a very narrow way; we’re not talking about sweatshop workers or people who are just poor, we’re talking about people who are controlled by violence, who cannot walk away, who are being held against their will, who are being paid nothing.
Kevin Bales

It is up to each and every one of us to raise our voice against crimes that deprive countless victims of their liberty, dignity and human rights. We have to work together to realize the equal rights promised to all by the United Nations Charter. And we must collectively give meaning to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude”.
Ban Ki-moon

We tend to think of human trafficking as a foreign issue, not something that could happen here in our own back yards. But it’s a fast-growing problem in the United States, in every area, with no real defined demographic.
Lori Foster 

Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.
Helen Keller 

The challenge of social justice is to evoke a sense of community that we need to make our nation a better place, just as we make it a safer place.
Marian Wright Edelman

The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.
Jimmy Carter

With reverence for all creation, we work to secure the human dignity of all persons, especially the poor and oppressed.
Constitutions of the Sisters of Saint Joseph

We, Sisters of St. Joseph, abhor the trafficking of persons, all of whom are our dear neighbor. We are committed to educating ourselves and others about this destructive behavior, to speak out for the truth in order to heal and support victims of this injustice, and to promote life through systemic change.
Corporate Statement on Human Trafficking