January 11

National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness
Reflection

Human Trafficking is one of the major injustices of our time. It is a form of modern-day slavery by which traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of others. Human Trafficking is not a distant evil. It happens right here in the United States in communities across our nation and within our own neighborhoods. Human trafficking cuts across racial lines and geographic borders, invariably devastating lives and communities. It is a flagrant violation of human rights, one that indiscriminately strips its victims of confidence and dignity, and leaves pain, fear and shame. 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. Sex and labor trafficking exists within diverse venues in our society including truck stops, strip clubs, fake massage parlors, restaurants, agriculture, online escort services, residential brothels, city streets, motels and hotels. 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.

Prayer

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

Action

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

It is not possible to remain indifferent before the knowledge that human beings are bought and sold like goods! I think of the adoption of children for the extraction of their organs, of women deceived and obliged to prostitute themselves, of workers exploited and denied rights or a voice, and so on. And this is human trafficking. It is precisely on this level that we need to make a good examination of conscience: how many times have we permitted a human being to be seen as an object, to be put on show in order to sell a product or to satisfy an immoral desire? The human person ought never to be sold or bought as if he or she were a commodity. Whoever uses human persons in this way and exploits them, even if indirectly, becomes an accomplice of injustice
Pope Francis

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

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