Stop Human Trafficking
The scourge of human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It is present in our city and state, but frequently goes unnoticed because it takes many forms, and its victims live in the shadows. But the human suffering inflicted on the victims of trafficking is very real, and is a terrible crime against human dignity.
Is this really going on?
The number of victims of trafficking is staggering. The UN estimates that there are over 1.5 million victims in the United States, Canada and Europe. The majority (55%) of forced labor victims are women and girls. And 98 percent of sex trafficking victims are female. Children make up 26 percent of all victims — over 5.5 million child victims around the world.
Human trafficking generally takes two forms: sex slavery and forced labor. Sex slavery means forcing people -- usually women and children -- into prostitution or pornography. Forced labor involves using threats or coercion to reduce people to involuntary servitude.
What are we doing to put a stop to it?
The Catholic Church around the world, and our own United States Bishops, have long been leaders in the battle against human trafficking. Our bishops have an energetic anti-trafficking campaign, and Pope Francis has repeatedly denounced it as a "crime against humanity".
The United States and New York have strict laws against human trafficking. But these laws can be strengthened, and more aggressively enforced. It's also vital that people become more aware of this terrible problem, and call upon their public officials to take action.
For more information and resources on this subject, check out the following links:
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops -- Anti-Trafficking Program
New York State Office of Children and Family Services -- Human Trafficking
New York City -- Let's End Human Trafficking
What can everyone do right now to help?
The most important thing we can do is pray for the victims of human trafficking. It is especially appropriate to pray to St. Josephine Bakhita, who was herself a victim of trafficking, having been sold into slavery as a young girl.
Please download this beautiful prayer card from the U.S. Bishops' Conference, and offer a prayer to this wonderful saint:
St. Josephine Bakhita,
you were sold into slavery as a child
and endured untold hardship and suffering.
Once liberated from your physical enslavement,
you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church.
O St. Bakhita, assist all those who are trapped in a state of slavery;
Intercede with God on their behalf
so that they will be released from their chains of captivity.
Those whom man enslaves, let God set free.
Provide comfort to survivors of slavery
and let them look to you as an example of hope and faith.
Help all survivors find healing from their wounds.
We ask for your prayers and intercessions for those enslaved among us.