Dear Friends and Parishioners;
January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Also known as trafficking in persons, this growing crisis includes forced labor and sex trafficking. Trafficking not only represents a threat to international peace and security but also undermines the rule of law, robs millions of their dignity and freedom, enriches transnational criminals and terrorists, and threatens public safety and national security everywhere. Furthermore, there are estimated to be more than 24.9 million people — adults and children — subjected to human trafficking. Traffickers often take advantage of instability caused by natural disasters, conflict, or a pandemic to exploit others (US Department of State).
As Catholics, we are called to protect the dignity of every human life. Let us be especially attentive to the realities of all forms of human trafficking. Here are some helpful things we can do to prevent trafficking:
- Purchase and consume products manufactured or processed only by companies with sound labor policies and practices which help to prevent exploitation of others. This is important for a growing global economy. From where am I obtaining my food, clothing, cosmetics, other goods and items? Am I vacationing in countries or resorts with policies that promote employees’ rights and wellness? Does my employer do business with other companies that promote just wages and healthy working conditions?
- Understand the connection between so-called “adult entertainment” and the exploitation of women, men, and children who become enmeshed in the industry, including pornography. While our American instinct is to permit a variety of freedoms of expression, pornography preys upon some of the most vulnerable including children, young adults and others who have never experienced a stable family life. Are my choices in entertainment contributing to these forms of exploitation?
- Advocate for the defenseless. If you see something, say something! This simple yet direct message reminds us that we need to personally advocate for our at-risk brothers and sisters. It’s happening in our own community, especially among the homeless, poor, displaced immigrants, and youth. Am I aware of any suspicious activities occurring in my neighborhood?
For more information check out these sites:
While this is not an extensive list, it can begin a conversation. As we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, may we grow in awareness of Christ’s peace and His desire for us to live as instruments of God’s love in our world today.
Yours in Christ,