[New York – USA] A group of Daughters of Charity from the Elizabeth Ann Seton Provinces gathered at St. John’s University in New York for a weeklong conference on global human trafficking held August 4 to 11, 2013. Daughters from England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Kenya, France and the United States explored this complex issue of human exploitation, sexual as well as forced labor, from the human, economic, theological and social points of view with the help of excellent presenters from these disciplines.
Participants were helped to understand that at any moment there is the possibility of 27 million vulnerable people being trafficked. Of these 27 million, 75% are women and girls, 27% are children, 58% involve sexual exploitation, and 36% involve forced labor. It is an annual $32 BILLION industry. It is simply horrendous – indeed mind-boggling and heart-wrenching, particularly to realize that it is those who are poor who are most often victimized.
Every person who is trafficked began that nightmarish journey with a GLIMMER of HOPE. Participants questioned themselves what could be done to make a difference. They sought to create a working plan to consciously engage one another in a concrete response. Acknowledging the need for and value of Prayer, Communication, Education and Networking, each country represented at the Conference met to formulate a potential Action Plan for the Daughters of Charity within their respective Province. The preliminary work of the participants will ensure that the topic of human trafficking will become part of the conversations of how to bring life to the concrete suggestions.
Father Pat Griffin, Director General, was on hand for several liturgies during this time and the Sisters participated in apostolic reflection each day to further deepen their commitment to engaging in prayer and action around this complex crime of global reach. Networking, advocacy, education and action were identified as goals going forward.
Adapted from FamVin.en