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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

July 30th Awareness in Action



ArtWorks for Freedom is a global initiative that uses the arts to give a voice to the under-reported and rapidly growing problem of human tracking… modern slavery. We conduct multifaceted, arts-based awareness campaigns in cities and communities across the globe that combine exhibitions, performances, lectures and other events to draw attention to this widespread human rights atrocity.


ArtWorks for Freedom uses the power of art to raise awareness about modern day slavery and human trafficking. Working locally and globally and engaging art in all its forms, we are transforming public perceptions, educating individuals, communities and policy makers, and inspiring action to put an end to modern day slavery.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Advocacy to End Human Trafficking

United To End Human Trafficking

Advocacy work involves looking at root causes like gender inequality, exploitative economic systems, climate change, racism, and migration policies and how they foster human trafficking.

A recent advocacy campaign focuses on protecting children from online trafficking and exploitation, especially during the pandemic when children are spending more time on electronic devices.

Hear what members of the Advocacy Working Group for Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking have to say about why they are passionate about ending human trafficking and what they are currently working on in the video.

Watch the Advocacy Video Below
Listen to members of the Advocacy Working Group
share about the work they are involved in and
why they care about preventing and ending human trafficking.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Lamenting the Trafficking of Human Persons

Lamenting the Trafficking of Human Persons

How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous, so that just is perverted.
                                                                                                            Habakkuk 1: 2-4

Communal Lament

We lament the millions who cry out, “How Long!?” as they suffer from torture and abuse at the hands of their traffickers…
God of compassion, have mercy on us.

We lament our failure hear the cries of our brothers and sisters trapped in modern Day slavery…
God of compassion, have mercy on us

We lament the biases we hold that make it hard to see the suffering of those around us…

God of compassion, have mercy on us

We lament our complicity in upholding systems of oppression that continue to dehumanize and exploit members of the body of Christ…
God of compassion, have mercy on us

We lament the little and big ways we fail to honor the dignity and beauty of each Individual person…
God of compassion, have mercy on us

We lament the fear and doubt that prevents us from taking action…
God of compassion, have mercy on us

Envision A World Without Slavery

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Advocacy - Sign The Letter

May this month leading up to the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons be an opportunity for us to learn, pray, and act to end human trafficking and protect children during this time of heightened vulnerability due to the pandemic!

Protect Children from Online Trafficking

Child online sexual exploitation and trafficking is rampant. As with all pandemics, online sexual abuse and trafficking of children is not easy to detect, threatens lives, especially of the most vulnerable, and if unaddressed, will have daunting and irreversible impacts on families and society.
One law that is already in place to help protect children from online exploitation and trafficking is the Protect Our Children Act of 2008. However, the Attorney General has been derelict in his duties to request funding and ensure that the task forces created by this law to protect children are able to do their job. The DOJ’s inattention to this crisis has left our children at higher risk for becoming victims of the most heinous of crimes. Please join us by clicking the button below and sign your name to our letter to Attorney General Barr to fully fund and enforce the oversight and protections of the Protect Our Children Act of 2008.


God of power and possibility,
God of light and love,
God of hope and resurrection,
God of presence and grace,
We entrust our prayers,
Our questions,
Our commitments,
Our longings,
And all that remains left unsaid
Into your Heart,
The one heart
Of our collective body.

Unite us,
Empower us,
Sustain us,
And liberate us
To do the work
You call us to do in the world.

We give you thanks and praise for this day
And the possibility of tomorrow.

Monday, July 20, 2020

World Day Against Human Trafficking is Coming

The Legacy of 400 Years of Racism
and Colonialism
By Jennifer Reyes Lay, Executive Director of USCSAHT
As we approach the annual World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30th, it is important to reflect not only on the present reality of human trafficking in our communities, country, and the wider world, but also the longer history that has brought us to this particular moment in time. In order to work more effectively in realizing a world without slavery with a network of services and resources to inform the public, prevent the crime and assist survivors to achieve a fulfilling life, we have to understand the intersecting systems of oppression that fuel the demand to exploit the bodies of vulnerable human beings, and what makes them vulnerable in the first place. The current reality of human trafficking, often referred to as modern-day slavery, continues the persistent legacy of slavery and exploitation going back to European colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade over 400 years ago. 
Throughout the world, centuries of European colonization spread the beliefs and practices of supremacy which deemed those with darker skin and different worldviews as “savage,” less-than-human, even equivalent to animals, and therefore could be used and abused for the profit and sexual gratification of the powerful or simply exterminated. It is estimated that between 5-10 million indigenous people were murdered and hundreds of thousands more forcibly removed from their homelands during colonization in the United States. In addition to the genocide of indigenous communities this system of dehumanization and exploitation showed up in the transatlantic slave trade where it is estimated between 10-12 million Africans were kidnapped and forced into slavery, about 10% of whom were brought to what is now the United States.  At the time of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, there were an estimated 4 million enslaved persons of African descent in the United States. These enslaved Africans had to endure not only brutal forced labor conditions, but also torture, sexual abuse, and rape at the hands of their masters and other wealthy people.

Ending Slavery is Everyone’s Work!

I invite you, particularly if you are , to take time this month leading up to the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, to learn more about this history of slavery, racism and colonialism; lament for the harm done; repent for our complicity both past and present; and begin to make reparations so that this legacy of slavery, abuse, and exploitation finally ends. Reparations for US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking looks like sharing our time and resources with those who continue to be impacted by these legacies of slavery, racism, and colonialism; challenging the cultures and beliefs that allow this crime to continue, centering and lifting up the voices of those directly impacted; and amplifying the reality of the Black girls and Indigenous girls and women whose stories, abuse, and murders do not get the same attention as girls and women.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

One Body
United to End Human Trafficking

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ… Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it, if one part rejoices, every part rejoices with it.   I Corinthians 12: 12,26-27

We suffer together as one body and we rejoice together as one body.  Our faith tells us that suffering and death do not have the last word.  We are a people of resurrection hope, and new life is always possible.  There are just as many stories of survivors who through their own courage, determination, and perseverance as well as with the loving support of others, now give thanks and rejoice for the freedom they experience and the dreams they have for their future.  There are also stories of transformation for those who were previously traffickers or buyers and have changed their ways. 

Watch the video regarding services offered for survivors:

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Feast of Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey - Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny Founder

Happy Feast Day Cluny Sisters

On July 15th, Cluny Sisters from around the world
celebrate their Founder, Anne Marie Javouhey.

Anne Marie Javouhey’s vision of children and peoples of all colors and cultures became the charism and missionary zeal of the Congregation to ‘Go Out’ to all the world and ‘Proclaim’ the Good News of the Gospel.

Jesus’ Mission Statement
Gospel of Luke 4: 18, 19

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,

and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Our missionary spirituality grounds us in a communal, contemplative discernment that searches ‘to know and do the Will of God’.

Today, 2,600 Cluny Sisters living in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, serve in 57 Countries.  The dynamism of diverse languages, cultures and mission experiences strengthens our unity and sense of belonging.  It calls us to live more authentically our charism as missionary disciples in a new world, by participating in the Mission of Jesus to evangelize, heal and liberate all peoples, especially the poor, the least the lost and the last.  Going to the peripheries and beyond boundaries, the mission includes the whole of God’s creation.

‘O, how happy we are
to have so beautiful a vocation’
Anne Marie Javouhey

Anne-Marie Javouhey was born in France on November 11, 1779. In 1807, she founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny who dedicated themselves to the care of the sick and to teaching.  She wrote,
"...There is so much resourcefulness in children.
It is on them that I count if God wishes to use us for such a great apostolate..."

Called to minister to the colonies, Anne Marie devoted herself to the emancipation of the slaves. She died July 15, 1851.

Read More Here

O God, we thank you
 for the life of Blessed Anne-Marie Javouhey
and for the apostolic work
continued by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny.

May we be faithful to her spirit in our living today
and in our service
to the young, the poor, the sick, the afflicted and oppressed.
We ask this in the name of Jesus whose gospel she so faithfully followed.

Cor unum et anima mea

Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Lily of the Mohawks

Patron Saint of the Environment

 “Let us be protectors of creation,
protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature,
protectors of one another and of the environment.”

Kateri Tekakwitha is popularly known as the patroness saint of Native American and First Nations Peoples, integral ecology, and the environment.

Saint Kateri and the Indigenous Peoples had, and have, an extensive knowledge of the natural world, acquired over thousands of years of direct contact with nature.

Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in Ossernenon (now Auriesville), a Mohawk village in upstate New York. Her father was a Mohawk chief, and her Catholic mother was a member of the Algonquin nation.

When she was a child, a smallpox epidemic decimated most of her village and family. St. Kateri survived the outbreak but would suffer from poor eyesight and ill health the rest of her life. Orphaned by the disease, she would be raised by members of her non-Catholic father’s family.

She was deeply moved by the preaching of the Jesuits who traveled among the villages and was baptized at age 20.  Kateri’s baptismal name is “Catherine,” which in the Haudenosaunee (“Iroquois”) language is “Kateri.” Kateri’s Haudenosaunee name, “Tekakwitha,” can be translated as “One who places things in order” or “To put all into place.” Other translations include, “she pushes with her hands” and “one who walks groping for her way” (because of her faulty eyesight).

St. Kateri dedicated her life to prayer, penance, caring for the sick and infirm and adoration of the Eucharist. In 1677, she began a 200-mile trek to a Jesuit mission in Canada where she could more openly practice her faith. Her health continued to deteriorate, and she died on April 17, 1680, at age 24.

Pope Pius XII declared her venerable in 1943, the first step toward sainthood. Pope John Paul II beatified Kateri, known as the Lily of the Mohawks, in 1980. Pope Benedict XVI approved the miracle needed for sainthood on December 19, 2011, citing her intervention in the recovery of a young boy in Washington who was gravely ill from flesh-eating bacteria. Pope Benedict announced on February 18, 2012, that Kateri would be canonized and welcomed into the communion of saints on October 21, 2012. Her feast day is celebrated on July 14th.

Pledge of Commitment
To Protect and Heal God's Creation

We have come to renew our covenant with God and with one another
in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

We have come to help protect God's creation.

We have come as followers of Jesus to commit ourselves anew 
to one another and to heal injustice and poverty.

We have come to stand together against all threats to life.

We have come to discover some new beauty every day in God's creation: 
the sunrise and sunset, birds, flowers and trees, rainbows in the sky, 
the stars, the many forms of life in the forest.

We have come to listen to the "music of the universe"
water flowing over rocks, the wind, trees
bending in the wind, raindrops pattering the roof.

We will remember always that God speaks to us 
through the beauty of his creation, 
and we will try our best to answer God's call 
to reverence all that he has created.

Hymn to Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Patronness of the Environment
Pray For Us!

Monday, July 6, 2020

July Stop Trafficking Newsletter

Human Trafficking
for the Removal of Organs
Pakistani police rail an apartment near the capital Islamabad and release 24 people locked inside. The men and women who had been brought there through deception and threats were waiting to be taken to a clinic. They had heard that one of their kidneys would be removed.

What if you woke up one day and your kidney was gone?
Human trafficking isn't just about forced labor or sexual exploitation. Organ trafficking is not the same as trafficking for organ removal. Trafficking for organ removal is an individual being trafficked for the purpose of removing their organ(s), whereas organ trafficking is the illegal buying and selling of organs. A trafficked organ could come from a trafficked individual but that is not always the case; they may be two separate crimes. The two terms should not be conflated.

Click here to view a one minute YouTube video.

The HOTT Project
The HOTT Project, an international research project, 'combating trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal', was the first EU-funded project against this neglected form of trafficking in human beings. 

Their findings were compiled into nine reports, all available on their website. The reports were also published in various journals and distributed among police forces and other stakeholders worldwide.

Click here to learn more