Human Trafficking

HUMAN TRAFFICKING COMMISSION

Report for June 15, 2018
By Ann Cubillas

As I prepared to write my final report for my term with this Board I looked back on what

progress has been made in fighting Human Trafficking on a global level. As I have

reported in the past many new inroads have been made in how victims are treated in

the court systems; how new laws, both federal and local, have been added to the books

for law enforcement’s advantage in combating these events; how many organizations

have stepped to the forefront of this issue and are endeavoring in the fight for human

dignity; and how our own National Council of Catholic Women has partnered this past

year with U.S. Sisters Against Human Trafficking in order to educate our members and

empower them to continue battling on behalf of those less fortunate who are being

abused every day.

There are so many websites and resources available to learn more about this subject.

The USCCB website is a great resource to remind us of our Catholic Social Teachings and

the dignity of the human being. For the Church, there is no distinction between

defending human life and promoting the dignity of the human person.

Pope Benedict XVI writes in Caritas in Veritate. . . that "The Church forcefully maintains

this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that a society lacks solid

foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person,

justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing

or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially

where it is weak or marginalized.'" (no. 15).

As a gift from God, every human life is sacred from conception to natural death. The life

and dignity of every person must be respected and protected at every stage and in

every condition. The right to life is the first and most fundamental principle of human

rights that leads Catholics to actively work for a world of greater respect for human life

and greater commitment to justice and peace.

To achieve this goal, the priority plan includes ongoing education, prayer, policy, and

advocacy efforts to mobilize the Catholic community on issues of life, justice, and peace.

In this way, the Catholic community celebrates the gift of human life and witnesses to

the Good News of Jesus Christ.

This means we must raise our awareness and voices to Human Trafficking and the

destruction to society that happens through these crimes against the most vulnerable in

our community.

Trafficking in women and children is an issue of global proportions requiring urgent and

concerted responses. A comprehensive approach is essential to address the political,

economic, social, legal and institutional dimensions of trafficking. A close networking of

various actors and at different levels is crucial in order to combat human trafficking.

Pray individually and with others Convene prayer gatherings with those in your

faith community, with local interfaith organizations, and with the wider community for

justice and healing for all those who have been affected by human trafficking.

Raise Awareness Share news stories, videos, blog posts, and other forms of media

that highlight the issue of human trafficking with our family, friends, and contacts. The

USCCB has a program called Become a Shepherd and offers the Shepherd Program

Movie Guide.

Build workshops and information meetings Educate and mobilize your faith

community about the issue of trafficking.

Involve children and youth Create spaces for young people to dialogue about

trafficking. Empower them to inform and protect themselves and others, and to help

end this injustice.

Support legislative action Organize groups to write, call or meet with your direct

representatives. Keep up to date on current legislation in your area by going to the

Florida Senate and House pages to find bills in process dealing with aspects of human

trafficking.

Contact the National Trafficking Resources Hotline Call 888‐373‐7888 if you suspect

that someone is being trafficked. Share this number with others and encourage them to

use it if necessary.

Encourage companies to promote fair labor practices Helpful websites include:

http://chainstoreaction.com

Help law enforcement map and investigate where trafficking is happening

Contribute to websites such as http://slaverymap.org

Consume wisely and ethically Educate yourself and your community about ethically

made products, such as fair trade coffee and chocolate, supporting those products

whenever possible. Look for organizations that support victims or sell gifts made by

survivors. Go to http://www.madebysurvivors.com and find out about the products.

Fight sex tourism Ask travel agencies, hotels and tour operators to sign the code of

conduct for the protections of children in travel and tourism. http://www.thecode.org

For the sake of all humanity and the right to human dignity I can only hope that each

time I speak on this horrific subject I create a small spark of enlightenment and

encouragement to bring each of you to take time to enlighten yourselves through all the

information available from many wonderful organizations and research those within

your communities and offer help. It will be by our hands and prayers that we continue

to combat the evil doers of Human Trafficking and release victims of all forms of

trafficking from their nightmares.

Let us take a lesson from the young men and women who are standing up against

violence in schools and their communities by being a loud voice in the battle against

human injustices. It is time that we proclaim our position on human rights and unite

together to fight for human dignity for all persons created in God’s light.

I’d like to close with a prayer for an end to trafficking.

O God, our words cannot express what our minds can barely comprehend and our

hearts feel when we hear of women and children deceived and transported to unknown

places for purposes of sexual exploitation and abuse because of human greed and profit

at this time in our world.

Our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are being

transgressed through threats, deception and force.

We cry out against the degrading practice of trafficking and pray for it to end.

Strengthen the fragile‐spirited and broken hearted. Make real your promises to fill

those our sisters and brothers with a love that is tender and good, and send the

exploiters away empty‐handed.

Give us the wisdom and courage to stand in solidarity with them that together we will

find ways to the freedom that is your gift to all of us. Amen.