I finished a major project at one of my ministries today. I've been using my desktop publishing and writing skills to revamp the brochures for the Human Trafficking Program. I'm happy to help in any small way I can to raise awareness for this huge issue. I find that many people don't even know what human trafficking is.

What is it? Basically, it's modern day slavery and it's happening in our very midst. The US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines human trafficking as:
  • Sex Trafficking - in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion; or
  • Labor Trafficking - the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.
The UN International Labor Office estimates that 2.45 Million people are subjected to human trafficking at any given time. The US Government estimates that 18,000 to 20,000 victims are trafficked across international borders into the US each year. After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today. That just astounds me, especially when you think that no one seems to even know it's a problem.

Sadly, I know its real because I have met some of its real human victims - the ones who were lucky enough to be found and receive help to get out of the situations. Many more victims are being held as slaves today, right now, as you read this!

A victim of trafficking may look like many of the people you know every day. You can help trafficking victims get the assistance they need by looking beneath the surface for the following clues:
  • Evidence of being controlled
  • Evidence of an inability to move or leave a job
  • Bruises or other signs of physical abuse
  • Fear or depression
  • Not speaking on own behalf and/or Non-English speaking
  • Lack of passport, immigration or identification documentation
You can read more on the US Bishops Conference Website, and a variety of US Government websites.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, here are some numbers you can call:
  • National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.3737.888
  • In New Jersey - the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark's Trafficking Hotline: 8666-999-9007

Please pray for an end to the trafficking of persons.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

See! You are already making very valuable contributions at your ministry site and through the blog are able to spread the word even further. Hope you are enjoying Jersey City!