Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January 7, 2023—Stories of Hope

During the month of January, much needed attention is focused on the issue of Human Trafficking.

Human trafficking, according to Unitas, is the exploitation of another person for labor, domestic servitude, or commercial sexual activity by force, fraud, or coercion. It is also the act of enslaving or exploiting unwilling other people. Unfortunately, slavery in some form has existed for hundreds of years – and persistently exists today, though many are unaware of this fact.

In recent years, human services organizations have successfully partnered with government agencies and influential public figures to bring awareness and resources to fight against human trafficking. Unfortunately, SJLCD supported programs are all too familiar with the effects of human trafficking.

SJLCD support of Claretian administered humanitarian aid in Ukraine is one example of how the plight of war and conflict causes forced migration. Alongside forced migration, profiteers exploit vulnerable individuals and families alike. The forms of trafficking are too numerous and always heartbreaking. Claretian missionaries constantly place themselves in harms way as they deliver needed medical supplies, emotional assistance, financial support and even personally deliver families to the safety of shelter, They do so for not for personal gain but in the purity of service to those in need. Unfortunately for many families fleeing their destroyed homes and loved ones, the Claretian’s self-less mission is isn’t always the help that’s offered or available.

Tragically, human trafficking also flourishes in many forms for families seeking shelter at Albergue San Oscar Romero. The SJLCD supported shelter is sought out by families aware that the Claretian delivered mission does not exploit residents in the ways other less reputable shelters are renowned for with forced work or “pay to stay” requirements. Shelter administrator Fr. Carl Quebedeaux tragically shares horrific stories of his intervention and negotiating the freedom of shelter families involved in kidnappings related to human trafficking.

The extent of human trafficking which co-exists in forced-migration crisis is rampant and only can be diminished and eradicated with our constant vigilance and support of both the survivors of the trauma and those who intervene to rescue them.

Do your part today and stand with SJLCD against human trafficking.