June, 2018 Monthly Reflection

Join the Movement, Create a Tipping Point to End Human Trafficking

by Sister Linda Haydock, SNJM

On first every Sunday of the month for ten years we Catholic Sisters and our companions stand and pray to end the trafficking of over of over 40 million women, children and men. It’s said that statistics are faces with the tears wiped away. We will stand, advocate and work until the face of human trafficking is revealed as the modern day slavery it is and brought to an end.

Why would people stand in silent vigil every month for ten years? We feel called, compelled and have a conviction that every action we take to witness against the injustice and indignity of human trafficking makes a difference. While we advocate and educate we stand in silent vigil. We hold companies accountable for trafficking in their supply chains, and we vigil. As we form committees and coalitions we vigil. As we accompany and support survivors we vigil.

Rain, shine or snow we stand in the heart of downtown Seattle at Westlake Park. This small urban gathering place for the community is also a hub of human trafficking, law enforcement officers tell us. Throughout the years we have had every encounter imaginable with passersby. Many walk by without even a glance, but many more come to a new awareness of the human trafficking taking place in our midst. From photo journalists to the state attorney general, we enlist them to act end human trafficking as we give public witness. Survivors thank us and students stand with us. Retired sisters unable to stand, join us in their chapels.

Every time I join in community at Westlake Park it is a new opportunity to deepen my commitment to give what I can and to do what must be done for the sake of the whole human community. There are more laws now, more organizations addressing human trafficking, more companies aware and addressing the situation, and much more public consciousness of the need to end the exploitation of human beings. When will we reach the tipping point where survivors outnumber the persons trafficked and slavery is no more? I can’t tell you how many more vigils we will hold or when we will celebrate the end of trafficking, but I can tell you as long as there are Catholic Sisters and human trafficking exists we will stand strong on every corner and commit ourselves to every effort to end human trafficking.

The movement is growing. Fifteen states and three Canadian Provinces hold vigils. What if we doubled the number of vigils this year? If every city in North American joined the sisters for half an hour on the first Sunday of the month it would signal that we are well on our way to that tipping point to end human trafficking.

To Start a Public Vigil

  • Contact the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center at: ipjc@ipjc.org
  • Get Signs
  • Set a Time and Place
  • Show Up
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