January, 2022 Monthly Reflection

Connecting the Dots

By Sister Anne Victory, HM

Remember those childhood puzzles and exercises of “connecting the dots?”  By following the numbered sequence, an image would emerge that was not apparent at the start. What looked like a random scattering of numbers and dots was transformed into a lovely flower or panda or tree or puppy.  As a small child, I found the process exciting! What would emerge?  What would I discover?

In these times of monumental chaos throughout the globe, I find myself trying to “connect the dots” again, although in much more serious matters.  What are the connections between migration and human trafficking, between poverty and human trafficking, between patriarchy and human trafficking?  And how are these all intertwined?  What will it take for us to connect the dots?  What will be the impact if we begin addressing both the immense suffering of those who are oppressed by human trafficking and the crumbling systems that facilitate the oppression: destruction of earth’s resources through climate change leading to forced migration, voracious appetites for cheap products resulting in forced labor, systems that use and abuse others for their own satisfaction and wealth, seeing people on the margins as objects to be used and tossed aside rather than sacred persons made in the image of a loving God?

The prospect of beginning to connect these dots seems so heavy and immense that it’s hard to pick up the pencil and begin drawing! Is it even possible to make a difference in such large and complex issues that, if not addressed, could cause mass annihilation of the peoples, nations, and creatures on the margins? I hear echoes of encouraging parents and teachers from my early childhood cheering me on when I could not see the picture and hardly knew which number came next.  It took those trusted and encouraging words from my circle of loving people to allow me to hold on tightly to my pencil, to draw the next line, to trust that a beautiful image would be revealed.

Perhaps what we all need as we begin collectively to “connect the dots” of human trafficking in this New Year is just such a support system: those who share common values of human dignity and honest work, the sanctity of every life and the sacredness of every creature on earth and in the universe. With these values we can build communities that encourage, support and work together to take every next step, draw every new line, determine every next action as we stand with one another to advocate for changes that will bring about justice, provide needed services for those who have suffered such deep trauma, and draw a picture of the new reality of God’s dream that we really are all one.