Contact: Christine Commerce, USCSAHT Communications Director, Christine@AllianceToEndHumanTrafficking.org, 321-750-4996
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE … FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking Announces New Name, Initiatives
The Non-Profit Organization, which was founded by Catholic Sisters and is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, will now be the Alliance to End Human Trafficking
Chicago, Oct. 2 — U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking announced its new name as the Alliance to End Human Trafficking (“Alliance”) at its third annual conference recently to further collaboration efforts with other groups and religious organizations.
The Alliance also announced its efforts to address human trafficking and forced migration through initiatives that will initially focus on work visas for migrants followed by supporting efforts related to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and support for migrant children.
The faith-based national network, which was founded by U.S. Catholic Sisters 10 years ago, also will continue its efforts to address the online exploitation of children and its support of the Equality Model, which calls for partial decriminalization of prostitution.
Alliance President Sister Ann Oestreich, IHM, said 10 years ago there was no public Catholic voice advocating for change and speaking out on human trafficking. The sisters decided to focus on human trafficking: educating people about what it is, promoting prevention strategies to keep it from happening in the first place, and advocating for stricter laws to punish traffickers and assist survivors.
“We thought we could be that voice,” Sister Oestreich said. “Prevention is key to ending human trafficking, and we know how to advocate. We also know that women and men need access to services to help them heal so that became part of our mission.”
The Alliance invited religious congregations, students, organizations, anti-trafficking agencies, and non-profit groups to come together to “break barriers to end human trafficking.” Three students were awarded an all-expense paid trip to Chicago so they could learn and further their efforts for future generations to end this affront to human dignity. Workshops included sextortion, child labor, a legal panel, trauma-informed care, and the Sister Margaret Nacke Bakhita Awards Dinner.
Miriam Krause, a student intern with Paving the Way Foundation and senior at Southeastern University who was one of the student attendees, said she was 15 years old when she first heard about human trafficking and felt compelled to work for the justice of people taken advantage of.
“I felt most passionate about the prevention side of it,” she said. “I think it’s a human rights issue. Everybody should rally together. Many hands make light work.”
The conference commenced on Sept. 28 and concluded on Sept. 30 at the Double Tree by Hilton Chicago North Shore Conference Center. On Sept. 29, the Alliance awarded FADICA – Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities the Margaret Nacke, CSJ Bakhita Award for its support of the organization. International organization Talitha Kum was also presented the Margaret Nacke, CSJ Bakhita Award for its work and partnership with ending human trafficking.
Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. It is the second most lucrative and is soon expected to surpass the illegal drug trade. Drugs can be sold once, but people can be sold multiple times, with many victims being sold 15 to 30 times a day. This is a $150 billion dollar industry with an estimated 50 million people ensnared in labor and sexual exploitation along with forced marriage. The Alliance recognizes the need to address this issue in the United States and abroad while collaborating with other organizations to make ending human trafficking a possibility.
“We are looking forward to a bright future as the Alliance to End Human Trafficking,” said Alliance Executive Director Katie Boller-Gosewisch. “Our new name is truly an outer reflection of what we have become—an inclusive network of organizations, individuals, and congregations dedicated to eradicating human trafficking by exposing its root causes and working toward systemic change.”
The Alliance to End Human Trafficking was founded in 2013 by a group of Catholic Sisters committed to ending human trafficking and supporting survivors. They created a national network of resources and support that includes many different congregations of women religious and mission-aligned partners. Today, this member-based organization has grown to include more than 115 congregations and another 100+ individuals and organizations spread throughout the United States. USCSAHT is also the U.S. member of Talitha Kum, the international network of consecrated life working to end human trafficking. Visit AllianceToEndTrafficking.org for more information.