June, 2024 Monthly Reflection

Reflecting on Progress: AEHT’s Latest Initiatives

Katie Boller Gosewisch, Executive Director

At the US Embassy to the Holy See From Left to Right: Ann Oestreich, IHM, Kris Wade, Bill Miller, Laura Hochla, Deputy Chief of Mission, Katie Boller Gosewisch, Cheyanne Neuenschwander, Jeanne Atkinson, and Sally Duffy, SC

This past month and a half, I have had two very unique opportunities to take part in building our institutional memory as we work to end human trafficking. In May, seven delegates from the United States traveled to Sacrofano, Italy, attending the 15th anniversary Talitha Kum General Assembly. There we worked diligently, meeting our fellow delegates, learning what networks around the world were doing to end trafficking, and ultimately informing the crafting of the final declaration which would ultimately be signed into action by UISG leadership. It wasn’t all work—we celebrated (and ate!) together. On our final day, we attended the Sisters Against Trafficking Awards, where AEHT President Emerita Anne Victory, HM was honored with their Servant Leader award.


At the SATA Awards from Left to Right: UISG President Mary Barron, OLA, SATA Laureates Grasy Luisa Rodrigues FDCC, Marie Claude Naddaf RDS and Anne Victory, HM

Next, in June we held an advocacy day which was the culmination of our Human Trafficking and Forced Migration project that began eighteen months ago. I am beyond honored to have worked with the staff and team on this project. Our partner, the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd has been a source of continued support, energy, and wisdom. Their Executive Director, Fran Eskin-Royer and their Communications Consultant Kathy Dempsey are like our sisters in mission. The team here at the Alliance, included our staff, Marilyn Zigmund Luke, Waed Al Nimri, Christine Commerce, Jervonia Melton, and Christina Feldermann, as well as current and past Board members Sally Duffy, SC, Jeanne Atkinson, Ann Scholz, SSND and Ann Oestreich, IHM. Finally, we are endlessly grateful for funding from the sisters of the Humility of Mary for their funding of the Advocacy Day itself and to other funders for the project overall. During the course of the project, we were able to hold four webinars, one policy meeting, one educational briefing on the Hill, educate roughly 50 people on how to make and hold meetings with elected officials—and subsequently go to those meetings. To date, we have reached thousands with our webinars and meetings. This is amazing reach, dear members, and none of it is possible without YOU.

These moments were amazing and energizing and wonderful. I loved them. I loved them with a ferocity that is hard to put into language. But there are also days when I am tired, when I am cranky. When I would just rather not. But then, because I had a truly wonderful Irish Catholic grandmother (please read what I intend here that she was actually quite wonderful but was also wonderfully gifted at inducing feelings of guilt when appropriate), I think of the people in this world who do not have their choice in work. I think of the women who are forced to labor against their will or unfairly so that their children can eat. I think of the women who sell their bodies so that their daughters won’t have to. And then I think, the little heart breaks that come with my job are right and just. I’m not quite certain what I think of my theology there, and perhaps that is the part of this reflection that I will need to reflect more on, but right now it strikes me as true. Whatever the case may be, those heart breaks I have now result in more love, more ferocity, and a knowledge that I am right where I belong. Right here, with you, in this work.

#1. Fran Eskin Royer & KBG. #2. Maria Orlandini, OSF, Eileen McKenzie, FSPA, Catherine Darcy, RSM, Cristían Eduardo, Ann Oestreich, IHM #3. Crowd at the Hill Briefing (Standing room only!!) #4. Sally Duffy, SC, KBG, & Marilyn Zigmund Luke Engaging conversation!