July, 2024 Monthly Reflection

Faith and Action in Ending Human Trafficking

Sally Duffy, SC

As I write this reflection today, the Catholic Church is celebrating the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The first reading is from the book of Wisdom (1:13-15; 2:23-24), “God did not make death, nor does God rejoice in the destruction of the living. For God fashioned all things that they might have being, and the creatures of the world are wholesome. And there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. For God formed humans to be imperishable; the image of God’s own nature God made them. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to the devil’s company experience it.”

The Gospel reading from the fifth chapter according to Mark begins with Jairus, a synagogue official falling at the feet of Jesus, pleading earnestly that his daughter is at the point of death. Jairus asks Jesus to “please come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live. Jesus went off with Jairus and a large crowd followed and pressed upon Jesus.
Then we have the story of the woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. Suffering and with no helps from doctors, she believes if she can just touch Jesus cloak that she will be cured and so she did touch Jesus cloak and she was healed immediately.

Simultaneously Jairus is told, “Your daughter has died, why trouble the teacher any longer.” Jesus said to Jairus, “Do not be afraid, just have faith.” When they arrive at Jairus’ house, there is commotion and wailing. Jesus says, “why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep. And the people ridiculed Jesus.” Jesus then cleared the house of everyone except the mother and father, and Peter, James and John.

Taking the twelve-year-old child be the hand, Jesus said to her, “Talitha Kum.” Which means, “Little girl, I say to you arise!” The girl arose immediately and walked around. The story concludes, “At that they were utterly astounded. Jesus gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.”

The Alliance to End Human Trafficking is the United States representative to the Talitha Kum International Network of Consecrated Life (Catholic Sisters), Against Human Trafficking.

Talitha translated from Aramaic is little girl. Human trafficking is life threatening and can occur in every country, neighborhood and is contrary to raising the dignity of human life because we are all created in the image and likeness of God. The Alliance to End Human Trafficking (AEHT), a network and a community, calls all of us to end human trafficking, prevent the conditions that facilitate human trafficking such as stopping the demand and to ensure that all victims “arise” and become not just survivors but also thrive. We do not write persons off or just weep but we are called to believe and act in prophetic hope daily that, “God did not make death, nor does God rejoice in the destruction of the living.” Jesus the teacher is calling us to heal, to restore, to ensure Life-giving conditions and systems.

There is so much we can do all do individually and collectively. A Sister contacted me in late May who is a close friend of Sister Margaret Nacke, one of the founders of the Alliance to End Human Trafficking, who died on Holy Saturday. She is praying daily to end human trafficking. You could designate a day like the eighth day of every month, in honor of St. Josephine Bakhita’s feast day on February 8, to pray to end human trafficking and to support survivors through prayers and/or a donation. You could join a local coalition that provides education and awareness on the signs of human trafficking and ways to prevent human trafficking. Local coalitions often are addressing the demand side of both sex and labor trafficking through local policy and legislative changes. You could accompany a victim of human trafficking by writing letters or volunteering with an organization. Volunteers are often needed by organizations providing trauma informed care and evidence-based interventions. Volunteers are needed to provide education in art, meditation, nutrition, reflective writing, and yoga with the women or to cook a meals, join an activity planning team, property cleaning and beautification, organize and sort donations or hosting a collection drive (pantry items, feminine products, cleaning supplies, etc.). Please contact your local organization providing services to find out specifically the volunteer opportunities.

Through AEHT you can participate in advocacy opportunities such as our current campaigns. There are also local and statewide coalitions addressing legislative and policy priorities to prevent human trafficking and/or to support survivors.

Please consider if your personal or congregational investments support ending human trafficking and preventing the conditions that facilitate human trafficking. AEHT has persons serving on the Advocacy Working Group who are very resourceful.

You can continue to educate yourself on human trafficking especially by participating in AEHT’s webinars and their conference scheduled for February 5-7, 2025 in Baltimore, Maryland. Please read the Stop Trafficking Newsletter that has plenty of timely and pertinent information.

Thank you in advance for doing your part to heal by committing to the power of community and collaboration that acts together to form a network of compassion and grace. Our Scripture readings for today, our faith and our spirituality remind us of the power of God to transform even the most hopeless situations and to raise to new life what seems to be dead, even when ridiculed.

Thank you for praying for everyone served and connected with the Alliance to End Human Trafficking.

Sister Sally Duffy, SC