US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking is a collaborative, faith-based national network that offers education, supports access to survivor services, and engages in advocacy to eradicate modern-day slavery. We envision a world without slavery with a network of services and resources to inform the public, prevent the crime and assist survivors to achieve a fulfilling life.
Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation. It is a global epidemic that reaches every corner of the earth, and those responsible make billions of dollars in profit each year. Slavery, long thought to be eradicated, has merely evolved and taken on new variations that make it more difficult to eliminate.
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are around 40 million victims of human trafficking globally; 75 percent of them are women and girls. One in four victims of human trafficking is a child. Although there is no official estimate of the total number of victims in the U.S., the National Hotline has documented cases of human tracking in all 50 states. Calls and text to the Hotline indicate hundreds of thousands of victims of both sex and labor tracking in the United States.
The Sisters’ Response
In April of 2013 a group of Catholic sisters gathered together in Washington D.C. as part of a White House meeting on human trafficking. Inspired to continue working together to end human trafficking, they began to form a national network of women religious to collaborate with the common goal of ending human trafficking and supporting survivors.
Since 2013, the network has grown to over 100+ congregations of women religious all across the country, as well as dozens of coalitions and individuals who are committed to ending this form of modern day slavery. US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking is governed by a board of directors and in July of 2019 hired their first Executive Director. They have several active working groups including survivor services, education, advocacy, communications, finance/development, and membership.
Catholic Sisters in the U.S. are involved in a wide range of programs that address the crime of human trafficking. Members of USCSAHT have been active in opening safe houses for survivors and providing services for their healing and reintegration. Members of the education committee have created many educational modules for use by churches, schools, businesses, and individuals and given presentations throughout the country. Through public witness and advocacy they have encouraged Congress to take action to protect victims of human trafficking and address root causes such as poverty, violence, and climate change.
Catholic Sisters also work in coalition with many other groups addressing this issue in the spheres of business and corporate social responsibility, health care, all levels of government (local, state and federal), and education at all levels, and provide avenues for people to become active and effective in addressing this issue. Because of the large network of religious life and the institutions founded by Catholic sisters, USCSAHT has been able to reach tens of thousands of people across the country and across the world in our mission to end human trafficking.
Are you connected to any international groups working to resolve the problem of human trafficking?
USCSAHT is the U.S. network representative to Talitha Kum, the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons, headquartered in Rome. 50 networks representing sisters working to end trafficking in 77 countries make up the Talitha Kum network. Being part of this network enables USCSAHT to share resources and best practices that sisters around the world have developed related to prevention, protection, assistance and advocacy, and build partnerships with groups who share our mission.
USCSAHT has also worked to establish close working relationships with other Talitha Kum networks throughout the Western Hemisphere. This enables USCSAHT to not only share resources, but also be aware of migration patterns and routes throughout the hemisphere, as migration and human trafficking are closely connected.
Funds Are Needed
- $25,000 to grow our communications outreach in order to educate various populations such as schools, hospitals, churches, etc. about human trafficking and how to prevent it. We would like to develop a network of speakers who can give presentations on human trafficking across the country. Recognizing that the population of Spanish speakers continues to grow in the U.S. we would also like to develop more Spanish language materials and translations to increase awareness and prevention among the Spanish speaking community.
- $25,000 to host an in-person gathering of members of our network from across the country in order to strengthen connections, communication, and increase our capacity to respond to the epidemic of human trafficking in the United States.
- $25,000 to provide support and mentoring to survivors of human trafficking as they begin their process of healing and setting goals for their future.
Goals and Objectives
Timeline: 2 years
Goal: Train members from across the country to give Human Trafficking 101 presentations with information about how to recognize and prevent this crime.
Objectives: USCSAHT will be a nationally recognized resource for education and training in order to prevent human trafficking and increase awareness about how to recognize the signs of human trafficking. Having a large network of speakers available will increase our impact in awareness and prevention across various sectors of society.
Goal: Provide Spanish language educational materials and other resources to prevent human trafficking and provide assistance to those in situations of trafficking.
Objective: Language will not be a barrier to providing excellent education and prayer resources to communities impacted by trafficking. Spanish speakers will have access to the tools of prevention and know how to reach out for support in situations of trafficking.
Timeline: 2 years
Goal: By 2021 bring together members of our network from across the country for an in-person meeting in order to strengthen relationships, improve communication, and increase our impact in ending human trafficking across the country.
Objectives: With the expansive nature of our network it can be difficult to communicate and share information with one another. By deepening relationships in-person and providing resources and ongoing education to our members we can strengthen the web we are weaving together and increase our impact in the fight to end human trafficking.
Goal: Provide ongoing support and mentoring to survivors of human trafficking.
Objectives: Support the healing process of survivors and increase their success in pursuing their goals by providing direct services to survivors in transition through safe housing and then ongoing mentoring as they transition out of housing as well. Have a network of mentors trained in trauma informed care to accompany and support survivors as they heal and pursue their goals.
Immediate Charitable Response
Funds donated to USCSAHT for these projects will be used by our working groups under the supervision of our Executive Director to increase the impact of our educational programs, materials, and direct support to survivors.
A strong network of services and resources to inform the public about human trafficking, prevent the crime, and support survivors in achieving a fulfilling life.