By Christine Vincent
Associate Director, Human Dignity and Life
In these weeks and days leading up to the Super Bowl, a spotlight is being focused on Human Trafficking. However, the reality of human trafficking existed in our diocese and the wider Bay Area before we were chosen as a host city and will continue to exist in our county after the excitement of the Super Bowl has faded and disappeared. California has one of the highest numbers of reported cases or victims of human trafficking in the country.
What is Human Trafficking? Human trafficking is modern-day slavery in which a person is not free to leave a situation where they are being exploited for their labor or sexually for commercial gain. Every day men, women and children of varying ages and levels of education by means of threat, force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, or abuse of power are compelled into domestic service, sex work, forced prostitution, marriage, factories, begging, agriculture, criminal activity, restaurant work, construction, hotel/motel housekeeping, as well as organ sales. Migrants, refugees and children are among the most vulnerable groups for becoming victims of human trafficking.
As Catholics, we recognize the dignity and infinite worth of each and every human being. We are called to act when faced with injustice. Each of us has a responsibility to reach out in mercy and love to bring an end to this evil.
7 Ways to Help end Human Trafficking in our Diocese:
- Pray – for the victims, those who work with victims as well as the traffickers
- Learn and Share – learn the Red Flags of human trafficking at the following website www.notraffickahead.org and share what you learn with others.
- Observe, Identify and Report – after learning the red flags of human trafficking be observant. Do not be afraid to reach out to Polaris, the national human trafficking resource center, to report suspicious activity 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733 (BEFREE) or the San Jose Police Dept. Human Trafficking Task Force 408-537-1999.
- Become a Responsible Consumer – follow the footprints of the items you buy everything from clothes to coffee and tuna. Check out “Made in a Free World” www.slaveryfootprint.org.
- Volunteer – join the Catholic Network to End Human Trafficking, email CNEHT@dsj.org. Sign up at www.notraffickahead.org to join in on going local volunteer opportunities.
- Financially Support – donate to organizations working to end human trafficking. For a listing of agencies and organizations the diocese works with please contact Christine Vincent email@example.com.
- Stop the Demand – if trafficked persons are the supply, the desire for cheap commercial sex and labor is the demand.
The upcoming Super Bowl provides an opportunity to shine light on a tragedy that exists in our diocese and the wider Bay Area, a tragedy that will still exist in the days and weeks after the fans and players have returned to their homes. Do not let the light fade. Continue to expose the darkness of Human Trafficking in our world so it may be eradicated. Saint Josephine Bakhita pray for us!
For more information contact Christine Vincent at firstname.lastname@example.org.