On Sunday, January 7, 2018, sisters, associates, and supporters gathered at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse to join in a prayer vigil to commemorate National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The vigil was coordinated by the Anti-Trafficking Coalition of the Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (ATC). The Coalition was founded in 2006 by the Boston Unit of LCWR, and held the first symposium in 2008. In the early years, the focus of the symposiums was held to educate religious women. Gradually, others who became interested in combatting human trafficking began to attend.
The Anti-Trafficking Coalition of the Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is committed to raising awareness and inspiring action that will stop the demand for human trafficking in our neighborhoods and our world.
The prayer vigil gave reference to survivors of human trafficking who have lived with sisters at Bakhita House. The mission of the Bakhita Community is to respond to the needs of survivors of human trafficking, both labor and commercial sexual exploitation.
St. John’s – St Paul’s Parish Collaborative highlighted the work of Bakhita House as part of their Lenten outreach program. Members of the Peace and Justice Committee spoke at Masses and provided information on trafficking in the weekly bulletin. As a result of their efforts, Bakhita House received a donation of $19,687.60 from parishioners of the St. John’s – St. Paul’s Collaborative. Bakhita Staff members are most grateful for their generosity.
Pictured below: Bakhita House Staff with members of the St. John – St. Paul Parish Collaborative in Wellesley.
Boston Area Catholic Sisters Host Ninth Annual Prayer Vigil for National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
In 2007, the U.S. Senate designated January 11th as a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness in an effort to raise consciousness about this global, national and local issue. For the ninth consecutive year, local Catholic Sisters representing congregations in the Greater Boston Area gathered with over 100 sisters, associates, and friends on January 8, the Sunday closest to January 11, to mark this national day and pray for an end to human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery.
A powerful part of the prayer vigil included the witness of two survivors of human trafficking who have lived with sisters at Bakhita House. Located in the Boston area, the mission of the Bakhita Community is to respond to the needs of survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. The prayer vigil offered these young women, whose voices had long been silenced, the opportunity to give voice to their experience. Their witness deeply moved all who listened.
Qatari couple fined for failing to pay live-in employee in Cambridge. Qatari Couple fined.
The young woman was brought to Bakhita House by FBI /Homeland Security for safety. They continued to work on her behalf to assist her in getting safe passage to her home in the Philippines and to assure that she received her back wages. Her story is very similar to women who have been labor trafficked. These women are called upon to cook and clean for the family, care for their children, which develops into an 18 hour work day, seven days a week. It is usual that their passports are taken ; they are allowed limited contact via cell phone with their families; their wages are not paid. Although the women have signed a contract with the family through a reputable agency, they have no recourse. The young women usually choose not to press charges against the family, because they care deeply for the children.
On November 18, 2015, the Peace and Social Justice Committees from St Mary of the Assumption, Dedham, St Susanna’s Church of Dedham, St Joseph’s Church of Needham and the Dedham, Walpole, and Waltham League of Women Voters presented a screening of the film. A Path Appears — A Documentary on Human Trafficking at Dedham Community Theater. The benefits from the film went to the Bakhita House. Sisters Mary Jane Cavallo, SNDdN, Sally McLaughlin, SC and Peggy Cummins, SNDdN gratefully accepted the check from some of the members of the planning group.
Boston Globe Article
Photos by: Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff
For some domestic workers, a life of isolated servitude
Toiling behind closed doors, domestic workers are vulnerable to wage theft, abuse, and in the worst cases, virtual slavery.
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