Human trafficking is one of the greatest injustices in the world, and one that Maryknoll Sisters work hard against wherever they serve. It’s hard to believe in the 21st century… but tens of millions of people live in slavery today, and the large majority of them are women. This is largely due to sexual trafficking, in which girls and women are forced into prostitution or involuntary marriage.
Sister Helene O’Sullivan, M.M. has been serving in the southeast Asian nation of Cambodia since 2004. Her primary ministry there has been fighting against the high levels of human trafficking and sexual slavery, and helping girls and women rescued from that nightmare to build new lives for themselves.
Sister Helene was instrumental in setting up the Horizons Vocational Training Institute, which provides those rescued from trafficking with the education and job training they need. With your help, they can leave the past behind and move into a bright future.
“Cambodia is a rapidly developing country…economically, socially, politically and culturally,” Sister Helene says. “These young women have the opportunity to develop their lives along with it. What they need is access to basic education, quality skills training, and dignified employment with a living wage.” The women at Horizons receive room and board in the hostel while studying and completing their basic education through grade 9. They are then given intensive training in the hospitality industry. They can study to be front office workers or receptionists, cooks or waitstaff, or housekeeping staff.
Graduates receive job placement at upscale hotels, are helped to find housing outside the hostel and are given supplies (including a bicycle) to get them through until they begin to receive their salary.
With your help, Sister Helene and her colleagues can see that this opportunity is not taken away from the women whose lives literally depend on it.
It has thus far been a great success. “Last December, there was a competition at the hotel service school to find out who was best in several categories,” Sister Helene reports. “Horizons students took first, second and third place in Food & Beverage and second and third place in Front Office. What an honor for them and for Horizons!” Employers at hotels and restaurants in Cambodia have come to learn that Horizons graduates are capable workers and smart hires.
The gift you make today will help more women escape the chains of modern-day slavery and put them on the path to new lives they never dreamed they could have. You will bless them, and they… and God… will bless you!