As the year 2020 dawns, we begin a new decade. Unfortunately, it is yet another decade in which one of the world’s most heinous and destructive crimes—human trafficking—continues to flourish in our world.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and one of the injustices that the Maryknoll Sisters are most passionate about. Several of our Sisters on mission in developing countries are working to stop it, and to help the victims who have had their lives poisoned by it.
We would like to tell you about two Maryknoll Sisters who are fighting this evil in different ways—one by working to prevent it, and one by helping those victimized by it.
Sister Helene O’Sullivan, M.M. serves in Cambodia. Through the Horizons Vocational Training Institute, which she helped found, she works to help girls and women rescued from human trafficking make new lives for themselves by teaching them job skills “The girls usually come to us at 15 or 16 years old and stay with us for three years,” says Sister Helene. “They study grades 7, 8 and 9 in a special six-month program… then they study computers, English and general knowledge for six more months before entering hotel school.” The young women who graduate are placed in jobs at hotels working front office, housekeeping, cooking, etc.
Sister Doreen Longres, M.M. has been serving in Peru for 50 years. She is part of a network that works to educate people about the tricks and tactics used by human traffickers. One of the best ways to fight these predators is to teach people how to be wary of them. “We give talks, especially on how kids and young women get caught. The lure of a new cell phone, of better shoes, of some clothes… also, a big way is the internet.
The victims of human trafficking are usually the most vulnerable members of the population, and often have no one to help them, advocate for them, or pray for them.
YOUR support can help us make this new decade the one in which the world finally puts an end to the horror of human trafficking.