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USCCB Director Testifies Before Congress on Human Trafficking
Nathalie Lummert, Director of Special Programs for USCCB/MRS, recently testified before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. Nathalie was one of just five individuals called to testify before Congress and provide written and oral testimony on trafficking. Here's what she said.
"MRS program looks to empower immigrants to combat human trafficking" -- Catholic News Service, January 24, 2013
"U.S. Bishops bring new weapon to human trafficking fight" -- National Catholic Register, January 28, 2013
The mission of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Anti-Trafficking Program (ATP) is to educate on
the scourge of human trafficking as an offense against fundamental dignity of
the human person; to advocate for an end to modern day slavery; and to provide
training and technical assistance on this issue.
Each year, an estimated 17,000 vulnerable men, women and children are trafficked across our borders and then forced into slavery. Many are fleeing terrible situations in their home countries, and come to the United States to find a better life. Unfortunately, the nightmare often begins when they reach our shores.
For over a decade, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been a national leader in advocacy and education to eradicate sex and labor trafficking. For six years, USCCB and our partners provided intensive case management services to victims of human trafficking, assisting more than 2,232 survivors of trafficking and over 500 of their family members. Currently, we are concentrating our efforts on training and technical assistance so that victims can be identified and brought into safety. Hopefully one day, we can eradicate the horrible crime of modern day slavery.
Dignity of Work: With HHS Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, ATP has launched the Dignity of Work program to provide employment services to a group of individuals who were not eligible for benefits previously. This program will serve individuals who are pre-certified or received certification when they were not ready for employment services, and missed out on vital assistance to help them re-enter the legitimate workforce. The Dignity of Work program currently operates in Los Angeles (CA), Venice (FL), New York (NY), Louisville (KY), Boston (MA), Hartford (CT), and Houston (TX). The Anti-Trafficking Program will be working with our network to provide employment services to individuals in these cities, and as they are identified around the country.The Amistad Movement: The Amistad Movement is a human trafficking education and awareness campaign for immigrant communities. Through its programming, USCCB has found that immigrants are more vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking because many work in industries that are poorly regulated, such as agricultural, domestic, hospitality, and service. The Anti-Trafficking Program staff trains individuals in these communities to conduct outreach and educate their peers on human trafficking and resources and services available for victims.
On this day, the USCCB encourages you to host or attend prayer services, to reflect on the experiences of those who have suffered through human trafficking and exploitation. You are invited to pray for the emotional, physical, and spiritual healing, and make a personal commitment to work against human trafficking. Catholics are also encouraged to host awareness-raising events educating their parishes and communities about human trafficking in whichever way they choose, be it a Mass, a film screening, or an information session. In the words of our committee chairman, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S.: "If just one person realizes from this day that they or someone they know is being trafficked, we will have made a difference."
If you are in the Washington, DC area please join us on Sunday, February 8, 2015 for a Special Mass at Noon in the Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Help us in our fight against human trafficking by making a contribution. If in New York, Florida, or the District of Columbia, donate online. If in another state, please go to the National Catholic Fund for Migration and Refugee Services.
Be Part of the Solution.
Learn More About Human Trafficking: Click to find out more about the issue of human trafficking and to learn about the Catholic Church's teaching on this subject.
Learn about our Become a Shepherd program.
Identify victims in your community and respond appropriately. Use our Red Flags and Screening Questions to Identify Victims and then Take Action.
Help us distribute posters and other resources in your community. For resources or to request technical assistance, training or consultancy services, contact Anti-Trafficking Services / 202.541.3357.
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