Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Wednesday, May 4, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mt Angel Towers 8.13

Home : News : Nation and World
Helping victims of trafficking a calling for women Religious, others
Catholic News Service photo
A woman's hands are pictured in this photo illustration depicting the effects of human trafficking. Women religious are joining with members of local communities in efforts to to combat exploitation of young girls being trafficked and
Catholic News Service photo
A woman's hands are pictured in this photo illustration depicting the effects of human trafficking. Women religious are joining with members of local communities in efforts to to combat exploitation of young girls being trafficked and "to help heal the wounded."
Catholic News Service


ST. LOUIS — At 15 years old, she lived in a loving household, home-schooled by her family. Young and curious, she decided to study abroad.

With her parents, she did some research and found a program. When she arrived at her destination, she quickly discovered she had been lured into a sex trafficking ring. Her father eventually flew overseas to rescue her.

Sex trafficking remains a scary reality, overseas and domestically. In the United States, sex trafficking is big business, generating an estimated $9.5 billion a year, according to the United Nations.

In the Catholic Church, women religious have come to the forefront in the efforts to stop trafficking and bring healing to victims.

Sister Gladys Leigh is among them. A Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 42 years, Sister Gladys has spent much time working with the poor and oppressed in her native Peru. When she moved to St. Louis 20 years ago, she worked as a doula and a massage therapist.

Now she's transitioning into a new phase of her life as "Grandma Laly," a volunteer grandmother figure for the Covering House in St. Louis, a new St. Louis-based organization that provides refuge and healing for girls who have become victims of sex trafficking.

Sister Gladys has been preparing for her role since she learned about the issue of sex trafficking when she and 900 Sisters of St. Joseph met in St. Louis for the community's U.S. federation meeting in 2011.

Being from Peru, "I thought it only happened in poor countries," she told the St. Louis Review, the archdiocesan newspaper. "But it's happening here immensely. I thought, 'That's the kind of ministry I am called to do.'"

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in this country, and the average age of a child victim entering prostitution is13 to 14. However, sex trafficking does not discriminate against age -- young girls, teens, adult women and even some males are among the many faces of trafficking victims -- and statistics can be difficult to compile, given the complexity of the situation, victim advocates have said.

St. Louis has become a prime area for sex trafficking, primarily because of the growing online marketplace for the sex trade as well as easy access to interstate highways and its position as a hub for large-scale conventions and sporting activities.

The Department of Justice has identified St. Louis among the top 20 human trafficking jurisdictions in the country.

Anna Sandidge, justice coordinator with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, explained that religious communities, many of whom have spent their lives working with vulnerable and marginalized people, seek to have a role in community outreach efforts to stop trafficking and to restore the human

dignity of those who have become victims.

For the Sisters of St. Joseph, the issue traces back to the sisters' founding charism of "serving the dear neighbor without distinction," said Sandidge. "In the constitution of our founding we were charged by Father Jean Pierre Medaille to serve the women of the street. This really is an anchor to our founding."

As part of her job at Nix Conference and Meeting Management, Kimberly Ritter works with corporations, religious groups and other organizations to plan conferences.

The company contracts with hundreds of hotels every year to organize these conferences. In 2008, the Sisters of St. Joseph approached Ritter about organizing its U.S. federation meeting at the Millennium Hotel Downtown. That's when Ritter, a senior account manager, first learned more about sex trafficking.

She and the company's principals, Jane Quinn and Molly Hackett, had daughters who at the time were about 12 and 13, around the average age  for a child sex trafficking victim in the United States. Ritter learned how sex trafficking victims were likely being sold out of the very hotels that they often worked with in organizing conferences.

As mothers and professional businesswomen, "that was something we couldn't stand for," Ritter said.

Nix worked with the sisters to get the Millennium Hotel to sign the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.

Developed by an international nongovernmental organization called End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking Children for Sexual Purposes, the code has been implemented by many tour operators, hotels, travel agents and others worldwide.

It calls participating companies to commit to establish an ethics policy regarding commercial exploitation of children, train personnel, introduce clauses in contracts with suppliers stating repudiation of commercial sexploitation and provide information to travelers and local "key persons" at destinations.

Ritter said Nix realized it could do the same with the hotels it works with. And the company's efforts took another twist -- as Ritter researched sex trafficking, she discovered that with her knowledge of the hotel industry, she could assist law enforcement in its efforts to rescue girls.

"We found that girls are sold on a page called Backpage.com -- it's kind of like Craigslist," said Ritter. "We would be able to look at these girls' photos and figure out what hotels they were being sold out of."

In 2013, the Nix company formed the Exchange Initiative to provide resources, information and networking opportunities to combat sex trafficking in the United States. As part of the effort, Ritter said, a website is being developed where the public can share photos of hotel rooms to assist law enforcement rescue victims of sex trafficking.

She said the Exchange Initiative was formed through the influence of women religious.

"These women have compassion and love for all human beings," she said.

Other religious communities involved in fighting trafficking include the Daughters of Charity; Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and the Incarnate Word Foundation, and the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Investment Services.

"I am thankful they took this on as an issue -- it ended up being my calling in my life to work to fight this with them."





Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
 
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search













Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved