Human trafficking is the exploitation of persons for commercial sex or forced labor without the victims’ ability to leave the situation. Traffickers often use force, fraud, or coercion to control their victims in this modern-day form of slavery.
The U.S. Justice Department estimates that nearly 20,000 persons are trafficked each year in the United States, and that 600,000-800,000 persons are trafficked across international borders each year. Around the world, an estimated 30 million people are victims of slavery today.
Our community is actively engaged in the fight to end human trafficking and to aid those who are victimized. In particular, we have been actively engaged with other communities of women religious, and with other partner organizations, in
- Counseling and providing other assistance to women who are victims of sex trafficking on Milwaukee’s south side
- Developing resources to increase understanding of human trafficking in Wisconsin’s Catholic parishes
- Offering educational workshops to raise neighborhood awareness and initiate conversation and action
Our congregation is a founding member of the Sisters Program South initiative, which is helping women in street prostitution on Milwaukee’s south side find hope and lead healthier, safer lives. In 2017, the Benedict Center and our partner organizations formalized a prostitution diversion program that provides a public health-based approach to help women victimized by sex trafficking instead of criminalizing them.
Street outreach activities to women victimized by prostitution; a drop-in center for crisis stabilization, case management, and safety planning; and a 24-hour winter warming center are made possible by a grant from the Catholic Community Foundation, and donations from other generous supporters.
The Milwaukee Police Department, District Attorney’s Office, and the Medical College of Wisconsin all play key roles in the success of this initiative, which in its first months served more than 160 women making more than 560 visits.
Help us build on our success by becoming an advocate for women in danger. Contact Sisters Program South at 414-346-4406 to learn about booking a speaker for your organization, church, or community group. We welcome financial support and donations of supplies such as clothing and hygiene products.
Partners in Advocacy
Our sisters and associates are involved in grassroots organizations working to stop exploitation, rescue and assist victims, and advocate for legislative and judicial remedies to end human trafficking. We invite you to learn more about their work and join us as you feel called!