Human Trafficking

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.

 

The Sisters Program South drop-in center is a place where women can safely rest and receive crisis management, counseling, advocacy, and assistance connected to housing and other critical resources.

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 also welcome financial support and donations of needed 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!

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Anti-Human Trafficking Toolkit

Our community, along with other congregations of women religious in the upper Midwest, has developed a resource for parishes to raise awareness of the scope and immediate danger of human trafficking. The Anti-Human Trafficking Parish Toolkit includes videos, a Powerpoint presentation, lists of resources, and more, all designed to raise awareness and help parishes and parish human concerns committees to take cation. The kit was distributed to all Catholic parishes in Wisconsin, and we invite you to make use of the online resources to bring this helpful information to your congregation or community group.

Illinois Women Religious Against Human Trafficking

Our community partners with Illinois Women Religious Against Human Trafficking on education, advocacy, lobbying for legislation that supports victims and holds perpetrators accountable, and direct action like finding housing for victims and providing them with personal care items.

Truckers Against Trafficking

One of our community’s associates has been active in Truckers Against Trafficking, a national organization that trains hundreds of thousands of drivers and truck stop employees to recognize trafficking and to take action to help victims. The organization combats trafficking through speakers, social media, and industry-specific materials to spread the word to carriers, trucking schools, truck stops, manufacturers, and trucking associations.

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