Many of us are aware that the FBI ranked Minnesota 13th in the nation for highest incidence of human sex trafficking. And many of us have read stories of the Oil Patch in our neighboring state of North Dakota. But perhaps few of us know this fact: there are more people in slavery today than at any other time in history. How can this be possible? Because of the global scourge of human trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation and/or commercial gain. Global human slavery takes many forms, but always involves force, fraud and coercion. Examples of global trafficking include sexual exploitation, forced labor in such areas as manufacturing, entertainment, mining and farming, domestic servitude in private homes, the illegal sale of human organs, child labor and forced marriages. Despite the fact that international law and the laws of 134 countries criminalize human trafficking, it is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. Pope Francis has called for an INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER AND AWARENESS against GLOBAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING. The United States observes this day on February 8, 2015. The Sisters of Saint Benedict will observe a day of awareness and prayer on February 7. Pope Francis pleads with us not to be indifferent to the plight of the 20 million adults and children who are bought and sold worldwide. Wherever you are, please join our monastic community in prayerful solidarity with the victims of human trafficking, and with all who work tirelessly to end this global scourge
Kathryn Casper, OSB
Note: The Sisters are observing the Day of Prayer on February 7 because we have our Open House scheduled for February 8. This is the date which Pope Francis suggested monasteries and religious houses all over the world should consider hosting an Open House.