Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sisters for Sisters

Every few months, we Benedictine sisters come together for a community meeting. This month, we heard an unforgettable presentation on human sex trafficking, the oppressive, violent crime against women and girls who are literally bought and sold -- some as young as age 12 -- into sexual slavery. Sex trafficking, according to Noelle Volin, Public Policy Manager and Staff Attorney for the Minneapolis-based organization, Breaking Free is the “fastest growing black market crime on the planet, second only to drug dealing” and generating upwards of $32 Billion dollars per year (U.N. statistic). Attorney Volin told us heart-breaking stories of the clients she sees coming through their doors. What alarmed us, and surprised us, to say nothing of what shamed us and angered us, is the fact that, according to the FBI, Minnesota ranks as one of the top 13 states in the nation for highest incidence of recruitment of minors.
Just an hour after hearing these harrowing facts, our Benedictines for Peace (BFP) group met to see if we could help. We Benedictines for Peace recognize our mission as a call to be peacemakers, healers, transformers of ourselves and our society by our prayer and action. And so we examined how we might be a source of information on this issue, how to create a safe place for our students and other women who may be broken and defenseless in the face of their own experience with this violent oppression.

We wish to support Breaking Free in whatever manner we are able, for it is in great need of funds, as well as in need of knowledgeable and sensitive volunteers who can “spot” the potential victim-become-prostitute! Attorney Volin told us: “100% of our clients are someone’s daughter, sister, and/or mother.” This criminal trafficking has been going on forever, it seems, but is worsening now! We invite you, our readers, to join Benedictines for Peace and help “Breaking Free” in whatever way you can. Perhaps a good way to begin is by informing yourself through these excellent resources: nvolin@breakingfree.net or www.breakingfree.net .

Sisters need to help sisters! There are presently 27 million enslaved humans worldwide (U.N.); 80% are females and of these, 50% are our children. If knowledge is power –and we believe that it is—then let us learn about this 21st Century form of slavery, which is often invisible and chameleon-like in its operation, though not in its effects upon unsuspecting youth. Let us lead by holding out our hands to our sisters-in-distress, sisters who want to break free!

Renee Domeier, OSB

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