Passing the Torch

Hello. My name is Sister Judy. I am a Sister of Divine Providence and it is my privilege to continue the Justice for Life blog, so well begun by Pat Serafini. I want to take this moment to express the community’s appreciation to Pat for making the Justice for Life blog what it is. 

For starters, I am going to post the entries that Pat left as drafts because I don’t want this good information to go to waste. I would also like to mention that the blog will also be expanding. While Justice for Life has been primarily focused on human trafficking, we would like to now include some other issues related to our community’s commitment to a consistent ethic of life. These are: gun control, fair trade, and immigration. 

The latest news about children crossing the border is shocking, not just because desperate people are sending children across the border, but because people are protesting their presence while they are being transported by the border patrol:

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-murrieta-immigrants-20140702-story.html

On the subject of human trafficking, Pat left us an important piece on  the responsibilities of the U.S. government:

For the past 14 years, the U.S. State Department has used its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report to judge how well the world is addressing modern slavery. The TIP report has given America a top Tier 1 ranking since the State Department began reporting on U.S. progress in 2010.

If we take a hard look at what the U.S. government is doing to fight domestic slavery – with resources that dwarf so many of the governments we critique each year – the honest conclusion is that it can and should do so much better.

The U.S. State Department estimates that as many as 17,500 men, women and children are trafficked into the United States each year. Each year, thousands of men, women and children pay foreign labor recruiters for the promise of a good job in the United States, only to be trafficked into the sex trade or forced to work for little or no wages in farm fields, as domestic servants or childcare providers, in hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Despite knowledge of this trafficking, Congress has failed to pass legislation that would oversee foreign labor contractors and ban recruitment fees that often force workers into conditions of debt bondage or modern slavery.

Too many child trafficking victims end up arrested and jailed or sent to juvenile detention instead of receiving necessary and deserved support services. Too few states have effective Safe Harbor laws that prevent minor victims of sex trafficking from being prosecuted for prostitution and require placement in specialized programs for trafficked youth.

We also know that every year, the number of trafficking survivors seeking emergency and long-term support is increasing. Nonetheless, funding for trafficking victims services remained stagnant for a decade, until just this year.

The U.S. child welfare system, charged with providing for America’s most vulnerable children, fails to protect youth from falling prey to traffickers. Dismayingly, research shows that the majority of identified child trafficking victims already had contact, often multiple times, with the “the system”.

The safety net for our most vulnerable children has gaping holes, and boys and girls are falling through them at alarming rates.

With failures like this, the TIP Report should spur us in America to look long and hard at our Tier 1 ranking, and consider what the U.S. should be doing to deserve it moving forward.

President Obama and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have spoken out about the horrors of human trafficking.

Evidence of their true commitment will be reflected in strong policies that provide more guidance, resources and training for state welfare agencies; prevent fraudulent labor recruitment; stop the criminalization of trafficking victims and ensure all trafficking survivors receive adequate services and support.

All of this will cost money. Perhaps our greatest failure is not investing in proven solutions that will stop a global industry that generates $150 billion in annual profits by creating and capitalizing on one of the greatest human rights violation of our time.

Learn more at Melysa Sperber’s CNN Freedom Project article: Opinion: US Must Practice What It Preaches As It Judges Others On Human Trafficking.

Source: Cable News Network, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

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One thought on “Passing the Torch

  1. Sister Judy,

    It was a privilege and blessing to have started the Justice For Life blog for the Sisters of Divine Providence. That blessing grows in knowing that the blog continues, in its rightly expanded role, to help create a world of compassion, justice and peace. I look forward to your future posts.

    Pat Serafini

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