Brighton prayer vigil marks Human Trafficking Awareness Day

BRIGHTON -- Local Catholic Sisters representing sixteen congregations in the Greater Boston area hosted a gathering Jan. 10 to commemorate the third annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Over 130 sisters, associates, co-workers, friends, and family joined in a prayer vigil for an end to the evil of modern-day slavery.

A resolution passed by the U.S. Senate on June 22, 2007, marked Jan. 11 as a day of awareness and vigilance for victims of Human Trafficking across the globe and President Barak Obama proclaimed January 2010 as national Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In June 2009 Pope Benedict XVI lauded the commitment made by women religious to put a stop to human trafficking and rebuild the lives of those victimized by this phenomenon.

Sister Ann Regan, SC, took part in the Jan. 10 prayer vigil because, “we hear so much about trafficking. This is an opportunity to stand up as people who oppose trafficking abuse.”

Sister Mary Ann Connolly, SC, said that, “it is important to stand together as one against this tragedy.”

Also joining in the prayer vigil were Linda Coletti of Medford, and Connie Pagan of Framingham. Coletti is State Regent and Pagan is First Vice Regent of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.

Coletti explained, “Not only because it involves women but because through our pro-life activities we support all kinds of issues about the sanctity of life, our membership has picked up the issue of trafficking at the national level.”

Pagan is grateful for the sisters who have spoken about human trafficking with the Massachusetts Catholic Daughters, “We’ve learned a lot about human trafficking. It’s in our neighborhoods. Learning about this was an eye-opener for all of us.”

The prayer vigil, coordinated by the Anti-Trafficking Coalition of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) -- Boston Unit, was one of a number of events sponsored by the coalition over the past several years.

The goal of the Anti-Trafficking Coalition ATC is to raise awareness of the reality of human trafficking both locally and globally and to alert concerned people of good will about how individuals can make a difference in eradicating human trafficking.

Roman Catholic women religious have been key leaders in the national and international movement to stop human trafficking. In the past two years the Boston area ATC has sponsored two symposia attended by well over 200 participants wanting to be part of the initiative to end this crime against humanity. Another symposium addressing the issue of human trafficking is planned for April 24, 2010.