Symposium hopes to raise awareness of human trafficking

BOSTON -- A symposium organized by the Boston unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will explore the human face of trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery.

The April 5 event that will take place at the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, hopes to raise participant’s awareness of global, U.S. and local anti-trafficking efforts, share personal stories of Boston area advocacy efforts to assist trafficking victims, and assist participants in determining concrete action to continue to raise awareness and work to eradicate human trafficking.

According to the news release announcing the event, “an estimated 850,000 people are trafficked annually worldwide, according to the U.S. State Department, 20,000 of them into the United States. Human trafficking forces men, women, and children into pornography, prostitution and other sexual exploitation, as well as labor exploitation.”

In 1998, the realization that trafficking was a growing problem around the world--and that it was being largely unaddressed -- led to the formation of a broad-based coalition of women’s organizations, faith-based groups, children’s groups, labor groups, and health groups.

Together, the coalition drafted and helped pass the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. The law provides a comprehensive approach to elimination of trafficking in persons through a three-pronged strategy --prevention, prosecution, and protection.

In 2003 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services began educating segments of the public about the horrors of human trafficking.