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Report to MIA Working Group on Human Trafficking, April 2018 (Americas)

May 1, 2018

 I continue education and advocacy efforts within and beyond the Mercy Community, using an issue-specific e-list and our community’s internal electronic newsletter. There are close to 300 people on my e-list, representing Mercy community members and associates, ministry colleagues, other religious communities, laypersons, students, etc. It is an inclusive list.

Besides me, there are five other West Midwest Mercy Sisters in the western half of the U.S. who are addressing human trafficking through education, advocacy and direct services. Audiences include but are not limited to: students, faculty, staff, health care professionals, hotel management and staff, women religious, members of faith communities/parishes/congregations , colleagues and partners in ministry. We all belong to coalitions and work in partnership and collaboration with others. One sister is active on two state-wide human trafficking task forces and another, on one. I am a member of a county health department task force. As a result of this, I participated in a day-long “Day of Hope” sponsored by the health department for families in need. 1,900 families participated. We emphasized the role of social media in human trafficking since all these families had children who could be at risk through media. I am also a member of the U.S. District Attorney’s Office of Western Missouri’s Coalition against Human Trafficking.

Another member of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking and I are coordinating an exhibit at the August Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) Annual Assembly. Conference participants are leadership team members of women religious communities in the U.S.

I continue to provide referrals and serve as a consultant to groups, coalitions, organizations and individuals; and I participate in webinars and conference calls provided by colleagues and partners. The first of May, I will be “face timing” with students from Mercy High School in Merion, Pennsylvania. I recently did a daylong presentation with a collaborative novitiate group whose members include women and men whose countries of origin are outside the U.S. as well as several from the U.S. I also represent both Mercy and the USCSAHT at the state level, especially for the annual human trafficking day for state legislators and their staffs.
I continue to serve as board member and Mercy representative to the U.S. Catholic Sisters against Human Trafficking, now a not for profit coalition whose membership consists of women religious from many communities or congregations as well as laypersons and collaborators. We have several working groups. I facilitate our educational resources working group and am a member of our legislative advocacy group. We have an annual board meeting and work groups meet by regular conference calls.

Messages to: Jeanne Christensen rsm (Americas)