CRS’s Human Trafficking Campaign hosts first event

Catholic Relief Service's human trafficking campaign photo.  Photo by Catholic Relief Services University.

By Ellen Petersen, The Circuit.

Benedictine College is seeing its first ever Human Trafficking Campaign launched this spring semester as hosted by Catholic Relief Services.

President of the CRS Benedictine chapter Hannah Voss and her team hosted the Campaign’s first event Jan. 31.

Students attending watched the film End It which provided an insight into the lives of three separate human trafficking victims, all of whom experienced a very different type of abuse.

“I had held [the misconception]…that human trafficking always leads to sex work,” Voss said, reflecting on her work before CRS.  “It is a big component, but there is also a large part of human trafficking that involves other labor. It entails more than just sex work.”

Junior Mary Allard attended the campaign’s first event and shared her own reaction.

“The sad thing is that we all expected it- no one in the room was shocked,” Allard said.  “That is a testament to how much of an issue this is.  There are different types of slavery that hit you- it isn’t isolated.”

Voss said this is exactly the type of stigma she is looking to break during this spring’s Human Trafficking Campaign.

“I really want people to just know a little more,” Voss said.  “We underestimate this, but having one little detail of your worldview change or open up allows you to engage other people.  That little bit can spread. You as an individual have the ability to help someone.”

After the movie, students attending were given the opportunity to write letters to their congressman as a call for action.  Voss stressed that this was not only a humanitarian issue, but political and economical as well.

“Buying things that are ethically produced, used, or are fair trade, ensure that we are supporting [good] practices,” she said.  “Unless we create that market demand, we are supporting human trafficking. If we make it more commercially advantageous for companies to produce things ethically, then that is a big way we can cut down.”

Voss explained that the campaign as a whole is aimed at highlighting the faces of those 27 million victims and recognizing the ways in which our everyday practices contribute to the problem.

“The campaign’s motto is ‘I am the cause, I am the solution,’” said Voss.  “It ties in our solidarity as individuals and our roles.”

The Human Trafficking Campaign will be hosting events throughout the rest of the semester including a solidarity vigil and a lecture given by trafficking abolitionist Dr. Shalina Stilley.

Contact Hannah Voss for more details.