For Immediate Release

May 21, 2009

Leadership Conference of Women Religious Boston Unit


Contact: Joanne Gallagher, CSJ, Director of Communications, Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston

617.746.2110 joanne.gallagher@csjboston.org

Boston Area Religious Women Leaders Speak Out against Human Trafficking

Boston: Human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery, is becoming as common as the sale of illegal drugs and weapons. Human trafficking is such a hidden crime it is difficult to know exactly how many cases of human trafficking arise in Massachusetts. 

As a global institution, the Catholic Church, has denounced this horrific crime because it constitutes an offense against human dignity and fundamental human rights. Pentecost is considered the birthday of the church. On the first Pentecost the Holy Spirit enflamed the hearts of the apostles to go to every corner of the earth with the message of Jesus. In this spirit, the Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious has set aside Sunday, May 31, Pentecost 2009, as an opportunity to express solidarity with all who are working to put an end to human trafficking.

In particular, we express our support of Massachusetts , Senate Bill 58. The effects of this bill are far reaching. Among the benefits of this bill are the establishment of a Victims of Human Trafficking Trust Fund and a Human Trafficking Safe House, to provide emergency shelter for victims. The bill will also enhance sentencing guidelines for parties found guilty of trafficking and will require the court to provide restitution to victims. Additionally, the bill would establish an Anti-Trafficking Task Force led by the Office of the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Today women religious all over the world are addressing the crime of human trafficking. Our religious congregations have NGO representatives at the United Nations who address the issue at a global level. We women religious leaders in the greater Boston area are committed to speak out locally because we are human beings, because we are women, because we are women religious with a history of Catholic social teaching, and because we live and work in the Boston area where the trafficking trade is a real though hidden crime.

Women religious are well known in the greater Boston area as educators and health care professionals. The Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious [LCWR] includes sixteen Congregations representing over a thousand women religious in the greater Boston area.

We encourage all people of greater Boston to support Massachusetts Senate Bill 58 and be aware of how the passage of this bill will help victims and survivors of human trafficking. The reality of thousands of our brothers and sisters laboring in modern day slavery compels us to speak out today in an effort to let the people of Massachusetts know that they, too, can support this bill, serve the survivors of this crime, and stop human trafficking.

###

The Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious [LCWR] includes sixteen Congregations representing over a thousand women religious in the greater Boston area. Members of LCWR are Catholic women religious who are leaders of their orders in the United States. The conference has approximately 1500 members, who represent about 95 percent of the 67,000 women religious in the United States. The conference develops leadership, promotes collaboration within church and society, and serves as a voice for the systemic change called by the social justice teaching of the Catholic Church.