Friday, May 31, 2013

Trafficking and the Super Bowl: New Jersey Responds

The New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking and ECPAT USA are holding a training to help mobilize the local hospitality industry to fight trafficking in light of Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  The training will be held on June 14, 2013 from 10 am until 1 pm in Whippany, NJ.  Click here for more information.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Global Holy Hour

On Sunday, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), Pope Francis will lead a global Holy Hour at 5:00 pm (Rome time).  The intentions proposed by the Pope during this Holy Hour are:  1) For the Church; and 2) For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running and slave labor.  Click here for an article that gives more information.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sudan: Food Crisis and Aerial Bombings

From May 22, 2013 NCR:  "Bishop, Doctor say Sudan Food Crisis Provoked by Aerial Bombing" by Tom Gallagher

An excerpt:

The people of the Nuba Mountains, a disputed region in Sudan that shares a border and ethnic ties with South Sudan, are starving. They have no food and the armed conflict that has prevented them from growing their own is stymieing relief efforts.

A Catholic bishop and Catholic medical missioner visited the United States earlier this year to speak for the Nuba people and seek an international intervention to halt the aerial bombings, to open roads to allow food relief to be brought in, and to require the parties in conflict to sit down and negotiate a lasting peace.

Click here to continue reading.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Part 2 of Update

Partnership for Global Justice May 2013 update (continued):
On July 15, the UN will hold a Civil Society Day on Migration in preparation for the High Level Meeting in October.  Here in the United States we are engaged in advocacy around immigration reform.  The Partnership shares with you some facts regarding migration globally (taken from  References listed there.)
Facts and Figures
Global Estimates and Trends
214 million
Estimated number of international migrants worldwide1
The total number of international migrants has increased over the last 10 years from an estimated 150 million in 20002 to 214 million3 persons today.
Percentage of the world's population who are migrants4
  • In other words, one of out of every 33 persons in the world today is a migrant (whereas in 2000 one out of every 35 persons was a migrant).
  • The percentage of migrants has remained relatively stable as a share of the total population, increasing by only 0.2 per cent (from 2.9 to 3.1 per cent), over the last decade.5
  • However, the percentage of migrants varies greatly from country to country. Countries with a high percentage of migrants include Qatar (87 per cent), United Arab Emirates (70 per cent), Jordan (46 per cent), Singapore (41 per cent), and Saudi Arabia (28 per cent).6
  • Countries with a low percentage of migrants include South Africa (3.7 per cent), Slovakia (2.4 per cent), Turkey (1.9 per cent), Japan (1.7 per cent), Nigeria (0.7 per cent), Romania (0.6 per cent), India (0.4 per cent) and Indonesia (0.1 per cent).7
Migrants would constitute the fifth most populous country in the world8
  • Migration is now more widely distributed across more countries. Today the top 10 countries of destination receive a smaller share of all migrants than in 2000.
Percentage of migrants worldwide who are women9
$440 billion
Estimated remittances sent by migrants in 201010
  • Remittances have increased exponentially: up from USD 132 billion in 2000 to an estimated USD 440 billion in 2010, even with a slight decline due to the current economic crisis.11
  • The actual amount, including unrecorded flows through formal and informal channels, is believed to be significantly larger.12
  • In 2010, the top recipient countries of recorded remittances were India, China, Mexico, the Philippines, and France.13
  • Rich countries are the main source of remittances. The United States is by far the largest, with USD 48.3 billion in recorded outward flows in 2009. Saudi Arabia ranks as the second largest, followed by Switzerland and Russia.14
$325 billion
Estimated remittances sent by migrants to developing countries in 2010 15
27.5 million
Internally displaced persons in the world in 201016
  • IDP numbers have grown from 21 million in 2000 to 27.5 million at the end of 2010.17
15.4 million
Number of refugees in the world today 18
  • Based on data from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of refugees stood at 15.4 million in 2010 compared to 15.9 million in 2000 – a decline of around 500,000. However, due to a change in classification and estimation methodology in a number of countries, figures as from 2007 are not fully comparable with pre-2007 figures.19
  • The proportion of refugees in migrant stocks has fallen from 8.8 per cent in 2000 to 7.6 per cent in 2010.20


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma City: How to Help

We are moved by the tragedies caused by the tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area, especially in Moore.  Click here should you wish to donate to tornado relief through Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.  As always, continue to pray for those affected by this tornado.

Partnership for Global Justice Update

The May 2013 update from Partnership for Global Justice:

May 13, 14, 2013: 

UN High Level Meeting on Human Trafficking

Countries met to assess progress in implementing the Global plan of Action in Combating Human Trafficking.  The Partnership plays an active role in the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking and we are grateful to all of you who support efforts in your area and nationally and globally.

Some highlights of the meeting:

·       Human Trafficking is an estimated $32 billion industry, trapping 2.4 million into forced labor, domestic servitude, sexual work and as child soldiers.

·       154 member states out of 193 have ratified the protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.  16 percent of countries have never recorded a conviction for trafficking.  Rates in the world for conviction remain very low.

·       Ban Ki -moon:  “Human Trafficking is a vicious chain that binds victims to criminals.  We must break this chain with force of human solidarity.  We must listen to victims.”

·       Number of countries that have proper legislation to combat human trafficking increased to 83 per cent from 60 percent.  Number of countries in Africa and Middle East with anti-human trafficking legislation has doubled in last three years.

·       Between 2006-2009 the number of detectable cases for human trafficking for forced labor doubled from 18 to 36 per cent.  Joint operations are needed across borders and national strategies must be linked to regional and international approaches

·       27 percent of all trafficking incidents involved children with the majority in Africa, forced into slave labor, exploited in sweatshops, bought and sold for sex or organ harvesting.

·       Need to enhance cooperation between origin and destination.  Urgent need to complement supply side prevention with greater efforts to curb demand.

·       Immigration policies and lack of adequate capacity to deal effectively with immigration could compound the effects of human trafficking.  Public policies should focus not only on enforcement actions but also on prevention and providing aid to victims.

·       Implementation gaps remain in domestic, regional and international cooperation.  As long as economic disparities and poverty persist, people would continue to travel in search of a better life.

·       Criminalizing human trafficking is a priority as well as protecting victims.  All those along the trafficking chain must be held accountable.

·       Victims must be included in development of methods and actions addressing their situations, otherwise advocacy action not sustainable.  Funding is needed for groups to work at grass roots level.

·       Will governments work to fully implement the Global Plan of Action and “break the cycle” by truly focusing on prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership?

·       Will member States, philanthropic organizations and the private sector increase their support for the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons?

·       “We cannot let this period be remembered as one in which the global community knew but did not act.”  (Ali Treki past president of the General Assembly)

We  must continue to advocate for concrete implementation of the Global Plan locally, nationally and internationally. To date much work has been done on the “supply” side of trafficking and addressing root causes such as poverty.  There is a growing recognition that the real “root cause” lies in demand.  What can we do to curtail demand here in our own country?



Monday, May 20, 2013

What is it to you?

In a reflection-provoking homily on Saturday, Pope Francis focused on the role that "the temptation to interfere" plays in our lives.  Through misinformation, defamation and slander, we use our words in ways that tear down instead of building up.  Click here to read an article about this homily.

We include this in a blog whose theme is social justice because we so often look toward the big picture (such as global war and peace) without claiming our individual responsibility in acts that bring discord instead of peace.  When we tear others down by speaking untruths to them or about them to others -- whether via word of mouth, e-mail or otherwise --  we should hear Jesus say "What is it to you?  Follow me."    The only way peace can prevail in the world is if it prevails within individuals.  "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost: Agents of Harmony in a Broken World

Archbishop Joseph Harris (Port of Spain) has shared his Pentecost homily here.  An excerpt:  "The Feast of Pentecost calls us to be bearers of God's Spirit so that we be agents of harmony in our broken and divided world.  We are called to ask incessantly for God's Spirit, for our homes, our organizations, our country and our world.  If we are truly people of faith, then we ask for God's Spirit always.  It is only with God's Spirit that the harmony which God wants for the world will be brought about."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Protect Programs, End Sequestration

A message from LCWR and USCCB:
Protect Programs, End Sequestration
Over two years ago, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops joined with over 65 other Christian denominations and organizations to form the Circle of Protection, an unprecedented ecumenical coalition dedicated to protecting federal budget programs that help people and families at home and abroad to escape poverty and live in a manner worthy of their human dignity.
Sequestration threatens many of the programs that Catholic organizations rely on to provide vital services to communities in need. In response, close to 100 Christian leaders, including three Catholic bishops and heads of over a dozen other Catholic organizations, signed an open letter to the President and Congressional leaders regarding the federal budget and asking that a "circle of protection" be put around programs that assist poor and hungry people.
The President and Congress now need to hear from other clergy and religious from throughout the country. Go here to read the letter and voice your support for poor and vulnerable people by signing on. After signing, you will be prompted to send a letter to your senators and representative using the USCCB legislative action center. To date, over 5,000 religious leaders have sent this letter to their Senators and Representatives. Please join them.
The Circle's advocacy has been instrumental in limiting cuts to some effective programs that serve poor people. Mandatory programs like SNAP (food stamps) and child nutrition programs, low-income working tax credits, Medicaid and children's health insurance, and Social Security have been spared every time a bill is passed to reduce the deficit. With 46 million people living in poverty in this country, our advocacy must continue.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 2013 Issue of Stop Trafficking

Click here to link to the May 2013 issue of Stop Trafficking, focusing on the relationship between abusive marriages and human trafficking, especially among immigrant populations.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Action Alert for Pennsylvanians

A message from NETWORK:  "Tell Governor Corbett to do the Right Thing!"

On Monday, May 6th, a team of Catholic sisters and other Medicaid advocates met
with members of Governor Corbett's staff to urge him to accept $17 billion in federal
funding to provide health coverage for up to 700,000 uninsured in Pennsylvania.  After the meeting, the team reported that Governor Corbett's staff expressed that the governor is concerned for those who are uninsured and that the "door is still wide open" on finding a way forward with Medicaid.

NETWORK is asking Pennsylvanians to contact Governor Corbett regarding this important decision.  Here are a few suggestions:

1. Call (717) 787-2500 and speak to the staff assistant who answers the phone (or
leave a voice mail). We have provided a phone script below, but please feel free
to personalize it:

Good morning/afternoon. My name is [insert name here]. I am a Pennsylvania voter
and I am calling to urge Governor Corbett to accept the billions of dollars in
federal funding to provide health coverage for Pennsylvania's uninsured. Yesterday,
there were Catholic sisters and other Medicaid advocates who met with your office
to discuss how important this federal funding is for Pennsylvania's working families,
businesses, and hospitals. It is encouraging to hear from the governor's staff that
he is also concerned about the uninsured in our state and that he is still open
to finding a way forward with Medicaid. I stand with these Catholic sisters and
other advocates in support of accepting this money to provide health coverage for
our state's uninsured.

2. You can also email Governor Corbett through an online form.
Enter your contact information, select "Healthcare" as the subject, and share your
thoughts with the Governor in the "Your Comments" section. We have provided a sample
script below, but it always carries more weight if you add your own stories to make
it your own.

Good morning/afternoon,

My name is [insert name here] and I am a Pennsylvania vote. I am writing to urge
you to accept federal dollars to provide health coverage for Pennsylvania's uninsured.
On Monday, May 6th, Catholic sisters and other Medicaid advocates met with members
of your staff to discuss how important this federal funding is for Pennsylvania's
working families, businesses, and hospitals. It is encouraging to hear from your
staff about your concern for the uninsured in our state and that you are still
open to finding a way forward with Medicaid. I stand with these Catholic sisters
and other advocates in support of accepting this money to provide health coverage
for our state's uninsured. Not only will this money extend coverage to thousands
of working families, but it will also be a boost to our state's economy.

I hope I can count on you to make the right choice for Pennsylvania.

Thank you,

[insert name here]

3. You're done! Send us an email at to let us know about your experience or if you would like to get more involved in this important effort!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring 2013 Resolutions to Action

LCWR has made its Spring 2013 Resolutions to Action available.  Click here to read this issue, entitled "Health: Essential to a Flourishing Life."  The suggested actions are timely and relatively simple.  One very simple action suggested in this publication follows:  Watch the evening news with questions in mind such as: Who decides? Who benefits from the decision? Who bears the cost/burden? What values are being promoted (or not) in this decision?