Friday, September 30, 2016

The Catholic Nonviolence Initiative Presents Jesus’ Way of Nonviolence

The second in the series of four webinars from the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative is scheduled for Tuesday, October 11 at  9:00 am ET. Entitled “Jesus’ Way of Nonviolence” speakers will explore how recent experiences of nonviolence help illuminate our understanding of Jesus’ way of engaging conflict.
The one-hour webinar will include and introduction by moderator Ken Butigan, senior lecturer in the Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Program at DePaul University in Chicago, as well as brief presentations by Fr. Jamal Khader, Rector of the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Jerusalem; Sr. Anne McCarthy, OSB, Retreat director and and justice activist; Dr. Terry Rynne, Professor of Peace Studies and founder of the Center for Peacemaking at Marquette University. There will also be time for questions and comments from participants. Register here.
The Catholic Nonviolence Initiative is continuing the work begun at the Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference, held in Rome in April 2016. The conference brought together more than 80 people for an unprecedented gathering to discuss the Catholic Church’s historic commitment to nonviolence. It continues to stimulate conversations and engage people of faith around the world. Conference papers have been published, articles written, and resources gathered in support of the efforts to promote nonviolence.  Resources and papers are available at on their website
At the conference participants affirmed an outcome document that appeals to the Catholic church to recommit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence. It is a commitment to further Catholic understanding and practice of active nonviolence on the road to just peace
The is inviting other organizations and individuals to join them in endorsing the statement from the conference, “An Appeal to the Catholic Church to Recommit to the Centrality of Nonviolence.” Read and endorse the statement here



Talitha Kum in Mexico

In order to continue educating about the reality of human trafficking and its causes, the Talitha Kum commission from Rome and Latin America, in coordination with the Conference of Major Superiors of Religious in Mexico (CIRM) realized a week long workshop September 18-24th

During the workshop they covered ways to respond to this crime, ranging from prevention to care for the victims.  There were many powerful and moving experiences and stories shared. 

It is worth mentioning that representatives of over 20 Congregations attended the event, as well as Sr. Carmela Gibaja, representative of Talitha Kum and coordinator for the network in Latin America, trainer Stefano Volpicelle, Sr. Eurides Alves de Oliveira coordinator of the network “Un Grito por la Vida” in Brazil, and Sr. Lourdes Medina Vega representative of CIRM.  From our CCVI Congregation sisters Covadonga Suarez and Ofelia Lozano participated.   

“It was a rich experience and the beginning of a network here in Mexico,” share Sr. Covadonga.  That is because the group of participants felt more and more involved and willing to join in the mission working against human trafficking in Mexico as a collaborative network, because without a doubt this crime is “a sore in the suffering body of Christ” that demands a prophetic response as women religious today. 

“We were anxiously waiting for this first gathering of Talitha Kum in Mexico and we are confident in the effort and dedication of all the participants to form a network with strong fundamentals that will make the network a powerful voice and an effective agent in the fight against human trafficking in this country where human rights are so often ignored,” wrote the Talitha Kum coordinator Sr. Gabriella Bottani.  


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Talitha Kum en México

Con el objetivo de seguir formando sobre la realidad de trata de personas y sus causas, la comisión Talitha Kum de Roma y América Latina en coordinación con la Conferencia de Superiores Mayores de Religiosos en México (CIRM) realizó un seminario-taller del 18 al 24 de septiembre.


Durante estos días se profundizó las formas de hacerle frente a este delito, desde la prevención hasta la atención a las víctimas. Se presentaron muchas situaciones y experiencias significativas y desafiantes.

Cabe destacar que durante el evento estuvieron representadas más de 20 Congregaciones además se contó con la presencia de la Hna. Carmela Gibaja representante de Talitha Kum y coordinadora de la red en América Latina, el formador Stefano Volpicelle, la Hna. Eurides Alves De Oliveira coordinadora de la red Un grito por la Vida del Brasil y la Hna. Lourdes Medina Vega representante de la CIRM. Por parte de nuestra Congregación Religiosa, participaron nuestras hermanas: Sor Covadonga Suarez y Sor Ofelia Lozano.

‘Fue un compartir muy rico  y nació una pequeña red en México’ comparte Sor Covadonga. Y es que el grupo de participantes, se sintieron cada vez más involucradas(os) y dispuestas(os) a asumir la misión de trabajar frente a la trata de personas en México como Red, porque sin duda este crimen es 'una llaga en el cuerpo del Cristo Sufriente' que nos exige una respuesta profética como Vida Consagrada hoy.


Esperábamos con impaciencia este primer encuentro de la Talitha Kum en México y confiamos en el esfuerzo y dedicación de todos los participantes para consolidar la red, con sólidos fundamentos que hagan de la red un grito potente y una lucha efectiva contra la trata de personas en este país en que los derechos humanos son tantas veces ignorados’ escribió la coordinadora de Talitha Kum (Red Mundial de la Vida Consagrada contra la trata de personas),  Hna. Gabriella Bottani.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Ayotzinapa

Peace for Colombia

Today the Peace Accords between the government of Colombia and the FARC are signed, after more than 50 years of armed conflict.  These Peace Accords are without a doubt the first step on the long road to reconciliation.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Colombia and all those working for peace around the world.  May peace reign in Colombia.

THE END AND THE BEGINNING*
After every war

someone has to clean up.
Things won't
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons
can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it's not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

Again we'll need bridges
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls how it was.
Someone listens
and nods with unsevered head.
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.

From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
rust-eaten arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must give way to
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass which has overgrown
reasons and causes,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.


*Wislawa Szymborska- Polonia
Transl. by Joanna Trezeciak

Que Reine la Paz en Colombia

Hoy, 26 de setiembre, se firma de la Paz en Colombia entre el gobierno y las FARC después de lo que ha sido más de cincuenta años de guerra. Un acuerdo que es, sin duda, el primer paso para iniciar un largo proceso de reconciliación. 

Nuestra oración y compromiso con este proceso de paz y justicia en el mundo.

Fin y Principio* 
Después de cada guerra
alguien tiene que limpiar.
No se van a ordenar solas las cosas,
digo yo.

Alguien debe echar los escombros
a la cuneta
para que puedan pasar
los carros llenos de cadáveres.

Alguien debe meterse
entre el barro, las cenizas,
los muelles de los sofás,
las astillas de cristal
y los trapos sangrientos.

Alguien tiene que arrastrar una viga
para apuntalar un muro,
alguien poner un vidrio en la ventana
y la puerta en sus goznes.

Eso de fotogénico tiene poco
y requiere años.
Todas las cámaras se han ido ya
a otra guerra.

A reconstruir puentes
y estaciones de nuevo.
Las mangas quedarán hechas jirones
de tanto arremangarse.

Alguien con la escoba en las manos
recordará todavía cómo fue.
Alguien escuchará
asintiendo con la cabeza en su sitio.
Pero a su alrededor
empezará a haber algunos
a quienes les aburra.

Todavía habrá quien a veces
encuentre entre hierbajos
argumentos mordidos por la herrumbre,
y los lleve al montón de la basura.

Aquellos que sabían
de qué iba aquí la cosa
tendrán que dejar su lugar
a los que saben poco.
Y menos que poco.
E incluso prácticamente nada.

En la hierba que cubra
causas y consecuencias
seguro que habrá alguien tumbado,
con una espiga entre los dientes,
mirando las nubes.

*Wislawa Szymborska- Polonia
De "Fin y principio" 1993
Versión de Abel A. Murcia





Join the Pilgrimage Remembering CCVI History in San Antonio

pilgrimageA Pilgrimage Remembering Incarnate Word Sisters History and San Antonio Mission History in this Year of Mercy
For young people, for elders, and for all to learn, pray, make friends, and be renewed as we visit historical treasures in our city.
October 1, Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm
Let us recommit ourselves to mercy and to service as we visit where Franciscan priests came in 1731 and where Incarnate Word Sisters came in 1869.
Enjoy two of the Missions which UNESCO has designated World Heritage Sites and San Fernando, the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the United States.
pilgrimage2Reflect in the beautiful Chapel of the Incarnate Word, a contemplative space which has given Sisters strength for mission and see the new Sisters Heritage Center Museum. 
Explore San Francisco de la Espada Mission where Incarnate Word Sisters taught.
Pray at Mission Concepcion where Father David Garcia, Director of the San Antonio Missions will celebrate a special Eucharist with the pilgrimage group.pilgrimage3
Visit the San Fernando Cathedral Museum which has the chalice of Bishop Claude M. Dubuis who wrote a letter with an invitation that brought French young women to Texas to care for those in need and start the I.W. Congregation,  “Our Lord Jesus Christ suffering . . . seeks relief at your hands.” Learn of the Sisters orphanage and hospital down the street. Go through the special doors of the Cathedral praying that we might be transformed in this “Year of Mercy.”
As the number of orphan children increased in the 1800’s,  the Sisters built the downtown St. John’s Orphanage. In 1912 a terrible fire broke out. Eighty-nine orphan boys were saved, but two boys were killed. Five Sisters who were searching for the children in the fire were killed.
pilgrimage4Seeking a place for the children, the Sisters build St. Peter’s  right across from Mission Concepcion in 1913. Children from the home, now called St. Peter-St. Joseph’s Home still attend worship in the mission.
Acclaimed Texas Historian and Chair of the initiative to document UIW’s role in San Antonio Tricentennial History, Dr. Gilberto Hinojosa will share information and insights.
Cecilia Elizondo Herrera, Global Service Coordinator in the UIW Ettling Center for Civic Engagement and a member of the San Antonio Mission Board invites you on this journey through time to open our hears to serve others. See and hear her at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Wq05dpyNSI
Sister Martha Ann Kirk, University of the Incarnate Word Professor of Religious and Sister Marichui Bringas, Incarnate Word Sisters Vocation Director, invite you to learn more of the deep roots of the Incarnate Word Sisters because those can give us strength to grow, flower, and bring forth fruits of service today.pilgrimage5                             

To register for the pilgrimage, please click here . For questions or issues, please call the Ettling Center 210-283-6423. 

To be assured bus transportation and lunch, register by September 26, 2016.  


Original Posting at: http://www.uiw.edu/eccl/pilgrimage/ 

Basta de Impunidad en la Trata de Personas

En el marco de actividades por el Día Internacional Contra la Trata de Personas (23 de setiembre), la Red Kawsay (Vida Consagrada frente a la Trata de Personas) del cual formamos parte, organizamos un Acto Público en rechazo al fallo del juez Villa Stein frente al caso de Trata de Personas en Madre de Dios.

El evento se realizó frente al Palacio de Justicia (Perú) para demandar justicia y mostrar rechazo a la impunidad que muchos jueces ofrecen en las sentencias de Trata de Personas. Oramos por todas las víctimas y hacemos un llamado a las autoridades para poder frenar estos atropellos. 

Por parte de nuestra Congregación, Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado en Lima, estuvieron presentes las hermanas: Ivon Ramirez, CCVI; Katty Huanuco, CCVI y nuestra asociada laica Martha Zea.









Join Oct 5 Webinar: Faithfully Engaged in the 2016 Election

IIC WEBINAR: October 5th at 4pm 
Faithfully Engaged in the 2016 Election

We are one month out from election day! And candidates, trying to get your vote, want to hear your perspective. What will you tell them? How can you best get your message across?

Join the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on Wednesday, October 5th at 4 pm EST for a special webinar. We’ll outline ways that communities of faith can meaningfully participate in the final month before the election, key for building support for compassionate action on immigration in 2017.

Civic engagement is a key component of integration and building welcoming communities. Participating in civil society by voting, understanding the issues of the day, and engaging in civil and productive conversation with others is one of the many strengths of the United States and an important part of integration for new Americans.
  • How can we strengthen our democracy by ensuring that more people are registered to vote, including new American voters?
  • How can people of faith ensure better access to the polls for disenfranchised voters?
  • How can we talk about the election from a faith perspective to our neighbors, faith communities, the media, and directly to candidates for public office?

Speakers include a first-time voter, and representatives from Church World Service, the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

Join in Prayerful Solidarity during the Border Convergence

Congregations of Women Religious and Other Organizations are Invited to join Giving Voice Sisters in Prayerful Solidarity with the Border Convergence October 7-10 and All Catholic Sisters Attending the Border Convergence in Nogales are invited to the “Encuentro de Hermanas” on Oct 8th. 


Interested congregations of women religious, Church groups, faith communities, and other concerned organizations are invited to join members of Giving Voice in prayerful solidarity with the SOAW Border Convergence in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico the weekend of October 7-10th, 2016. Giving Voice has prepared a prayer service and media kit that can be printed out and used as it is or tweaked for your setting and group. In order for a copy of the prayer service and media kit to be emailed to you, please sign up HERE

Participants are encouraged to connect with the network of groups praying in solidarity with the border convergence by promoting and sharing their prayer service on social media. Groups are encouraged to post videos and photos of their prayer service on Facebook Live, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels using the hashtags/caption: We pray with #GivingVoice in solidarity with the #ConvergenceAtTheBorder and adding the name of their group and location.

Catholic sisters who will be attending the SOAW Border Convergence in Nogales are welcome to join Giving Voice for "Encuentro de Hermanas" on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 from 2:00-3:30 at the Kino Border Initiative "Comedor," Bulevar Luis Donaldo Colosio 55, Nogales, Mexico. Sisters will share about ministers, discuss how they might collaborate further around immigration issues and pray together. An optional tour of the Kino Border Initiative will follow the gathering. It is suggested that Sisters at the Border Convergence who attend the Encuentro de Hermanas bring their passports and cross into Mexico by foot on Saturday morning for the Rally at the Border Wall then eat lunch on the Mexican side of the border before coming to the encuentro. For more information about the Encuentro de Hermanas contact Sister Tracy Kemme, SC at tracykemme@gmail.com.

Giving Voice is an inter-congregational peer-led organization for women religious under the age of 50. Giving Voice sisters are from several different congregations of women religious throughout North America. These “young nuns” are often times the youngest members of their religious orders. Members center their lives on living the Gospel and live communally while being committed to service and social justice. Many of the sisters serve in the trenches with immigrants and refugees most impacted by the outdated and unjust policies.

The goals of the Border Convergence program are to expose the root causes of immigration, end the U.S. intervention in the Americas, resist border militarization, and engage in non-violent direct action, education, art and culture. The Convergence is sponsored by School of Americas Watch (SOAW), the organization that has previously hosted November protests at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. 


Friday, September 23, 2016

Sign On for Needed Changes in the Texas Railroad Commission

A lot has changed in the last 33 years. Don’t you think it’s time to increase fines on oil and gas companies that break the rules? In 1983, fines were a maximum of $10,000 per day for violations such as operating without a permit or allowing oil to spill into a river. Today, this would be a slap on the wrist to companies that make billions of dollars each year. In fact, $10,000 in 1983 is worth approximately $25,000 today.

The Sunset Commission, which has the ability to reform Texas state agencies, is once again charged with fixing one of Texas’ most out-of-date state agencies - the so-called Railroad Commission. Sunset Commissioners can help pass a bill to improve how the Railroad Commission regulates the oil and gas industry, including getting tough on companies that violate the law.

It's time for a makeover, but it's more than just its name that needs changing. The Railroad Commissioners in charge of regulating the oil and gas industry also get campaign donations from the same oil and gas industry they’re supposed to regulate! That gives a new meaning to dirty money. The Sunset Commission needs to separate some of the decision making authority to other Texas agencies. Doing so would help ensure impartial decisions are made in the best interest of Texas.

But the Sunset Commission won’t get tough on the Railroad Commission if it doesn’t hear from you. Send them a message today to let them know how you feel about the sad state of oil and gas regulation in Texas.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE AND ADD YOUR VOICE

Reflexión Teológica-Social sobre Trata de Personas

¿Dónde está tu hermano(a)? 

Reflexión teológica-social 

Cuando pensamos en la situación de los derechos humanos en todo el mundo, uno de los abusos más flagrantes a la humanidad que viene a nuestra mente es, sin duda, la esclavitud moderna: la trata de personas. Ya que los(as) tratantes engañan a las mujeres, hombres y niñas(os) de todos los rincones del planeta y los someten diariamente a situaciones de explotación. La trata de personas es un delito que lleva a sus víctimas hacia: la explotación sexual, el trabajo forzoso, la servidumbre doméstica, la mendicidad infantil o la extracción de órganos.

‘El Señor dijo: ¿Dónde está tu hermano?’ Gn 4, 9 
Según la Organización Internacional del Trabajo, se estima que cada año entre 600,000 y 800,000 hombres, mujeres y menores de edad de todo el mundo son víctimas de la Trata de Personas dentro y fuera de sus países de origen. Estas personas son obligadas a generar riqueza para otros a través de trabajos forzados en diversas actividades como la prostitución, la minería, la industria, el trabajo servil o reclutamiento forzoso militar.

En Perú hay entre 3,000 y 4,000 víctimas de trata de personas por año. Todas llegaron por necesidad, engañadas con falsas promesas de trabajo, pero fueron convertidas en mercancía sexual. Mientras que México4 es el país de América con el mayor número absoluto de personas viviendo en situación de trata de personas. 70 por ciento del total son víctimas de grupos del crimen organizado que operan en el país, quienes secuestran a personas de todas las edades para obligarlas a prostituirse y a realizar trabajos forzados, en varias situaciones están en complicidad con autoridades locales, estatales y federales. Asimismo se estima que alrededor de 15,000 personas son traficados en la frontera de los EEUU cada año.

‘¿Acaso es mi deber vigilar a mi hermano?’ Gn 4, 9 
El Papa Francisco en su Exhortación Apostólica Evangelii Gaudium, sobre el anuncio del Evangelio en el mundo actual, nos llamó a no ser indiferentes ante el clamor de Dios que nos pregunta ‘¿Dónde está tu hermano esclavo? ¿Dónde está ese que estás matando cada día en el taller clandestino, en la red de prostitución, en los niños que utilizas para mendicidad…? No nos hagamos los distraídos. Hay mucho de complicidad. ¡La pregunta es para todos!’  Realmente sí involucra a todas y todos, pensemos en todas las formas en que somos cómplices. Y es que la trata de personas no ocurre en el vacío. Hay muchos factores que contribuyen su incremento y continuidad.

Un factor invisible pero potente es la ‘cosificación (objetivación) de las personas’, que coloca el dinero por encima de las personas. Dejamos de ver al otro/a como un ser humano. Se convierte en un ‘recurso rentable’ para explotar. ¿Conocemos la situación laboral de las grandes empresas a la que le compramos sus productos o servicios? Conocemos la situación laboral de donde viene nuestra comida, café, o te? Si no, pudimos estar apoyando la trata de niños. Por ejemplo, en Zambia, el porcentaje mas grande de labor forzado de niños esta en el área de agricultura (café y te) y minería (metales que se usan en productos/tecnología vendida en otros países).

Aunado a ello está la violencia generalizada hacia las mujeres, su sobresexualización , el fenómeno social de lo ‘machista-patriarcal’ que contribuye en la construcción de hombres y mujeres con estructuras de dominación que tienen que ver con el género; los mitos sociales respecto a las sexualidad masculina y sus demandas; y la ‘normalización’ o tolerancia del delito que demuestra la falta de consistencia moral de la sociedad. ¿Acaso no nos indigna que más del 80% de las víctimas de trata sean mujeres y niñas? Y es que sin clientes, no hay trata.

Otro factor es el sistema capitalista que ha creado drásticas diferencias de riqueza, dejando a muchas familias excluídas y que luchan diaramente por sobrevivir. En la búsqueda de ingresos y oportunidades, estas personas son las más vulnerables en creer en las falsas ofertas de trabajo y las promesas para una vida mejor. No existe ninguna persona en este mundo que conociendo todas las condiciones de explotación diaria que experimentan las personas en situación de trata, aceptaría la propuesta. Pues, precisamente las víctimas buscaban algo diferente para ellas(os) y sus familias.

La trata se extiende porque no se comprende, y no sólo por los ciudadanos de a pie, sino también por las autoridades que no lo logran ejercer -en la práctica- politicas que velen para que nadie esté sometido a la esclavitud ni a la servidumbre y realmente se prohíba la esclavitud en todas sus formas; pues la trata de personas es considerada el tercer negocio ilícito del mundo ya que cada año genera ganancias que van de los 32 mil a los 36 mil millones de dólares.

‘El SEÑOR dijo: ¿Qué has hecho?’ Gn 4, 10 
La Escritura nos recuerda que la llamada de Dios exige verdadero compromiso con quienes más sufren y están en vulnerabilidad: ‘traten a los demás con justicia, amor y compasión. No maltraten a nadie, ni hagan daño a los demás; en vez de hacer planes malvados, cuiden de las viudas, de los huérfanos, de los inmigrantes y los pobres’. Incluso si no conocemos sus nombres o rostros. Ellos son también nuestros hermanos y hermanas; son el cuerpo sufriente de Cristo en el mundo. Estamos llamada(os) a fortalecer la solidaridad, a afirmar la dignidad y los derechos de todas las personas; y a denunciar la trata de personas y los sistemas económicos y sociales que lo propician.

Parte de nuestro trabajo para combatir la trata de personas, es exponer la realidad de este crimen de lesa humanidad; colocar este delito invisible de las sombras a la luz. El primer paso es reconocer nuestra propia complicidad. Porque en palabras de una sobreviente de trata el oficio más antiguo no es la prostitución, es mirar al otro lado.

Necesitamos seguir reflexionando sobre esta doliente realidad a la luz del evangelio y tomar medidas. Porque como Jesús, el Verbo Encarnado, nos dice en Mateo: ‘Lo que ustedes hicieron para ayudar a una de las personas menos importantes de este mundo, a quienes yo considero como hermanos, es como si lo hubieran hecho a mí’. Si, debemos cuidar a nuestros hermanos y hermanas. Sabemos dónde están. Sabemos que están sufriendo. ¿Qué vamos a hacer?

Preguntas para la reflexión: 
1) ¿De qué manera podría yo ser cómplice en la creación de un mundo donde existe la trata de personas?
2) ¿Dónde me siento llamada(o) a involucrarme para poner fin a la trata de personas y promover la dignidad humana?
3) ¿Que más quiero o necesito aprender sobre la trata de personas en mi ciudad o país?

Versión para imprimir: http://bit.ly/2ct7s5S


Theological and Social Reflection on Human Trafficking

Where is your brother or sister?

Theological Reflection on Human Trafficking 

When we think about the situation of human rights around the world, one of the most egregious abuses of human rights that comes to mind is modern day slavery in the form of human trafficking. That is because the traffickers abuse women, men, and children from all corners of the planet and subject them daily to various situations of exploitation. Human trafficking is a crime that can lead victims to: sexual exploitation, forced labor, domestic servitude, forced child begging, or extraction of organs.

‘The LORD said: Where is your brother?’ (Gen 4:9)
According to the International Labor Organization, it is estimated that every year between 600,000 and 800,000 men, women, and children throughout the world are victims of Human Trafficking within and outside their countries of origin. These people are forced to generate wealth for others through forced labor in different areas like prostitution, mining, agriculture, industry, or forced military recruitment.

In Peru there are between 3,000-4,000 victims of human trafficking each year. All are led by necessity, tricked by false promises of legitimate work and instead converted into sexual objects. And in Mexico, they have the largest number of trafficked persons in all the Americas. 70% are victims of the cartels, or organized crime groups, which operate throughout the country. They kidnap people of all ages and force them to work as prostitutes or other forced labor, and in many cases the local, state, and federal authorities are complicit as well.

 “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9) 
As Pope Francis reminds us in his apostolic exhortation Evangelium Gaudium, about the joy of the Gospel in the world today, we cannot be indifferent to the cry of God when we are asked, ‘Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labor? Let us not look the other way. There is greater complicity than we think. The issue involves everyone!”  It truly does involve everyone when we think of all the ways we are complicit. Human trafficking does not happen in a vacuum. There are many factors that contribute to its proliferation and promulgation.

One invisible but powerful factor is the objectification of people, which prioritizes money and profits over people. We stop seeing the other as a human being, and rather we see them as a profitable resource to exploit. Are we aware of the labor practices of the large companies from whom we buy their products or use their services? Are we aware of the labor practices for the food, coffee, and tea we purchase? If not, we could be supporting human trafficking. For example in Zambia, the largest percent of forced child labor is in agriculture (including coffee and tea) and mining (metals used in products/technology sold in other countries.)

Added to this objectification is the widespread violence against women, their oversexualization, the social phenomenon of the ‘patriarchal-macho' that contributes to raising men and women within structures of domination based on gender; social myths regarding male sexuality and their demands; and the 'normalization' or tolerance of crime which demonstrates the lack of moral consistency of society. Are we not outraged that more than 80% of trafficking victims are women and girls? And don’t forget that if there were no clients, trafficking wouldn’t exist.

Another factor is unfettered global capitalism which has created drastic disparities in wealth, leaving many families struggling to survive in extreme poverty. In the search for income and opportunity, many of the poor and vulnerable become victims of human traffickers who trick them by promising a better life. It is estimated that around 15,000 people are trafficked across the border into the U.S. each year. There is no person in this world who knowing the daily conditions experienced by people in a situation of trafficking, would willing choose it. It is precisely that the victims were looking for something different for them and their families, and were tricked instead.

Trafficking also continues because it is not well understood, and not just by average citizens walking down the street, but also by authorities that fail to execute the laws and declarations that exist so that “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”  However as we stated earlier human trafficking is the third largest organized crime in the world and generates between 32 and 36 billion dollars a year. So there is still a lot of work to do.

‘The LORD said: What have you done?’ (Gen 4:10) 
Scripture reminds us of God’s call that we have special concern for those who suffer and are the most vulnerable such as widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” Even if we don’t know their names or faces, these are our brothers and sisters; they are the suffering body of Christ in the world today. We are called to strengthen our solidarity and affirm the dignity and rights of all people, and to denounce human trafficking and the economic and social systems that support it.

Part of our work to combat human trafficking, is to bring the reality of this modern day slave trade out of the shadows and into the light, so we can recognize our own complicity. Because in the words of a survivor of human trafficking the oldest profession in the book isn’t prostitution, it’s turning a blind eye.

We must continue to educate ourselves, to reflect on the current reality in light of our faith teachings, and take action. As Jesus, the Incarnate Word, reminds us in Matthew “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my sisters or brothers, you did it to me.” We are our brother and sister’s keeper. We know where they are. We know what they are suffering. What will we do?

Reflection Questions:
1) In what ways might I be complicit in creating a world where human trafficking exists?
2) What more do I want/need to learn about human trafficking in my own city/country?
3) Where do I feel called to get involved in the work to end human trafficking and promote human dignity?

Read PDF version here: http://bit.ly/2ct8Gyd

Acción Corporativa por la Tierra

Para responder al grito de la tierra que es también el grito de los pobres…

Para el 2018, la Congregación de las Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado ofrece en sus eventos el 50% de productos respetuosos con el medio ambiente.

¿Qué significa esto?
Si vas a organizar un evento:
·       Lo que se consuma o se compre deben ser productos del lugar y de temporada.
·       Utiliza tazas o vasos que se pueden lavar y reutilizar; y si se utiliza vasos desechables asegurarse de que pueden ser reciclados.
·       Elige para servir las comidas en forma de buffet con auténticos platos y cubiertos que se pueden lavar y reutilizar.
·       Si utilizas platos y/o cubiertos desechables asegúrate de que podrán ser reclicados.
·       Menos carne en el menú. Se sugiere que en cada comida, exista por lo menos una opción de proteína de origen vegetal.
·       Instala o asegura la visibilidad de los dispensadores de agua evitando la residuos de botellas de plástico. ¡Por favor, nada de plásticos o  vasos de ‘Poliestireno-tecnopor’!
·       Evita la utilización de materiales como madera tropical, metal y plástico.
·       Minimiza la cantidad de material impreso, ofrece opciones electrónicas en su lugar. Si tienes que imprimir materiales usa papel reciclado, imprime en ambas caras, o usa tintas respetuosas con el medio ambiente.

¿Cómo implementarlo?
1.- Identifica y comparte información de proveedores que ofrecen productos respetuosos con el medio ambiente.
2.-  Informáte y compra productos provenientes de Comercio Justo en tu ciudad.
3.- Ajusta el presupuesto ya que algunos productos respetuosos con el medio ambiente pueden costar un poco más.


Toma en cuenta
-        Haz partícipe a las/os  asistentes y conviértelas(os) en protagonistas de las medidas sostenibles (por ejemplo, invitándole a traer su propia botella reutilizable).
-        Difunde las medidas de sostenibilidad que se van a llevar a cabo al iniciar el evento.