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Contact: Amy H. Smessaert
Communications Director
Congregation of the
Sisters of the Holy Cross
Telephone: (574) 284-5728
Date:February 27, 2013 

Holy Cross Sisters take a stand against human trafficking

Unite with others to confront injustice of modern-day slavery

Notre Dame, Ind. — Sisters of the Holy Cross around the world voted with a united and clear voice to adopt a corporate stand against human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery. The corporate stand is an instrument that engages the congregation as a whole to speak more strongly and take action against human trafficking in locations where sisters live and minister around the globe.

Human trafficking, the second largest criminal activity in the world, is an issue in the eight countries where Sisters of the Holy Cross serve. Women and girls make up close to 80 percent of those trafficked, mostly for sexual exploitation. Labor trafficking is also a large part of this brutal and degrading practice.

“We are acutely conscious of the urgent needs of the world and have committed ourselves to work to transform unjust structures and to forge just political, economic and social structures in solidarity with others. The crime of human trafficking must be effectively addressed by all people everywhere who believe in justice, freedom and human rights,” said Sister Joan Marie Steadman, CSC, president of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

The vote to take a corporate stand followed a period of intentional study, reflection and dialogue led by the congregation’s Justice Committee and Justice Office. The results of the vote were reported on January 11, 2013, which is Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Since then, the congregation announced the corporate stand in letters to Catholic bishops, elected officials and religious communities, inviting their support of policies, initiatives and programs that:

  • address poverty and other root causes of trafficking;
  • ensure traffickers are pursued and prosecuted; and
  • rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate victims of trafficking back into society.

“We are working in solidarity with other congregations of women religious throughout the world who, along with government officials, international and national non-governmental organizations, local communities and concerned individuals are making great progress toward our goal: to end this horrific crime as soon as possible,” Sister Joan Marie wrote in the letter.

View Corporate Stand Against Human Trafficking, along with the rationale for the stand. To learn more about this issue, visit the human trafficking section of the congregation’s website.

About the Sisters of the Holy Cross
Founded in 1841 in Le Mans, France, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross is an international community of women religious whose generalate is located in Notre Dame, Ind. The congregation numbers approximately 450 members worldwide who serve in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, Uganda and the United States. Sisters of the Holy Cross are called to participate in the prophetic mission of Jesus to witness God’s love for all creation. Their ministries focus on providing education and health care services, eradicating material poverty, ending gender discrimination, and promoting just, mutual relationships among people, countries and the entire Earth community.

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