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By Christopher Cox, Human Thread Campaign
Two weeks ago, Frank Sherman and I participated in the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) Program Strategy Week. The Program Directors met with their Work groups in NYC to evaluate the progress over the past year and chart out a path forward for the 2018-19 corporate engagement season. This article will summarize the human rights/human trafficking session.
Estimates indicate that 27 million victims fall prey to trafficking and slavery each year and that it is a global trade valued at $32 billion dollars. But due to the clandestine nature of these crimes and the reluctance of victims to speak out because they live in fear of physical retribution and/or deportation, trafficking and slavery are typically very difficult to uncover and prosecute. Through the Human Rights/Human Trafficking (HR/HT) Work Group, ICCR members ask the companies they hold to adopt human rights policies that formally recognize human trafficking and slavery and to train their personnel and their suppliers to safeguard against these risks throughout their supply chains. Human rights provides an umbrella for all ICCR efforts.
The day prior to our session, the Alliance met as well. It will take some time to define action that corresponds to IAHR or to the HR/HT work group as both groups are concerned with issues that overlap. The Alliance has three components: Human rights responsibilities of investors, collective action, and multi-stakeholder engagement.
- Promotes implementation of human rights due diligence by companies
- Encourages the creation of enabling environment for responsible business conduct through awareness raising, standard setting, and regulatory development – states, multi-lateral institutions, the UN, development banks and, of course, investors
- Encourages engaged companies to develop and strengthen activities and process to provide remedy
- Builds partnerships with business community, NGOs, trade unions, local communities and others to leverage this work
It seems likely that the IAHR will focus, this year, on Banking and Tech sectors as it relates to salient human rights issues. Again, it will take some time to develop the necessary coordination between the efforts of IAHR and ICCR working groups.
Read the rest of the article at Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investing’s website.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month January 5th, 2018
“Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that’s become ever more aggressive, that threatens not just individuals, but the foundational values of society.”
– Pope Francis
President Donald Trump has proclaimed January 2018 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In the words of the Administration, “This month we do not simply reflect on this appalling reality. We also pledge to do all in our power to end the horrific practice of human trafficking that plagues innocent victims around the world.”
It is a time for businesses, national and community organizations, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we must play in ending all forms of human trafficking. Many groups are bringing attention to this issue through prayer and educational resources. Below are links to some of these resources.
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB): the below toolkit was developed by USCCB’s Anti-Trafficking Program (ATP), whose mission is to educate Catholics and the general public on the scourge of human trafficking as an offense against the fundamental dignity of the human person.
• To help bring awareness to the month of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and in preparation for the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking on Feb. 8, the Catholic Health Association is sponsoring a webinar, A Medical Safe Haven for Human Trafficking Victims, on Jan. 17, 2018 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.
The U.S. House of Representatives may be considering H.R. 2200, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Act of 2017. We urge you to voice your support!
H.R. 2200 would reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The TVPA, the original foundational anti-trafficking legislation in the U.S., was created in 2000 and has been reauthorized four times by overwhelmingly bipartisan votes. H.R. 2200 was introduced by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ-4) and Representative Karen Bass (D-CA-37) on April 27, 2017.
Supporting H.R. 2200 is an important step the United States can take to demonstrate our nation’s continued efforts to eradicate human trafficking and assist human trafficking victims. H.R. 2200 ensures critical funding for both domestic and international anti-trafficking programs. Reauthorizing the TVPA helps ensure that victims are able to continue to access programs and services that recognize the importance of dignified care.
Take Action by sending the following message:
As a concerned Catholic, I urge you to support H.R. 2200. I firmly believe in the dignity of the human person and this belief calls on me to protect the most vulnerable, including victims of human trafficking. H.R. 2200 is important, as it reauthorizes the TVPA, providing service provisions that will aid victims. Supporting H.R. 2200 will ensure that our nation’s efforts to eradicate human trafficking and assist human trafficking victims continue.
I thank Congress for its long-standing commitment to confront modern-day slavery. As a Catholic, I stand ready to support victims and appreciate your work to eradicate human trafficking.
Send the message from this link:
Click here to read the US Bishops’ letter of support for H.R. 2200.
2017 Labeling For Lent Campaign February 27th, 2017
Labeling for Lent
An Effort to Prevent Human Trafficking
By the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT)
Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that enslaves women, men, and children into situations of forced labor, debt bondage, and sexual servitude. Human trafficking is wide spread in many products’ supply chains, including products sold in the United States. For example, the United States imports 80-90% of its seafood, and tens of thousands of people are exploited at every link in the seafood harvesting and production chain. This exploitation occurs through abusive recruitment practices, as well as slavery at sea and in seafood processing plants.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
So what can we, as Catholics, do to prevent human trafficking and exploitation in supply chains? We can educate ourselves and use our power as ethical consumers to help stamp out trafficking.
“Together with the social responsibility of businesses, there is also the social responsibility of consumers. Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act.”
HOW CAN WE DO THIS?
Currently, we are not always given the information we need to make moral purchasing decisions. CCOAHT wants to ask seafood companies that are engaged in cleaning up their supply chains to label their packaged products. Through labeling, we as consumers can make educated purchasing choices that help eradicate human trafficking.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
We encourage you to share this with your networks and ask them to fill out the survey as well!
CCOAHT will use the data from this survey when it reaches out to seafood companies to request that they include a label on their packaged products.
CCOAHT is a nationwide coalition that represents religious orders and organizations, and is a key leader in the Catholic struggle against human trafficking in the United States.
2017 Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking February 2nd, 2017
February 8th has been designated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. February 8th is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. She learned from Canossian nuns that she was created in the image of God and possessed human dignity. Once she asserted herself and refused to be enslaved, Josephine became a Canossian sister and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.
In October 2000, Josephine Bakhita was canonized by Pope John Paul II, at which point he noted that “in St. Josephine Bakhita we find a shining advocate of genuine emancipation. The history of her life inspires not passive acceptance but the firm resolve to work effectively to free girls and women from oppression and violence, and to return them to their dignity in the full exercise of their rights.”
On February 8th, Catholics all over the world are encouraged to host or attend prayer services to create greater awareness about human trafficking. Through prayer, we not only reflect on the experiences of those that have suffered through this affront to human dignity but also comfort, strengthen, and help empower survivors. As Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, former Chairman of the Committee on Migration, has stated: “On that day, we will lift our voices loudly in prayer, hope, and love for trafficking victims and survivors. If just one person realizes from this day that they or someone they know is being trafficked, we will have made a difference.”
Download a prayer resource created by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Visit USCCB’s Anti-trafficking website to learn more.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month January 18th, 2017
President Barack Obama has proclaimed January 2017 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the United States, calling upon businesses, national and community organizations, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we must play in ending all forms of human trafficking. Many with groups are bringing attention to this issue through prayer and educational resources. Below are links to some of these resources.
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB):
“Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that’s become ever more aggressive, that threatens not just individuals, but the foundational values of society.” Pope Francis
- U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking provides several resources on its website including prayer services and an interfaith toolkit produced and distributed by the Washington Inter-Religious Staff Community Working Group on Human Trafficking (WISC).
- The Catholic Health Association is sponsoring a Twitter Chat on Human Trafficking, Feb. 2nd, 1-2:00 PM Eastern. Contact Jody Wise for details: firstname.lastname@example.org.