Diocese to Host Human Trafficking Conference

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     WHAT:    Human Trafficking Awareness Day
     WHERE:  Center for Ministry, 5802 Weiss Street, Saginaw  
     WHEN:    10:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 11  

Saginaw — The Diocese of Saginaw is teaming up with some of its religious sisters to educate the community about the growing issue of human trafficking. On Human Trafficking Awareness Day, January 11, the diocese will host a conference featuring several guest speakers who are on the front lines in the fight against what is known as modern-day slavery.

Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. It is a $32 billion criminal industry, and there are at least 12.2 million people worldwide who are being held against their will. The majority of human trafficking victims are women and children from poor villages, urban slums and refugee camps. Of these victims, it is estimated that half are under the age of 18.

On Wednesday, several speakers will help educate the community about the growing problem of human trafficking that has long gone unnoticed by most in the developed world. Incidents of human trafficking tend to spike alongside major sporting events like the Super Bowl, Olympics and World Cup to meet the high demand for commercial sex. Sister Ann Ozog, SJ and Sister Margo Tafoya, MSSp will address the advocacy efforts of women religious to curb human trafficking in the social events leading up to the Super Bowl. They also will discuss how religious sisters in Michigan and Indiana are working with hotel chains to help affect social change. 

Cherie Sammis, RN MS FNP-BC, Vice President of Mission Integration at St. Mary’s of Michigan in Saginaw also will be presenting during the conference. She will discuss her past experience as both a clinical expert and advisor for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Human Trafficking. Cherie serves as a guest lecturer in regional and national forums of government, hospital and national health systems, physician and nursing organizations, and non-governmental organizations to promote community awareness and identification of human trafficking victims in healthcare settings.

The cost to attend the conference is $10 and includes lunch. To register, call 989.797.6646. The conference is sponsored by the Diocesan Office of Christian Service and the Black Catholic Advisory Committee.

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