Some of the people who are "trafficked" end up here in Minnesota.
We've got quite a few options:
- Ignore them
- They're just foreigners
- Ask, rhetorically, "why don't they go back where they came from?"
- Then ignore them
- Help them
"Christ died out of love for us, while we were still 'enemies.'100 The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.101An outfit called Civil Society in St. Paul, Minnesota is a nonprofit organization that helps human trafficking victims."The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: 'charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.'102"(Catechism of the Catholic Church (1825)
(June 18, 2010)
They're looking for donations to help them put together "care packages" for the victims of human trafficking. The packages include:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Feminine toiletry products
- Shaving cream
- Encouragement letter/card
Who get stranded in what, to them, is a strange foreign country. They've got no money, no friends or relatives nearby, they don't speak the local language: they can use help.
Care Package? Big DealActually, I think the care packages alone would be a fairly big deal, but there's more to the program. According to the official newspaper of the St. Paul - Minneapolis archdiocese, Civil Society or a related organization also provides:
- Prayer support
- Funding for
- Legal services
- English as a Second Language classes
- Counseling and health services
I can imagine worse things to do with a few bucks.
Why Focus on Minnesota?I live in a small town in central Minnesota.
The St. Paul - Minneapolis archdiocese newspaper doesn't go into this sort of detail: but my guess is that most of the victims of human trafficking are in or near what we call "the Metro." That's the urban area centered on Minneapolis and St. Paul. It's the biggest concentration of people in the state - and was known as a collection point for human trafficking several decades back. Looks like not much has changed, except that the victims now are incoming - and the faces are different.
There's more to the Twin Cities than an illicit slave trade, of course. They're also known as the home of the Guthrie Theater and the Minnesota Historical Society. And, to our credit, slavery is illegal in America - which doesn't stop those who traffic in human beings.
The Metro is just a couple hours' drive down the Interstate - and it's in my home state. Even if human trafficking was strictly limited to the Twin Cities, and I doubt that it is, it's happening in my state. Which makes it an issue I have to pay attention to.
Posts about neighbors and the poor:
- "Minnesota Bishops, Immigrants, Papers and Justice"
(June 30, 2010)
- "Rules, the Catholic Church, Neighbors and Me"
(June 18, 2010)
- "Archbishop: 'Let's Not Forget Haiti' - Works for Me"
(June 9, 2010)
- "St. Rose of Lima, Decisions, and Being Catholic"
(May 29, 2010)
- "Sustainable African Development: And Swift's Modest Proposal"
(May 6, 2010)
- "About an Old Man Freezing to Death, Neighbors, and Catholic Teachings"
(January 29, 2009)
- "Earthquake in Ziarat: I Have to Care"
(October 29, 2008)
- "Donations sought for trafficking survivors "
TheCatholicSpirit.com (June 30, 2010)
(The Official Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis)
- "Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking"
Migration & Refugee Services, Services and Programs, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
A tip of the hat to catholicspirit, on Twitter, for the heads-up on their article.