The Congregation of St. Joseph dedicates significant resources towards raising awareness of and ending the human rights atrocity of human sex and labor trafficking. We invite you to read on to learn more about our work towards eradicating this modern day form of slavery.
In 2015, the Congregation partnered with and donated funds to help Exchange Initiative and Washington University in St. Louis develop an app for smartphones designed to help fight human sex trafficking. Called TraffickCam, the app empowers travelers to help in the fight against sex trafficking by taking photos of their hotel rooms and anonymously uploading them to a national database used by law enforcement to identity hotels where trafficking is taking place. Almost 3 million photos have already been added to the database in just 3 years. The app is available for free in iTunes for both iPhone and Android users. To learn more, click here to read an article from our imagineONE magazine.
The Congregation partners with several organizations to help educate and raise awareness about human sex and labor trafficking. Exchange Initiative, who co-developed the TraffickCam App, is a resource center that provides people and communities with resources, information, and connections needed to fight sex trafficking. Healing Action Network in St. Louis works to educate the public, change legislation, and directly assist victims of human trafficking. The congregation invited Healing Action Network founder and trafficking survivor Katie Rhoades to speak at our assembly meeting in 2016. She was joined by Kim Ritter, Senior Meeting Planner at Nix Conference & Meeting Management, which is a socially responsible meeting planning management company committed to combating commercial sexual exploitation of children. The Congregation uses Nix to plan our large meetings and gatherings. In regards to labor trafficking, we partner with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers which is a worker-based human rights organization internationally recognized for its achievements in social responsibility, human trafficking, and gender-based violence. Our partnerships with all of these organizations allows us to participate on the front lines of raising public awareness and making concrete efforts to stop human trafficking in all its forms.
Sisters, associates and employees of the Congregation partner with students, supporters, and others in our communities to label and deliver small bars of soap to hotels in areas where we live and work. The labels contain the National Human Trafficking Hotline number, and are placed in hotel bathrooms by hospitality staff so that anyone who may see signs of trafficking, or who may be victims themselves, can easily and discretely find. Statistics show that sex trafficking often increases before and during large political, sporting, and other events such as the Super Bowl and political conventions. Thus, we focus our efforts prior to and in cities where events like these take place.
Advocacy and Education
The Congregation stands with and for those who are victims of or affected by human trafficking. We advocate for victims by utilizing our communications tools such as our magazine imagineONE, eNewsletters, social media, etc. to further educate and raise awareness. Our sisters also demonstrate against human trafficking at various events and are members of organizations such as LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) who oppose human trafficking in all its forms.