Human Trafficking

We explicitly oppose the trafficking of women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

Human Traffick Team

2012-2016 Peacemaking Initiative:  We the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, will focus both personally and communally, on study, reflection and action regarding the Franciscan call to peacemaking, care for the Earth and concern for the poor, in light of our Franciscan values.

Sylvania Franciscan Corporate Stance – Adopted February 2008:  We, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, and our Associates, in keeping with our position of non-violence and respecting the inherent dignity of each person, corporately stand in support of human rights by explicitly opposing the trafficking of women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

Recognize the Problem

Many victims do not realize they are being trafficked. Learn to recognize and report these warning signs:

Sex Trafficking:

  • Moves often
  • Talks about traveling to other cities
  • Runs away from home
  • Has a “boyfriend” who is much older
  • Seems to be controlled (rarely alone, kept away from family and friends)
  • Shows signs of physical abuse, starvation
  • Does not have IDs (drivers license, passport)

Labor Trafficking:

  • Appears to live at or near workplace (cots or sleeping bags may be visible in the back room of a business)
  • Experiences restricted movement
  • Works with a large group of people in a small space
  • Shows signs of physical abuse, isolation, starvation
  • Works long hours and is not free to leave
  • Does not have IDs (drivers license, passport, immigration documents)

Ways You Can Help

  • Be AWARE of the specifics on Human Trafficking
  • Continue to EDUCATE yourself on Human Trafficking
  • PRAY for those working to eradicate Human Trafficking (Modern Day Slavery) as well as those who are trafficked, and those who are trafficking for sex and labor. Public prayer services are generally held in January or February 8, Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, in several areas of the country.
  • KNOW the national hotline number to call for assistance and tips:
    1-888-373-7888 or text HELP toBE FREE (233733)

Sylvania Franciscans work to end Human Trafficking by:

  • Educating themselves on the issue
  • Raising awareness at our parishes, our places of ministry, and any local communities with which we connect
  • Contacting legislators on the issue
  • Sponsoring prayer opportunities on the issue

Sisters' Stories

Sister Geraldine Nowak

Sister Geraldine Nowak

Sr. Geraldine Nowak became active with the Human Trafficking issue in 2009. She has presented talks, worked with other Sisters and colleagues on workshop presentations, and networked locally and nationally. Human Trafficking Prayer services have been held locally and she has worked on those as well. She has learned a lot, which, at times is quite heart rendering. Because of the need she has also become a legislative advocate at the state and national level. Facilitating a women’s spirituality group requested by women who have been trafficked has been most touching and inspiring. She has also enjoyed meeting and working with first responders from children’s services, the police and FBI, health care workers, cosmetologists, truckers and spiritual care coordinators. The greatest delight has been to know women who have been trafficking victims and by their hard work have become survivors and thrivers.
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